Meet Amanda Wylie, The Artist Using Her Voice To Empower People Everywhere

In today’s political climate, being a woman is not easy. It can be hard, difficult or almost defeating to be a woman living in a country where many politicians vote to take away your rights, birth control, healthcare or even your maternity leave. Other issues that are hardly touched upon in everyday conversation – such as climate change, racial injustice and other rhetorics that exclude and offend groups of people – are extremely important to discuss within society today. But, all hope is not always lost in troubling times like these. In fact, some people use these obstacles as ammunition to speak out, bring forth necessary conversations in society and make a change.

People like Amanda Wylie.

Amanda Wylie is a multidisciplinary Jewish American artist born and raised in Queens, New York. Wylie studied New Media and received her bachelor’s degree in Arts Management from SUNY Purchase College. Wylie’s work focuses on equal rights, gender identity, and societal standards in America; creating political commentary via pop culture reference.

Her latest show coming up this October in New York is one definitely worth viewing.

Her work is not only filled with creative talent but also brings forth inspiration to make changes within society. We sat down with Amanda to ask her a few questions about her work, her career, and her beliefs.

1. How did you get started in art and creating pieces like this?

The election process this last cycle took a major toll on me and, I began feeling voiceless. The campaign rhetoric of 2016 led me to the realization that job security, immigration status, and healthcare could be changing in a really negative way for a lot of people. I thought of one idea that inspired a slew of artistic concepts speaking out against injustice and standing up for human rights.

2. Where does your inspiration come from?

Creating art is the healthiest and most peaceful way I can imagine expressing myself today. Working with my hands allows me to channel the frustrations of my mind into tangible messages of advocacy. This body of work opens a conversation that condemns the normalization of degrading and misleading rhetoric and actions. My goal is to help people unapologetically stand up for themselves and alongside others who need the support.

3. Who inspires you the most in terms of your work?

Traci Molloy is an artist whose community projects have directly impacted my life and the lives of many others. She explores the way children deal with trauma and grief; by helping them share their experiences through art. Communities are comfortable allowing her to facilitate group projects because she does not exploit people’s experiences, but rather helps people find the strength to release what they’ve been holding back.

Although we work with different mediums, the presentation and perspective of Kehinde Wiley’s paintings never cease to amaze me. Using the imagery of contemporary people of color, his reinterpretation of traditional style renaissance portraits proves why white people are not the only people who should be seen in glorious museum lights. His work places black bodies as they come, on a well-deserved pedestal, without changing modern characteristics like tattoos and hairstyles. Work like his broadens viewers’ perspectives, which inspires me to do the same in my own way.

People who I admire that use their platform to make a difference include Michelle Obama, Mala Yousafzai, Chelsea Handler, Trevor Noah, Jimmy Kimmel, Sean King, Patricia Arquette, Pete Davidson, Shia LaBeouf, Emma Watson, Solange, Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Logic, Alessia Cara, Khalid, Amber Rose, Cardi B.

There is always work to be done, and these are not the only people speaking out. Those listed have used their platform to open a dialogue in the right direction about difficult topics ranging from women’s rights and education to mental health awareness, and racial inequality.

4. What has been the most positive impact you feel your work has made on others?

The most positive impact my work has made on others is giving people hope and confidence that they are not alone. In a time where white supremacy is becoming normalized, seeing a clear condemnation of hate speech has helped people remember that they are not the only ones who believe in equity.

5. What do you want people to take away from your pieces/shows?

I hope to remind people that although American history is far from perfect, we can use our ideas of liberty and justice for all to shape our country into a place that is fair and equal. We can and will speak out against the injustices that plague our nation. I want viewers to know that they can make a difference. There are other people in this world that will stand together in solidarity of a positive and inclusive America.

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Written by Lex Gabrielle

A writer and teacher from New York City who fully supports messy buns and 3+ cups of coffee a day.