Interview with Amelia Damplo
Grace Gulley: Hi Amelia! How are you?
Amelia Damplo: I'm great! Slow morning. How are you?
GG: Really great. It's been a productive morning and it's making me think I'm taking the afternoon off. So the interview! To jump right to it. When somebody asks you 'what do you do,' how do you reply?
AD: I'm a videographer who connects with other artists and creatives to tell the stories of their unique processes.
GG: Awesome! I haven't gotten to come across many videographers with CYL up to this point, so it's great that you are filling that gap. So how did you get into video?
AD: I studied fine arts at a college that encouraged us to really explore. I was always drawn to sculpture—from clay and handmade paper to woodworking—but I eventually found my voice through video. The messages I wanted to communicate were best told through my camera!
I also worked in museums, and my favorite part was visiting artist studios and editing process videos. I loved seeing the beauty of the behind-the-scenes.
GG: That's awesome! So you're connecting the world you came from with video, and now that's your art! You've hit your mark lady!
So now that you are working with makers and recording their process, what do you enjoy most about that specifically?
AD: Each artist's process is so unique, and I feel lucky to get an exclusive look into something that is usually so private—especially their workspaces. I think the love and time that an artist spends on their work deserves to be shared. I like to think of it as honoring and nurturing their practices, and in turn, it nurtures my own.
Connecting with makers feeds energy into my work, too. Their passion is contagious!
GG: That's beautifully said! And I've never thought about it that way, but you are right! Passion is absolutely contagious. Which is one of the reasons I suppose I love surrounding myself with passionate and talented people.
Do you have a standout experience working with a maker? One particular instance that really moved you in a way you maybe didn't expect?
AD: There's one that has really stuck with me.
One of my most memorable experiences was during my first studio visit in 2010. I was an intern (for deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum), and we went to Rachel Perry's home studio in Gloucester, MA. She said she doesn't see much of a distinction between her art practice and the rest of her life—that she could go from the kitchen, making potato leek soup, straight to the studio, making one of her fruit sticker drawings.
This idea really stuck with me. I started considering my whole day as an opportunity to create—whether I was experimenting with new ingredients in the kitchen, or sitting down to edit, I could be an artist in every moment.
GG: That is beautiful! And strangely now I have a craving for potato leek soup... Seriously though, before I get carried away and run off for soup! Was that the moment you started to consider yourself an artist? Or was there a specific point in time that you did find yourself identifying as an artist? If so, what was able to give you the confidence to declare that?
AD: Identifying as an artist has come in waves for me over the past 8 years. Sometimes I'm deep in my "making" practice, and other times I've focused more museum education and art history. In any case, I approached these roles as a critical thinker.
When I moved to LA almost 2 years ago, I committed to being a video artist full-time.
The strength of the creative community in LA helped me find the courage to declare myself as an artist. My husband is also so supportive, and with his encouragement, I'm able to continue on this path.
GG: That's beautiful! I have found also that it's really been being part of an active creative community that has given me the confidence to consider myself an artist and push my practice. I'm happy you have that community as well.
So outside of your work and art, what do you do for your rec time? How do you decompress and recenter?
AD: When I'm not making videos, I can typically be found practicing yoga (preferably outside!) or in the kitchen testing new healthy brownie recipes. I prioritize these parts of my week because I know without them, it's difficult to find the energy and stability to continue my other work. If I'm feeling burnt out from hours of editing, moving my body or working with my hands is my favorite way to recharge. And if I'm too tired for that, I'll opt for a little meditation followed by a long nap It's all part of taking care of myself, and I truly believe a healthy business cannot exist without a healthy business owner!
And when you look at it like that, every moment can be viewed as productive in its own way.
I also take weekend road trips away from LA when my husband and I have the chance, and sometimes our dog comes along (even though he's not a fan of the car)!
GG: A very healthy perspective! I'm such a big pusher for taking care of yourself, and making that one of the first priorities. And since we are talking about the super important stuff, if you were stuck on a desert island what three books would you take?
AD: I would have to say something (anything) by Michael Pollan, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and Harry Potter (more than 3, I know, but please!). I didn't read the series until 2014, and next time I'd go for the British versions. I'm not a super fast reader, so those would certainly help pass the time. Actually, being stranded on a desert island with all these books sounds pretty appealing now!