Artist of The Week: Amber Vittoria is Highlighting The Female Perspective
words by me; images by me; artwork courtesy of Amber Vittoria
Amber Vittoria’s Manhattan apartment building used to be a brothel. You wouldn’t know from stepping inside, though; the only clue hangs on her left wall, and it’s a beautifully painted scene of the exterior as it once was, gifted to her by the owner of the building. The space also serves as her home studio, and her art is equally as colorful as the building’s history—both literally, in her use of vibrant oranges and pinks, and figuratively, with titles like “The Number of Female Artists You Can Probably Name” and “Pray For My Haters” signaling both sass and thoughtful reproach.
“With ’Pray for my haters’, which I did for a pin company in Australia, the whole idea is that, today, at least for me, it’s like, ‘don’t be negative, don’t be mean, having those negative emotions isn’t a good thing.’ But I think it’s ok to feel upset and be mad at someone for a short period of time and feel that and have that flow through you. And it’s also ok to forgive.”
Vittoria’s use of colorful, often abstract illustrations to express larger ideas, specifically those surrounding feminism and gender, is the defining facet of her work. As a female artist moving through a multitude of museums and galleries in the city, she found one thing was missing—there weren’t enough works from the female perspective. She’s hoping to shed light on that (and, in doing so, correct it).
“Ideally in 10, 20, 30 years, when young women go to museums, I hope it’s going to be more even,” she says. “There tends to also be a lot of pieces that portray women, but portray women by men, which I think is very different from how women portray themselves. So being able to see a fuller scope is important.”
Gravitating toward companies that are committed to feminism beyond the current trend, Vittoria makes a point to express her wholehearted support for the movement—in whatever iteration, art or otherwise. And her own contribution? It comes in the form of beautiful, illustrated artwork that brightens what can often be intense (and therefore avoided) topics of conversation.
“In my work, I think a lot of my topics touch on femininity and breaking through how people perceive women in society, so that could be very deep and serious, and sometimes, people shy away from work that makes them uncomfortable, so I try and use bright, bold, and inviting colors to bring people in, even if it’s on someone’s phone, that way so that they feel comfortable exploring a topic they might otherwise be uncomfortable exploring.”
Vittoria’s creative process can be described as thoughtful, and organic—she lets the ideas flow, and records it all in one red Moleskin notebook. From there, finished illustrations have landed on the likes of Teen Vogue, The New York Times, Man Repeller, Amazon Fashion, Framebridge, and Interscope Records. Regardless of client, one constant reference is Vittoria’s own personal experience.
“Most times I’ll come into a drawing with an idea, and it normally ends up changing by the end, or I’ll go into a drawing open-minded and somehow an experience I’ve had comes out really specifically in a piece, that speaks to the larger issue,” she says. “I try to speak to universal ideas.”