By Victoria Dubuis
This month, Julie goes into the world of Amanda Calderon-Kidston, a Mexican-born and raised artist living here in Joplin, Missouri.
“I first got into art during my angsty pre-teen and teenage years. I was raised as a Missionary/Preacher’s kid in Mexico, and we lived as a Missionary family until I was fifteen years old, then we moved from beautiful central Mexico to Webb City, MO. I had a hard time adjusting to my new surroundings, even though I was able to speak English perfectly well and looked American enough (my mom is from Central Iowa) I did not feel comfortable in my own skin. So I turned most of my time and attention to drawing and painting, as a means to pass the time and get to know myself better.”
Amanda (believe it or not) never had formal training in painting. She did, although, complete two non-consecutive years of a tattoo apprenticeship here in Joplin and attributes many techniques you can see in her current work from that including the traditional bold-lined style you see in much tattooing.
“My other preferred medium is acrylic paint on canvas or wood, and have ventured into larger-scale pieces such as the Ganesha Theater mural, and the Green Tara mural that was inside the Loveway Records office. I have developed a love for Native North America history and culture, and that is very heavily reflected in my most recent paintings.“
Some of Amanda’s inspirations are her experiences and continued learning as a mother (of a beautiful little girl named Mona) as well as mountainous landscapes, good folky songs, and her incredibly talented husband, Justin. Her story as a human also greatly inspires her art.
“I have faced some difficulties with my health and with my daughter’s biological father, so I take the beauty and awe I have felt after I have been completely broken down and apply it to my work. Sometimes in my darkest moments I would sit in silence somewhere outside and just watch, not really for anything in particular but more often than not something would come into my view and remind of the lightness of life, and how happiness is a choice, not a destination.”
“I think my favorite pieces would be my sunset/sunrise landscapes, my mother/child themed paintings, and my matryoshka dolls. Currently, I am working on a series of Matryoshka dolls with different religions/cultures as the theme of their decoration, they all have a large crescent moon with some sort of chapel/synagogue/mosque/spiritual place…as a reminder that we all share the same world, and we live under the same moon.”
Some of Amanda’s art goals are to continue supporting her husband in their small screen-printing business, develop herself more in the themes and mediums she loves <3, and learn to use oil paints, “I will NOT be intimidated by them!” she says.
“We have gained some amazing friendships by means of the now-closed Carthage Antiquarian, so our goal is to also continue to grow the artistic community in Joplin and learn more from the people we love and respect, as well as anyone else who has positivity to bring to the table.”
To know Amanda and her little family is a pleasure by all who do. She brings a certain calmness and light to those around her and does so even through her beautiful artwork. Thank you Amanda, for sharing not only your art, but your story as well.
You can find Amanda’s art on her Instagram at @belovedcauldron