AMELIA BLAIR LANGFORD
Day job: illustrator/designer
What’s your take on Richmond as a region for art and artists?
Richmond is a place where you will see illustrators, fashion designers, blacksmiths, graphic designers and more shoulder to shoulder and fueling each other. Richmond is a treasured, creative place – brightened by the support and drive behind its artist community crossing into supportive and interdisciplinary spaces.
What are your favorite materials and mediums, and why?
I work with a number of different mediums, including pen, ink, graphite and paint. My favorite materials are pen and ink on paper and the beautiful aesthetic of black and white. I admire the beauty of the application of pen to paper and the refined detail, texture and pattern that can be accomplished dot by dot or line by line. Every beautiful mark is made with an intent and purpose.
Tell us about a small but meaningful moment in your life in Richmond
When I was in high school, I entered the first art competition at the Virginia Holocaust Museum. On opening night of the gallery exhibition, I made my way down the hallway. I looked at all of the work submitted and eventually stood in front of my framed painting. My eyes grew wide as I saw that I won first place and I was the youngest artist among the award winners. At the corner of my eye, I saw a crowd of museum staff walking toward me.
They excitedly asked: “Are you Amelia?” I responded softly: “Yes, I am. This is my work.”
Moments later, exhibition attendees began to arrive. An elderly gentleman quietly walked down the hallway and stood in front of my painting for a number of minutes. I felt nervous as I watched.
He looked at me and asked: “Did you paint this?”
“Yes,” I said nervously.
“Thank you for telling our story,” he replied – and he slowly rolled up his dress shirt sleeve to show me the tattoo he received in the Holocaust when he was a young boy.
That evening, I knew I wanted to be an artist and a vessel for storytelling.
How have you been evolving and growing as an artist?
I am always diving deeper into exploring and refining my practice and skills. I am eagerly researching, learning and educating myself. I enjoy being able to design work for print, graphic design, community engagement, fashion, education, large-scale murals and beyond.
I also began “The Treasure Hunt” project in 2010, which is a pen and ink illustration series. “The Treasure Hunt” explores narratives of local community ecology, landscapes, history and storytelling. This project was inspired by three Richmond family-owned farms that encompassed unique natural treasures and historical stories. The project continues to expand, including through artist residencies such as at the Grin City Art Collective in Grinnell, Iowa, and the Rensing Center in Pickens, S.C.
Share a thought about social media
Social media is a fantastic and resourceful tool to stay connected and keep followers up to date on current and upcoming art projects. It has taught me that it can be used as a portfolio, a business communication tool and a connection to the followers and friends from your local community and throughout the world.