016: Greg Amanti - Supporting your creative community as you master your craft
In this episode, I talk with Greg Amanti, a master mold maker, stone carver, and critically acclaimed artist and artisan based in Bend, Oregon. We discuss how art is akin to an athlete getting into the flow state, as well as how he feels about “writer’s block” and how he manages it in relation to his artwork. We chat about how he breaks through those periods of “inertia” and self-doubt, and oppositely where he finds inspiration for his creative projects. Finally, he shares his ultimate goal, which is to live an “integrated life," and explains what that means for him as he and his wife, Heather help to support their local artist community so it can thrive and grow — creatively. Heather is also a guest on the show — if you are interested in hearing her episode you can check out episode 003 on the benefits of being uncomfortable while being true to yourself.
Greg has worked and trained at the two largest foundries on both coasts, and assisted some of the most well-known contemporary artists, including Kiki Smith. His own work has garnered much attention, as well, including an exhibition at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, the Hinterland Art Space, The Miami Photo Salon during Art Basel, The Workhouse and The Redline Art Center "Between the Medium Seeing Photographically" during the Month of Photography curated by Mark Sink. Greg was also awarded the "Photographers Forum Award of Excellence".
Most recently, Greg has collaborated with the BND DSGN Conference for the 2030 Future Fair Art walk's Design Challenge as well with the 2016, 2017, 2018 BND DSGN exhibit installation in the Liberty Theater and was one of four judges for the fire pit sculpture contest at Oregon Winterfest 2018.
BND DSGN Conference https://benddesign.org/
Creative Music Works http://creativemusicworks.org/
Kiki Smith https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiki_Smith
Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art https://moafc.org/
Hinterland Art Space http://hinterlandartspace.com/
Miami Photo Salon http://www.miamiphotosalonfestival.com/
The Workhouse http://www.workhousearts.org/
The Redline Art Center https://www.redlineart.org/
Mark Sink https://www.gallerysink.com/
Liberty Theater https://libertytheater.org/index.html
Oregon Winterfest https://oregonwinterfest.com/
Anselm Kiefer https://gagosian.com/artists/anselm-kiefer/
Richard Serra https://gagosian.com/artists/richard-serra/
Sun of Goldfinger https://screwgunrecords.com/album/sun-of-goldfinger
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Greg Amanti: 00:00:00 Don't try and satisfy anybody other than yourself. And if you know, there's only a few people that are really going to make it really good living just doing their own work and there will be those people, and I don't want to discourage anybody from not doing that, but have your passions, your passions. If you can't live without it, don't do it. You know, figure out something else. Because you know, if you, if you're in that spot where it's like, I, I'm not a complete person without doing this, keep moving forward and do it for that reason only without the expectation of I'm going to be represented by this gallery. I'm going to be selling my work here. You know, that can get discouraging and not to stay, that, that won't happen. To not pursue that because it's all about the work you put into it. Again, to be happy with the process and to see your own growth and explore it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:01:05 Welcome to The Vitalic Project podcast where you'll learn how to find your own voice in a world filled with noise. I'm Gabe Ratliff. I'll be your host as I sit down with fellow artists, creators and entrepreneurs to learn more about their work and how they serve others so that you can tap into your creative purpose and live a life that's drawn, not traced. All right. I'm stoked. Let's get to it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:01:33 Hey guys, thanks for joining me on another episode of The Vitalic Project. I really appreciate you being here, letting me be in your ears and continuing to bring these great stories about these amazing artists and creators and entrepreneurs out there creating with purpose. You know what? It means so much to me to do this work. I was in the corporate world and was laid off and took some time to do some really hard work and figure out what did I want to do. I did a ancient Tibetan death meditation and did all kinds of deep, personal and internal work and you know, just took some time off to do some soul searching and I was blessed that my wife gave me a little bit of time to do that and I decided I'm going to go off on my own and I'm going to start doing my own work and have since started this show and this whole concept of The Vitalic Project.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:02:36 We, we went to visit some family in Baja for the holidays and I was running on the beach and had this epiphany. You know, I've been a storyteller for years. I, you know, producer, videographer, editor, photographer. I've been telling stories for many, many years, whether that was in marketing or in production. And I realized, you know, I really want to tell people's stories. And I was thinking, oh, this life project, I'm going to do something about people's lives and get deeper and really showcase them doing what they love doing and show the world who they are and what that is. I kept playing around with it and playing around with it. And I really liked the concept of the vitalic project because it speaks to life, but it's all through this lens of just like the opening of the show, you know, it's around creativity and fulfillment and vitality and you know, it's, it's a big thing right now, right?
Gabe Ratliff: 00:03:41 Like a lot of people like myself were talking about living your best life and you know, doing what you want to do and you know, people are traveling and are influencers and Instagram hits and all these things, but there's something behind it. There's something behind living this life. There was something behind the work that I did in, you know, death meditations and all those things. I mean, it really is for a reason and that's the whole point that there is a reason. There's a purpose. And my whole life, I didn't know what my purpose was. And that was part of the Hakan that time off to do that work was to figure out, I wanted to finally answer what was my purpose. And so this is it. This is my purpose supporting you and helping you to thrive. And so I started this show and have been interviewing people that I feel like are doing really, really great work out there and sharing their story with you so that you can be inspired and understand that you're not alone.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:04:46 You know, we're not alone. There are so many others out there that every day are fighting and hustling and working and creating and trying to do something with purpose. Something that is deep down, a passion. And we all have these human flaws, these lizard brains that get in our way. And that is why people like me are out here to support you. And so with that, I want to ask you vitalic audience, you know, what else do you want? Is this, is this show working for you? Are you enjoying these stories? Are they inspiring you? You know, one of the things I see in a lot of these shows is they go very tactical. And one of the things I wanted to do with these particular series was have them be inspirational stories. Because as I said before, I'm a storyteller, so I really enjoy finding out about people's lives.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:05:54 How did they get from point a to point B, you know, and what's point. See what's the next thing for them. And I feel like some of those tactics come out in those stories. But I really want to know, you know, I've been thinking about also starting to inject episodes that would get more tactical, you know, or potentially be more coaching because one of the things that I also offer to clients is strategy and coaching for creatives like you. And so I'm also open to, you know, if you want to call in, you can go to speakpipe.com/vitalic project and pose a question and I can answer it and get others to answer it that are relevant in that space and start to incorporate more of those tactics and answers to the questions that you have. So let me know if that's something that you're into and you know, drop a question if that's what you guys are looking for, then I want to do that.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:06:59 And if you would just like to get more tactical and like me to bring on more guests to get more tactical, let me know. I mean, one thing I really enjoy is doing these stories, but I also want to make sure that I'm bringing value to you, so please let me know and you know, give me that feedback because I'm here for you. I'm here to serve you. This is my purpose and we're not in alone. You're not in it alone. I'm not in it alone. We're all in this together, so let's do this together. Okay, now let's get to it. The thing that I love about the guests on my episode today as well as his wife who is Heather crank episode three is that they are striving to live their best life and are pushing each other to, to tap into how to live that as he calls it, an integrated life.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:07:58 And I'm very excited to share his side of the story. I've already interviewed Heather and I really was excited to interview your husband Greg because they're both such a powerhouse team and they've developed their company Crahmanti that does really fantastic work. They've got a collective, they support their local community and it's, it's just awesome to talk to them because I used to work with Heather and she's just one of those ferries that you meet that's just, she's so spritely and energetic and inspiring and supportive and and creative and the two of them together and individually are just both so strong and just so devout to their craft and it's because of that that I'm really excited to share with you. This interview with Greg Amanti. Now Greg is a master mold maker, a stone carver and it critically acclaimed artists and artisan based in Bend, Oregon.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:09:09 We discuss how art is akin to an athlete getting into the flow state and we also talk about how he feels about writer's block and how he manages that in relation to his artwork. We chat about how he breaks through the periods of inertia that can come when we least expect it and we talk about self doubt and oppositely. We also talk about where he finds inspiration for his projects and finally he shares his ultimate goal, which is to live an integrated life and explains what that means for him as he and his wife Heather helped to support their local artists community so it can thrive and grow creatively. Now, Heather, as I said, is also a guest on the show and if you're interested in hearing her episode, you could check out episode three on the benefits of being uncomfortable while being true to yourself. So without further ado, I am so honored and so excited to share with you and introduce you to Greg Amanti.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:10:21 Greg. Thank you so much for being with me on this episode of the vitalic project. I'm so excited to have you here. Glad to be here. So I wanted to start with, I did this with your wife, Heather on her episode, episode three. Take us back to the young Greg and tell us, you know, where did your journey with art began and you know, how old were you and, and, uh, what medium first spoke to you? What, how did you get into this lifelong career with art?
Greg Amanti: 00:10:53 Almost by happenstance. I mean, you know, you don't know that you really like something, you just gravitate and you start doing things. It's not like this is where I want to go, but we would, you know, we would always be looking at art books and, and drawing mostly cartoon kind of stuff, like, you know, how to make a monster heavy metal, that kind of stuff. And then, you know, we would, uh, we were also both extremely into music at a young age. So, but you know, quite honestly, growing up, I didn't think anything of being creative. It was just, that's what I gravitated toward. And it wasn't until I was probably 19 or 20 where it took a photography class and that's when it hit. I was like, oh, I really, really like this, you know, and I have some attitude toward it. Where other things in my, I didn't necessarily have that immediate sort of a, this is sort of, this is it, this is where I need to start pursuing. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:12:03 Let's take that a little further. I want to hear about, you know, the photography. What was it that, what was it that hooked you with that? What was it that kind of set you up for that understanding that you like really got into it? Cause I, I had a similar experience when I was in high school, College.
Greg Amanti: 00:12:22 I think even now I still sort of take it for granted cause it, you know, just I'm able to see composition fairly easily. I think, you know, whether it's good or bad, I'm just sort of gravitate toward that. But also, you know, photography in particular was more about, you know, that late and image, that magic of the dark room and you know, that, uh, especially like the black and white, just doing that, the fine cues. And maybe that's part of me being colorblind, having this gray scale that I could really kind of delve into and have that richness. It was a really satisfying, that was the initial draw.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:13:10 I am so fascinated with your style and that very surrealistic element that it has. And it's very moody. And this again, a very odd, um, a lot of times when you say moody, it always means you know, dark and brooding. But I find that it has a wide range that you cover with your work that I've, that I've seen, um, as far as emotion that it evokes. And I wonder, you know, when did that, cause you know, we have to start off and we're learning our craft, right? We're focused on the technical aspects and they send you off and you're shooting all kinds of shit. You know, that it's a lot of crap and then you start getting better and better, better. But one thing I'm just so fascinated by, especially talking to an artist like yourself that's got such a wide range in your style as far as the different types of work you do, you know, from a mold making to stone carving, you know, the, the installations, the photography, you know, and there's some really fantastic series that I've, I've looked over and over on your website, uh, over the years since I met Heather and I just love the depth to them.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:14:29 But there's also some that are really simple, these like black and white photography series that you've done that they're really simple but they say so much. I wonder when did that come around? I was just wondering like when did you start to kind of recognize that style or kind of start to feed that direction and start to kind of take hold of your own style? When did that happen?
Greg Amanti: 00:14:51 I think I can kind of pinpoint it. I had another good friend of mine who is doing a lot of work with a positive negative space using actual items, say like scissors, rulers, that kind of thing. So making a, a positive and negative image. So when you see it through the camera, it created an image, say was a camel or a house usually focused on simple images and um, he was getting married and I decided to basically like an homage to him, but I was doing like the, almost the polar opposite. I was creating a diorama with sort of, I didn't want to take his style because that's his, but I wanted to kind of, you know, knowing not to him and give him something that I think he would like. And then a sort of, it's like, Aha, this is great. This is fun. You know? And I liked the idea of being messy and precise. So having a complete mess of things with them. When you take a step back, it's hopefully not, it doesn't translate as much, but you had this real textural sort of feeling toward it and I really got hooked on that for awhile. It was satisfying.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:16:07 Yeah. I know for me, I fell in love with charcoal and similarly that positive, negative and all the experiments with that and just playing around with the how you could take away and add and, and you know, even with your chalk or charcoal, you know, even with like whether it was white or black and you're a racer and just getting in there and messing with that. But then translating that, cause I also studied, you know, actual film photography as well. I was fortunate to get to do that when I was in school too. So it was this interesting trend translation from one to the other for me. Um, but I, the thing I loved about it was that it was so messy when you were growing up. If we kind of stick back with the younger Greg, did you grow up in a creative household and, and did your family support your creativity?
Greg Amanti: 00:17:04 No, I don't think they, I still kind of don't really mention it because it's not something that is too complicated. It always goes back to, well, you know, is that gonna, you know, are you going to get hired to do x, Y, or z? And it's still that challenge of like, no, that's really not where this is heading toward maybe. But you know, it's really not. My Dad's side was as far as music. I mean, I had an out that was sang, played bass playing drums, play the accordion, you know, traditional sort of music. But, uh, and my dad played and my brothers played music. Yeah. His side was more of that side. Everybody kind of drew, you know, but it really like, hey, these are artists. This is a goal. This is, uh, you know, somewhere to go. It was just some something that people did, you know? Yeah. So,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:18:00 yeah, like I'd like a crossword puzzle. It's like you can draw, you can do a crossword puzzle. Yeah. You could, you know, play a board game. It's all just an activity. Yeah. I was blessed. My mom played drums and violin and was a artist that was, you know, I grew up with her being into that and supporting from that angle,
Greg Amanti: 00:18:27 I had fantasies of artistic, intellectual supportive. But you know, that's, who knows where that would have taken me, you know? Yeah. If I didn't, you know, I had almost the opposite. I'm not sure. But yeah, I don't, I don't know where it really came from.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:18:46 I'm always interested to hear that because I think it's, it's interesting and it's interesting you said that too, cause I actually have some friends that are raising their son in Madrid and he is amazing. He speaks four languages and he's getting that extremely Bohemian lifestyle where they're just pummeling him with art and literature and music and his, uh, his father is a jazz musician and as a teacher. And so he's just constantly just getting barraged with amazing jazz and just awesome stuff. And they really embraced creativity in Spain and so he's just constantly seeing great stuff. So, yeah. So it's interesting because he's getting that lifestyle, you know, and it's been interesting to see how he is evolving as a teenager. You know, I wanted to ask, who would you say have been your mentors throughout your life and career as an artist?
Greg Amanti: 00:19:47 I don't think I've had one. I may be getting close to one here. This a friend of mine that is kind of really talented, talented artists, um, that this sort of taking an interest in and where I might be going. And that's, that's a, a new thing and it's a, I think an important thing for people to have. You know, I'm, I'm not sure I've had that be quite honest.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:20:20 Hmm. How do you, how do you feel? Do you feel like that's been an asset for you or do you feel like that's something that you've yearned for?
Greg Amanti: 00:20:30 I think, I think I've yearned for it. You know, the closest thing is, you know, you have your peers and people that I liked their work and respect where they're going. That's been a great thing to have in an asset, to have to rely on, you know, hey, is this working? Where do you think this should go? That I've always had. And it had been grateful for, you know, I've been fortunate to be around some really, really talented creative folks that I consider close friends. So
Gabe Ratliff: 00:21:03 I recently had a 30 year veteran graffiti writer on the show and he's a dear friend and he grew up, he started writing in 1989 so this is, you know, in that early stage of graffiti writing and he, he would actually go to Brooklyn, so he got to, you know, be there in the New York streets. That was one of the things he was sharing that I just, I love about that Colt about that specific subculture is that that's exactly what they have. You know, they have their crew and they act. It's fascinating to me because they act as mentors without being mentors. Like they don't, they're not apprenticing each other or anything like that. They just are going out and working together. But it's this really beautiful sort of ecosystem that they build that just nourish is each other as artists. And I totally connect with that. I think that that is a beautiful organic way and can be just as helpful as not having a mentor, you know?
Greg Amanti: 00:22:05 Yeah, no, it was, um, I don't know if it'd be, it would have been able to do it without having that, you know, I don't know if I have the strength of character to just, you know, this is what I'm doing, this is, I'm totally trusting my intuition and I'm going with this. How did that to a degree, but not to that total confidence of individual artists or whatever, you know,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:22:31 that leads me to want to ask about your process. I mean, that seems like a perfect segue. So when you're working on a project, with that being said, do you, do you still have a process in place that sort of usher you in from, you know, sketch to finished project?
Greg Amanti: 00:22:51 Yeah, for sure. I mean, I'll have a general idea what I have in my head once in a while it'll come out. Like that's pretty much what I had in sketch on. That's good. That's fine. Oftentimes as you know, it evolves as you're going through the process. But I'll always set some ground rules for myself, so I'll set whether it's like I restrict myself to a couple of colors or strict myself to only three mediums that I'm using in this particular piece. And then once the piece is going along, almost never terribly break those rules, whether one of them, all of them. But with out sort of semi structure, it can be kind of too daunting in a way. And I think it helps create a more cohesive piece. Maybe I'm just kind of throwing that out, but maybe it doesn't, but at least in my mind it does. So that's kind of the general process. And I still, you know, focus a lot on form and composition. So, you know, it's not, I don't think any of my pieces would be considered anything intellectual or it's really just kind of working through problem solving the piece as I'm going. And that's, that in and of itself is satisfying, especially it's successful or a couple of my peers think it's successful. That's great. You know,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:24:21 that's one of the things I absolutely love about creativity is that, uh, it, it, it has a lot of problem solving, injected in, in, within it. Right? And it's just a beautiful, beautiful thing to me. Cause I also love deconstructing that problem and figuring it out. And either, you know, working backwards or looking at it from different angles or you know, you, you take a break and you step away and you finally right, and you let go and then you're like, ah, I got it. You know? And it's like the most amazing moment ever. And then you start to see it come to for it. That's one of the things I love about tangible work of the knee. You can touch and see and everything, all of the senses that I appreciate about the work you do is that it's even with photography, right? Like that was one of the things that was great about being in the dark room.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:25:13 Cause that you got to work with it. You got to, you know, actually touch it and manipulate it. And that's something I miss, uh, sometimes and find another ways. Um, but that's one of the things I love about art is that a lot of it is tactical. And I get, I definitely get that from my dad and just that desire to be able to work through something, you know, and, and be able to see it come out the other end and be something that people are like, I like your new piece for the, what does the fest winter fest, that piece is awesome. And like even the photos of it are cool. I mean people are having these like really fun experiences with it, right? Like the interaction with it. And I'm a huge fan of art that you can get. You know, cause I, I've um, I've gone to like burning man and festivals like that where you can engage with the art and break those norms of the museum and the gallery where you can actually interact with it just like that, you know? And I think that's amazing. It's amazing.
Greg Amanti: 00:26:21 Yeah. It's kind of, you know, it's, it's interesting how so many things for me, precious when I know a lot of these artists wouldn't care. It's more about the setting that it's in that makes it so precious. Yeah, that was, that was a fun project because again, it was more, it was almost, it's almost easier in a way when it's like that I consider kind of design in a way because it's, it is literally going like, I've got to solve a, B and c problem, how am I going to do that? What's the best way that I can do it in? I had like I think a week, week and a half to get it, you know, from start to finish while working full time. So, so that's Kinda, that's kind of fun and interest. It's a different, it's definitely different approach where I could spend six months, eight months on a personal piece where this has a deadline and it's, it's that crossover between design and art. So it's, I wouldn't say easier, but it's, um, different and you have to be a more targeted and that's kind of fun to have that little bit different approach than a normally would take.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:27:37 Do you like that kind of restriction of a, say a client project like that or you know a timed project like that where it's not your passion project or a project that you're just working on yourself that you've come up with yourself but something that has that kind of a deadline or do you set deadlines for your own projects as well?
Greg Amanti: 00:27:58 Mix of both. Sometimes I like it sometimes that kind of where you're just exhausted and you're like, it's not going to happen. It's not going to make them and you, you don't want to let somebody down that you've sort of committed this piece too. But then again, you know it's going to get done. It has to get done and you've been in the situation probably a thousand times. It always does get done that, you know, 11th hour. It's kind of like that stress where I don't necessarily like that but maybe it's necessary for situations like that. Whereas you know it's, it's good in a way, cause I could, you never know when a piece is fully done. We could keep working it and working it. So having it have a deadline is great. It is done because I have to deliver it. So that's good. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:28:53 Do you thrive in that 11th hour? You know, when it's just when that pressure is on and, and like you're just churning out that last section of it. Is that you thrive in that place or does it, how does that affect you?
Greg Amanti: 00:29:07 I don't, I definitely don't drive in the place. I know many people who do. The one good thing about that places oftentimes you have to shut your mind off and then you're, you know, your muscle memory takes over and you're making decisions that you wouldn't make if you had the time. So in that sense, I like it, but I am more methodical. I plan, I think about it. I like having ideas gestate for even a year before I tackle him. Because inevitably ask the idea, just stating it changes. It almost always changes. And it seems like it's better than the original. I think dia or first iteration I had in my head of what it was going to be. So now I kind of like the opposite.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:30:01 Interesting. Yeah. Yeah, it was like hearing that because I think that's such a relevant element to how we work. You know? And everybody's different. It's just like how people create differently, but I think that it, it's such a fascinating element to what we do and how people react in that way and you know, it happens, right? Like you get projects where you have to do it, but I also feel like those are projects that help you on those projects that are your own right. Because you learn something from that, right? Yeah. Then when you tap into your project, it's like, oh, you know, I got this from that and maybe being able to solidify a direction that you want to go on something because of something that you learned from that project or something like that. You know, I was, one of the things I love about how that there's a variance in projects like that where you can, you know, some people, you know, and I envy them, they only do their own projects.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:31:06 I think that's awesome that they only do their own projects, but I really feel like when you have those times, whether it's a client project or whatever, even if it's, you know, volunteer or, cause I know you volunteer a lot too. Um, you know, it's a deadline and you got to get there and it just puts these extra parameters and it's just like you were saying before, you have your own restrictions that you set. And I love that. I think that's, that's, that's awesome. Um, you said in the questionnaire you like to tap into the intangible that you believe is part of the collective unconscious and bring it into form to join the conversation of existence. I was wondering if you could elaborate on that forest and I'd love to learn more about, you know, where that concept came up for you and how that guides you on your projects.
Greg Amanti: 00:31:57 Well, it's kind of, you know, I think whether you're creative or not creative, there's all these things floating around in the site. Guys said they are just there, people are grabbing them. That's, you know, that's not a new idea. And you know, I think we've all come across it as kind of like intangible reality. It's just, it exists. I think for me it's more about that's more closely related to trusting my intuition because typically if I trust my intuition that it Kinda is floating out there. And if I don't approach that idea, I know somebody will approach that idea that I was having maybe a year or two years down the line. They may do it much better than I would have done anyway. So it's a great habit. But that's, that's kind of where I was trying to get to with that. You know?
Greg Amanti: 00:32:51 And it's hard because I have like the last year, probably more like the year before that, but I kind of shut off that trust and manage tuition. Like that's not why you even bother doing that, you know? And then it's like, Oh, I'm remembering because it is part of this whole existence and we are, you know, we are part of the same reality and it's just how each individual creative is going to interpret that. You know, stuff that's floating out there. And that's kind of a fascinating part of our existence as humans, I believe, you know, we've always created, we've always tried to express ourselves. I don't know if that makes sense or not.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:33:35 Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. Uh, I was just wondering, was there a catalyst for, you mentioned a moment ago that you shut that off and I find that fascinating because that I, that's actually something I've been, I've been thinking around that exact conversation around it tuition and working on tapping even further into that. And so I'm fascinated about that. You were kind of shutting that down. Was there a catalyst for that or was it something you were just experimenting with in your work or how did that come about?
Greg Amanti: 00:34:12 No, it's not, it's not intentional. It's not something I really want. It's more about, I dunno, it's more about, um, I think just not, uh, working on,
Greg Amanti: 00:34:27 on projects as much as I'd like to. It's kind of like work begets work and then I'm sort of like, oh, well, maybe this is, why am I, why am I bothering pursuing this? Because it's not, you know, it's satisfying to me, but okay, I've got this, I've got to make money, I've got to, you know, kind of just the nuts and bolts of daily operation. And it's like, is this just me just playing? And it's like, okay, I've got to kind of buckle down a little bit because trying to get our lives situated in a new town and environment and it's like, okay, is it worth it to pursue this? Is it, uh, is this a legitimate idea or is this just not trusting myself? And that's not the spot I want to be in. It just happens to be a spot that I kind of spirals spiral to that I'm working myself out of, you know, for sure. I understand.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:35:20 Totally understand. Yeah. I overthink shit constantly. It is a big problem. My coaches are constantly like, stop overthinking, stop spinning. And I'm like, okay, no I can't, but I am working on, yeah. So I totally get that. So I, that's actually, cause I think it is true, right? It's like a, it's a inevitable balance that we have to walk as creatives who want to in some form, make this a life right and have it be something that pays you so that you can live. And it's not always easy for artists. Uh, I have a friend who I just saw yesterday put a post up and is like, I'm freaking out. And she's young, she's amazing. She's an amazing painter. She's an amazing artist, period. But she put up this post and I was just, so, it's just heartbreaking to read that because I know we've all gone through it and we all get that moment where fight or flight kicks in and you're like, I got to cover stuff.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:36:37 And like you said, you know, moving to bend and, and, and new town and setting up new routes and all these things. And that gets harder and harder as we get older and we've done it. I've done it so many times where I'm like, I'm ready to not totally understand. Yeah. And it, yeah. And it, it just, it really was heartbreaking to read and you know, I just had to respond. And just say, you know, keep going. We're out here supporting you. You got this. You know, cause I just, I could tell that it was like that moment of, you know, just getting kind of going, you know, internal with societal pressures and like the money and living in all those things that go along with it that really taint the inner artist, you know? And so, yeah, I totally get it. I totally get it.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:37:35 And thank you for sharing that because I think that's something valuable for people to hear because I think we all go through it and everybody has a different story around it. And I think that it's, it's easy, right, to just overthink something and be like, you know, like you said, you work begets work and you're like, I need to keep working. But then you know that the intuition inside saying like, yeah, but there's this stuff over here. I really want to tap into this and see where that goes. Yeah. So I definitely, I, and I, I appreciate that you, you know, listen to yourself and our are tapping back into that and letting yourself investigate where that can go. You know, cause it's a constant, it's a constant battle. You also talked about how art for you is akin to like an athlete getting in the flow state. And I was wondering if you could speak about that experience and what that's like for you and how, you know, when you're in that state or you know, do you have
Greg Amanti: 00:38:36 a process that kind of helps you? Do you have anything that you do that kind of helps put you in that state or you know, how do you navigate that? Music definitely helps me get in that state. That state is more about when I'm usually in the halfway in the project where you are trusting your intuition. I'm trusting my intuition and I'm just, I'm just, you know, five hours go by and it seems like it's just been two minutes and it seems like I'm making all the right moves as far as where I want the piece to go. And that's, you know, I don't know how you create that or recreate that and that's how it maybe we could make our money if we can, if we can. You know, it was just one of that does happen. It's um, it's like nothing else. So it's pretty great, you know, whether it's even just people going out to see music and you, I mean, that's why I like the music I gravitate toward is different every time.
Greg Amanti: 00:39:44 You know, improvisational where it's, it's those moments where it's magic, it's lightening in a bottle or that's you, unless it's recorded, it's not going to happen again. And the way it hits you in such a way with people who are trained and that's what their livelihood is doing this music every day and are really good at it, you know, similar kind of thing where to get that feeling once in a while is it's worth it. Whether that's making my own art or music, whatever, it's magic. It is magic. Who has had those moments? I've actually been on stage playing with my band mates and had those moments where you're just like, that just happened. You know, where you're like, we just did that, whatever it was, whenever that, you know that moment, that's it too. I mean, you're working those muscles and you're in that.
Greg Amanti: 00:40:36 That's why I like, you know, a lot of like jazz club tattoos sets and if I can afford it, I'll go to both sets, but I'll always go to the second set. And inevitably that's the sad because you know, people are warmed up, they're communicating, they're there in that sort of groove, that groove and zone and that's, that's it. Yeah. That's amazing. It's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful. I wanted to ask now on the flip side of that, do you believe in, you know, writer's block, uh, or that you know, where the flow state has just been cut off and how, if so, you know, how do you manage that when you're working on projects? I don't know. I think I just try and keep pushing through it or just showing up. You know, that's some of the, oftentimes, you know, nothing will get done, but it'll, at least I'll be in the studio space sitting there thinking, haven't, you know, I may just turn off the lights and walk out, but just showing up. I mean, that's like most things in life. Right. You know, it's the, it's true for strew, for my own work. It's more true for work that has to be done.
Greg Amanti: 00:41:51 Yeah. Just showing up and making sure you're going to work, so to speak, not tacking onto that. Do you, do you have like a workshop that you go to or a space that you know, that you kind of have designated and this is what I work in and this is where you go every day and just be, I have a space but I don't have that. Um, I don't have the discipline built in at the new space yet because I've got a lot of other things going on the last three years, so, yeah. And I'm going to be expanding out the space hopefully this summer, so that'll, that'll help. Nice. Yeah. You said your ultimate goal is to live an integrated life on your year. Yeah. I wanted to bring this up cause I just, I loved this as well. And so they would have several things that you commented on that I was just like, oh I want to touch on this.
Greg Amanti: 00:42:45 But you talked about you want to live an integrated life where you're able to create your art while being able to explore life and reflect on it. And, and you said earlier that you had a project that you were reflecting on for like a year or, or, or you've had projects where you could be reflecting on it for a year and then it didn't and it ended up being better for it. So I was wondering if you could talk about that, cause I was just fascinated by that comment and what that means for you. Well it's about, you know, about an idea and then you know, you're writing in your sketchbook, you'll try it out. And then a lot of times they'll just sit on it and come back to it. And then or, or some other times it'll just always be in sort of my thought process, thinking through it during the day as I'm doing, you know, whatever you do during the day.
Greg Amanti: 00:43:35 And as far as integrated in life, that's, that's I think for me to be creative. I need, like we were talking about earlier where people, some people need deadlines and they'd be that chaos of, of things to get or a deadline to get work done or I'm almost the opposite. I need that sort of downtime. I need, you know, ideally I love having like even like a week, two weeks to just be, whether that's sitting on my courtroom reading, playing, rec chart, just living. I think maybe how humans are supposed to live at the integrated life is essentially rolling into, you know, I can build things as well. So more like practical stuff, whether it's you know, furniture or something somebody needs for their house and the studio basically overlapping in my workspace being combined with my studio song, you know, simultaneously working on art and ideas and you know, as you're working with your hands, other ideas happen. So being right there with maybe paid work, but also I can go into my space where I'm working on my own work and kind of go back and forth and hey, maybe a two o'clock I don't have anything going on for the next two hours. So He'd go on a bike ride and I had time to think. I haven't had much time to think in the last 30 years and that's difficult. It's extremely difficult for me personally, you know? So that's kind of what I was talking about with that.
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Gabe Ratliff: 00:45:49 There was something I was really interested in hearing more about and uh, I'm really curious to know more about how you're managing, you know, to be so busy over the last three years. How are you kind of coping with that and working through that because I imagine that as you said, that's really difficult. So like how are you kind of pushing through that and what's been working for you in that in that way?
Greg Amanti: 00:46:15 As far as getting my own work done while you were talking about how over the last three years you haven't had a lot of time to think and you really need that in your work. And so I was just wondering if there's any, any, any thing you could share here for the audience about, you know, how you've been able to navigate that being that something vital to your work and like how have you pushed through that or what you've been able to do to accommodate being so busy? Cause it's something that we, a lot of us deal with. Why another, there's always an end goal for me. I have goal. So I know this is just temporary, you know, and both my wife, Heather and I, you know, you alluded to it earlier and probably off mic that we want to be involved with the community. So part of it is being in the new community, not wanting to sit on the sidelines but certainly be part of growing a creative community that we want to be a part of. But we also think it's good for, you know, the community at large. So that helps because that's, even though that's part of the business, a lot of that outlet is also creative. It's not necessarily my own personal work, but it's design and it's creative and it's, and it's building something. So right now it's more just about being in a building phase, whether that, you know, we're remodeling the house where I've got a full time job, it's that kind of thing. But you know, it's just setting goals and knowing that it's, it's all building. All of these are all steps that are building on themselves and they see it getting better. And I see windows of being able to create more time just through the last three years of working as hard as, you know, both Heather and I have worked toward that. So there's no, there's an end goal. Yeah, the long, the long answer to none. And there's an angle building. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:48:08 Oh that's great. Because like I said, I mean a lot of us deal with that, right? Like my last guest who's a composer and a music producer, he has a day job and he was talking about the same issues of, it's really, especially in music these days, it's really difficult because it's so competitive. It's so easy now to get your music out and to, you know, have a laptop and write music. And so people everywhere, you know are putting music out and this just become such a vast competitive landscape. And he said, especially in the composing, you know, for commercials and cause he does commercials and TV and film and things. And he was saying, you know, that exact comment about, you know, she's just like, I ha I have this and then I have this, you know, I have my, my day job and then I have this and I'm still working on this and perfecting, you know, honing my craft and it's something a lot of us deal with. So I appreciate you sharing that. One of the things that you also talked about was around your biggest challenge and you talked about those periods of inertia and self doubt. And we touched on this earlier. I was wondering if you could talk about that a little bit too.
Greg Amanti: 00:49:20 Yeah, I mean that's, that's always been a tough thing for me. Like I work in spurts, you know, we're all half like just eight months where I miss going at it and it's great. And then I'll have a year, you know, of relative inactivity, still doing things and building things and making but not like sinking my teeth into an idea, a series of project. And that's a, I don't know, I'm still working through that to try and break through that inertia because ultimately once you do, it's fantastic and you're like, why was I even waiting a week? You know? So yeah, I'm still trying to figure that one out. It's, I think, again, it goes back to maybe just not trusting, trusting the direction that I see myself going or you know, and part of it when you're working full time, that's a little bit of it. But I hate to give that kind of as even as an excuse because there's always, you can always make time. It's just a matter where you choose your distractions, you know? Yup. Priority prioritizing. So,
Gabe Ratliff: 00:50:38 yeah. Agreed. Well, you know, again, that's another thing that I absolutely want to present. Agree. But there's also somewhat of a caveat to that, right? When you were talking about being busy and also needing to find time, like I've, I agree with the philosophy around, you know, your art can really grow when you're living, right? Like your experiences and the adventures and the experiences that you have in life are really what helps fuel your art. You even talked about it earlier, you touched on, you know, taking a bike ride or just sitting on the porch and playing music and just enjoying Oregon, you know, and like that it's such a beautiful state and you know, just enjoying this place that you've chosen to move to in the community that you're supporting there. And having those moments right to yourself and those experiences that you have with, whether it be with Heather or with your artists, friends or whoever.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:51:40 Those are just as important as the times where you are working, you know, and the priority, the prioritization you put on your work. Right? And so that's something that I think is also the balance that we have to find is how do you find time for yourself and the self care and even just having those moments of whether it be peace or, you know, something that's completely disconnected from your work that allows you to have that space to shoot, you know, to just let your subconscious do with work. Yeah. Yeah. Speaking of which, where do you find inspiration when you're working on creative projects or, or you know, when, when you do have this downtime, you talked about, you know, being on the porch and run your bike and things. Like what, what else do you like to do to get inspiration?
Greg Amanti: 00:52:36 Movies are good. Movies, music, reading. Um, and then just, just having time to really kind of unwind and not, not think about much of anything. There's really never been any specific place. So it's just sort of things I enjoy naturally, you know, you know, sometimes it's not hearing something correctly, say it in a movie or seeing something visually that I think I see, but I don't go my calm. That actually is kind of interesting, but you know, it's just me interpreting it totally from, I don't know where, you know, just seeing it wrong again or not, or not. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:53:25 Or that was just the muse knocking on your door. No, I totally get that. I was going to ask, I mean do you have any, any recommendations or or or you know any of these like movies or books or or music that off the top of your head or just whether their go tos or something currently that is lighting you up or
Greg Amanti: 00:53:51 I don't have anything currently and then there's too many. It's like one of those things are like pick your favorite x, y or Z.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:53:57 That's why I didn't say it that way. Been there, done that.
Greg Amanti: 00:54:03 I think it's more about finding like not something you have to do something that you pick it up. Whether it's a book or music that it's just like your hook, line and sinker. You can't stop. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:54:18 Yeah. That's going to be different for, you know everybody. Yeah. You mentioned the music is helpful for you when you're getting into your flow state. Is there, I imagine you're talking about jazz, but is there, is that, is there a, are there other styles or is it not jazz? Is it like avant or experimental or, cause you're talking about the, that improvisation that's in the music.
Greg Amanti: 00:54:48 Yeah, it's, I mean a lot of it is still, it's classify, you know, like everything. People have to classify it, but it's not technically jazz. I mean it's sort of just improvisational music, but it's the easiest category to put it in his jazz because it's typically doesn't have lyrics.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:55:08 I actually follow a similar tune with that pun intended. Um, you know that, that's actually where my love for electronic music started was when I, cause I found that I have a focus problem and I found that electronic music was similar to classical, but I connected with it even deeper, especially as it has evolved. But it helped me kind of have this connective tissue with my thoughts as I was working on pieces that would help me get into that zone and just focus. And I had a problem with that until I tapped into that style and started to kind of experiment with that and just sort of see how that affected me when I was working on art. And I found that it just was, I mean it just, I became just like you said, hook, line and sinker. It just hooked me. And I, it was like the most magical thing because I could finally focus and like get through more work and you know, feel like I was being, you know, more progressive in the process then I had been before because I would get so distracted.
Greg Amanti: 00:56:22 I mean a lot of it too, it's, you know, some people listen to it and it's, I wouldn't say it's a coffee cause a lot of it has melody and the whole thing, but you know, it's, it's like people who take Ritalin who are hyperactive. So it was like certain music that seems kind of hyperactive calms me down now what kind of brainwave thing is happening? But it just sort of, that just does it a lot of times. Yeah. Yeah. How do you know when a project is done? Do you intuit it or do you have a method for recognizing its completion or how do you call it done?
Greg Amanti: 00:57:06 I intuit it. You kind of know, you kind of know. And then oftentimes it'll be like, I'll keep working on it. I'm like, no, you're just, you're just screwing it up. You're just, you're just muddying the waters, you're done, move on. And I don't think about it again. I just, um, once I'm done, it's done. What's next?
Gabe Ratliff: 00:57:30 Yeah. Do you ever go back and revisit something that you may be one to like redo or at like, you know, cause you've done several series, so I just wonder, did you, did you had already envision a series or did, have you ever kind of done something and then realize, Ooh, I want to make this a series? Like have you done that or had something that you did and then realize like, I want to, I want to break this up more?
Greg Amanti: 00:57:56 No, I've had like, um, sort of a general sense for a series and then when I'm done I'm done and then I don't really, that's true of almost anything. I typically don't like to revisit my past. I don't like to revisit my past works. Yeah. I don't know what that is. I'm not very nostalgic I guess. Yeah. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 00:58:23 How do you handle being critiqued? How has that been for you as an artist? Especially now that you, you know, you've been doing this now professionally for a long time and you know, something that you do religiously when you're younger and in school and you know, around your peers. But now it's a much larger landscape and it's really for you. I can, I totally get that this is for you. And, and I think that's true for most of us, but I, I'm always curious about how people handle critique and you know, when you put your work out there and now there's just, you know, with social media, you'd never know what you're going to get and if people are gonna like it or if they're going to trash it or whether it, is that something you even like being not, not being nostalgic, I'm just curious, is that something that you even acknowledge or you just keep doing your thing?
Greg Amanti: 00:59:18 Pay attention to it because I'm usually not on those platforms so much. Yeah. And then, um, even if I, even if I were, I know in myself, if there were successful and I'm good enough with that and I know what does, I'm happy to have a critique and I don't, I'm not opposed to it. And if somebody has like an honest sort of a helpful critique or if they just want to trash it, I'm actually fine with either one. But one is going to be helpful. One won't be helpful. Right. But ultimately it's like I kind of know what worked, what didn't work, you know, and that's good enough. That's honestly, yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:00:02 Yeah. That's awesome. That's actually where I was headed is how you self perpetuate your growth. Like how you, how you handle that. So you're, you just recognize what you thought was good and what you thought it was bad and what was a learning lesson and just apply that to your next project. Yeah, totally. That's awesome. Yeah. That's awesome. Do you have a favorite piece that you've created? Something, I mean, I know we're talking about not being nostalgic, but is there something that you just, it's sort of, at least to this point today, is there anything that you look back on and maybe not just feel proud of that it was what you envisioned, cause it sounds like you do that pretty regularly from what I gathered, but is there something that you feel like, and tell me if I'm wrong, but I was kind of getting an impression that you, you know, and I, I think this fascinating to be able to, you know, go from sketch to complete, you know, the completion and feel that affirmation of what your vision was. But I'm just curious, is there anything that you look back on now over the years and whether that's recent or not, that you just feel like was your, your favorite or most successful or like really took you to a new place or,
Greg Amanti: 01:01:18 yeah, that's, that's more about what it sat because I think it's... It was successful for me. I don't think anybody likes, and that's fine. Right? Um, it was a piece I did for a hinterland, so I had to do, I wanted to essentially kind of show, sort of show my process, but I also had just a day to sort of install it. So I built up kind of more of a two d three d piece that was more flattened. And then I integrated it into the space of a hinterland gallery. And I really was happy with the process of going from my intention to the space and how it turned out. And then I took a picture of that and I had that in the show as well. But yeah, it might've been the only one who liked and that's okay. But yeah. And how like springboard, I'm like, Oh okay this is a good idea to do x, Y and Z for maybe the next project. And that's part of it. You know.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:02:27 When did the transition to, you know, um, you know, mold making and stone carving and the installations, when did that take place and how did that come about from, cause you know, you talked us through photography and
Gabe Ratliff: 01:02:45 I'm just curious cause it, cause that's something that you're also, I mean a lot of the work that we've, we've been talking about is in this three dimensional tactile space. And then you just talked about, you know, you'll take a photograph which you have some awesome photos of your pieces, like how you captured the depth, you know, and yeah, like in tempest and some of those things, you know, where it's like you're just starting to see this, this vision that you had of this, this, this installation or this, this concept. But then you're capturing it with, you know, another medium that you like to use and you know, packaging that for people to be able to witness if they're not getting to see it firsthand. But when did that transition happen for you and, and cause that you do a lot of that. So I'm just curious if you could share that.
Greg Amanti: 01:03:33 Well, I think first photo class, I didn't know what I was doing. You've heard that from other people. I'm sure that's kind of a good thing because you don't know that you're not supposed to be doing right. So I was putting wax and paints on the photographs. I didn't, I just thought it was interesting. I was cutting stuff up and kind of arranging the photograph that I took and you know, I got positive feedback from the instructor. I didn't know what the heck I was doing, but I was just enjoying it. So I think it almost started from there. I was never really interested in as much as I appreciate photography and loving and love good photographers, I've never really even considered myself that. So I don't know. Started from that thought process and then, you know, and I started making molds and I was like, oh. And then it was like,
Greg Amanti: 01:04:28 you know, you see like anything you start doing, you start seeing all sorts of new areas and this was like the positive and negative space. When you're new to something, it's you know, even that much more fascinating where you've done it then you do for a couple of years and you're like, yeah, whenever. Yeah. And then you know that kind of springboard to something else and then you know, then still carving. So everything builds on itself and everything informs other pieces. You know, just like working with clay, they tell you to work with clay before you start blacksmithing because the play sort of moves the way molten metal would move. So it's a similar thing where all these different mediums inform each other and build on each other. I know that probably got away from your question a little bit, but
Gabe Ratliff: 01:05:19 no, I was just, I just want to keep following that thread of, you know, kind of getting us closer to where we are today and the work that you've been doing for a long time. You know, and just how that's kind of gotten, cause I find that fascinating. Just how, like you said, one builds on the next and that builds on the next and it, cause I've had a similarly spread out kind of trajectory with my work where I, you know, I was an illustrator originally and then got into photography and film and then kind of backtracked into sort of, um, into design and web design that could have been somewhere sooner relative to that trajectory in school where you're, you know, trying all kinds of things. But I didn't actually go that route. I was just developed to media and photography and film and, and I got to use, you know, bell and Howell's and you know, old 16 mil cameras and I, so I got to enjoy the film and then get into digital later.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:06:26 And so I, I sorta had this kind of shift and interestingly, I fell in love with design because of that composition element to talk with photography. Right? And then started getting pulled that way. And then I started getting into like web design and I realized that was not, that was not me, that I wanted more tactical, less online work, you know? And so that was where I kind of organically found my parameters of like, Oh yeah, this speaks to me more than this does. And that was sort of my trajectory with that. Um, so yeah, I just, I like tapping into that as we're unpacking, oh, you know who you are and what you do. Um, I'm also kind of caring is down the path of talking about Comante and you know, how that came to be and you and Heather and how you work together with your team and how does that all play?
Greg Amanti: 01:07:29 No, I guess it's almost two years ago we decided to be like how can we, again, the integrated life, so how can we create this integrated life? And it's like, okay, let's combine our games, which we did and then let's get it collected together and see where we can take it. I mean, mostly so far we've done as far as Caromont you goes the installation for Ben Design. But I'm excited to see where it can go cause I think there's so many possibilities with the talent that Heather has in her own area, my talent. And then this other part of the collective that, you know, all these different combined minds, I'm just itching to get that rate project. Yeah. So I'm hoping that right project comes along because, uh, I think it's going to be pretty exciting. But mostly so far it's been on the, on the installation for Ben Design, which has been rewarding.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:08:25 Yeah. Rewarding. Yeah. What would you say the, the, the right project would look like? What does that, what, what do you imagine that would look like for this collective to work on
Greg Amanti: 01:08:40 be a film building pieces for the film and then the motion work that Heather could do on top of it? So a multimedia experience with a story to it. Oh yeah. I think, I think, uh, I think it could be, yeah. I don't know where though. I think honestly, what it might have to be is that we just sink our teeth into, you know, developing a project. Yeah. And moving forward with it. Not Waiting for that client, you know? Yeah. That's kind of been trying to figure how to, where to steer. C'Mon too. Because it's, you know, what are we exactly. I think we're still trying to figure that out because a client has to know, you know where you're at right now.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:09:28 Yeah. That's why I wanted to ask to just see, you know, if anyone's listening or if there's anyone in the network that whether it be mine or people listening that are looking for that. Right.
Greg Amanti: 01:09:39 Yeah. It's hard. You know, like this is a weird segue, but you know, you almost, I know myself I'll leave at any project that's interesting that I can see it going somewhere that will take me in a direction that hadn't been or excite me and you know, it's always, money is always second and you know, if it pays something great, but if I'm getting something rewarding out of it all the better. Both would be amazing.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:10:08 Yeah. Have you heard about this new film called missing link? It's an animated. Have you seen any the, the featurettes about it where they're talking about the merging that they've done with CG and and live action. It's fascinating.
Greg Amanti: 01:10:25 Yeah. Twice. It's just saw it like as a call core placer up here in Oregon early. Yeah. So they've got a place and just outside of Portland One oh suburbs, I forget which one. And they all blend together and then further north of that or what's important ones are next summer. Yeah. So they do what's called about his style. Like they'll, you know, do the three d printing for the faces and then change out all these three d printed faces. Yeah. I'm a sucker for stop animation.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:10:57 Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm so glad that it, it wasn't an art that died because it was, you know, starting to kind of go that direction and they were just like a few people that were devout to the, like Tim Burton obviously, but like several people like, like, uh, yeah. And I mean, um, uh, what was the last one? Kubo and the two strings. Oh, I don't know it. Oh my gosh. Beautiful. Beautiful. And yeah, I, yeah, missing link and Coraline. I mean, I, yeah, huge fan. I love Neil Gaiman too. So anything he touches going to watch it. Yeah. I just, I love that. It sounds very similar to me. Write about how they are approaching projects and they're keeping the tactical live action element with that motion capture or motion design or animation, whatever it is that they're using.
Greg Amanti: 01:11:56 Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:11:57 Yeah. And I also love the Guillermo del Toro is a big fan of that and using practical effects with CGI and and having them meet each other,
Greg Amanti: 01:12:05 you definitely feel it. You feel the difference as a viewer to to have an actual set and you see Jack Cgi when it, when it fits.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:12:17 Yeah. You know, now that we covered Kumanti, I wanted to kind of now step into the other work you've been doing in the community, like the installation you just mentioned with Ben Design and the Central Oregon community college and the work that you're doing with all these groups to support the community. I was wondering if you could speak to that and what is your expectations that you're attempting to tackle with all this work that you've added on to your already full plate?
Greg Amanti: 01:12:48 Expectations are not really anything specific. It's more, you know, as I was, I touched on earlier with, you know, if we're in this community, how can we help the community and Maureen grow in a creative way and there's so many talented people here. It's like, how can you tap into that and, and build upon that. And you know, for me an easy way is, okay, here's some established here, somebody doing something, how can I help you, you know, kind of be of service to you. And you know, I have been in certain circumstances and it, it feels great to connect people and connect minds and have big part of something, you know, cliche to say that it's bigger than you, but yes, bigger than you, but also bring people, these disparate people together that started talking and then, you know, knowing that these people have, have created these ideas because they were allowed to congregate and talk and help facilitate that.
Greg Amanti: 01:13:58 Hugely satisfying. And that's uh, that's part of, you know, not a goal but the unintended sort of like, wow, this is really great but could what's building and to see building and growing and you know, each year is better and better and you know, what I'm doing up the college is just helping students shows, just helping a friend of mine that's satisfying too because it's, you know, the students are growing and you know, some of the work is not necessarily the strongest workbook. Putting the show together in a cohesive way that that helps elevate everybody in the show and finding what's good in, you know, some pieces that maybe need some, some, you know, help along the line or they're just starting to figure it out where they're going, who they're at and seeing potential in some of these people too. It's really kind of like, wow, this is cool. You know, we see, you know, 10 years from now this person's going to have some really interesting, yeah. That's what that's about
Gabe Ratliff: 01:14:59 now. That's awesome though, right? I mean, you're giving back to, you know, the younger version of yourself, right? And you're helping them, like you said, you know, elevating by creating a more cohesive installation for that show shows them that possibility with their work that may, they may not have seen with, with somebody doing it that wasn't giving that kind of intention to it. Right?
Greg Amanti: 01:15:27 Oh yeah. And respecting, you know, it's like one of those things where if they don't respect their work or they just have it pinned up in a kind of half assed way, it says something, right. Just like how you present yourself says something. So hopefully showing a mat as well to respect what they've done and show it in such a way that, you know, whether or not it needs some work or whatever, but it's still presentable and looks good in the space. So yeah, that's been fun too. I've never really done that on a semi regular basis. So that's been an interesting sort of, you know, just trusting my gut and being like, okay, this, this and this and not looking back. It's been a good learning experience.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:16:11 Ben Design happened not too long ago. Can you talk to how that went and, and just, you know, how that helped with the community. And I mean, it looked like a fantastic event and I'm really excited about this year's. What can you kind of, uh, you know, just tell us a little bit about, for people that don't know what it is, what the, you know, what the, the purpose of the conferences and you know, what, how this all worked out, you know, supporting with the installation and you know, just how this is helping elevate the community
Greg Amanti: 01:16:47 a much better job than I'll do. But it's bringing in designers, architects, creative thinkers, you know, what word they're trying not to do is be like a Ted talk. So the first day is five to eight speakers on different topics that relate to design, relate to design that helps elevate the communities that they're in. Yeah. And then the second day is workshops, uh, sometimes from the speakers who were up on the stage, but you know, workshops that get people involved with whatever the process is for that particular design. So more tactile hands on with a couple of lectures. And then some films thrown in. And then last year there was a community based thing on the third day. And I'm not sure what we'll do on the third day this year, but it's bringing again, bring people together and having the small environment where it allows people to really connect and network on a small scale where some of these other design conferences or thousands of people, this is 400 people in a small town and people are going out to dinner with one another. And you know, kind of what I was saying earlier, connecting these people that would have never connected before, it's really, really, really satisfying.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:18:09 that's awesome. I mean, and you hit a couple of things that were really key elements for me was the size and the type of creative thinkers they're bringing together in this beautiful place. You know, and it's not Vegas or Florida or Anaheim, you know, it's, it's bend, you know, and it's, but it's already in this very creative, beautiful space in itself and the focus around a smaller group of people. I was really excited about. I mean, that was one of the first things that hooked me. And uh, and just like you said about the, just bringing those creative, different creative thinkers together and having that space to be able to let creativity do its thing, let conversations happen. And that's one of the things that I don't like about the big conferences is you just, it's just a barrage of people and energy and it's just more distraction and it really can be difficult to keep, to pull a lot out of them because you're so tired and you're just, you're, you know, you're like holding on for dear life to get to the end of the week or the end of the conference, you know, and trying to pull things from the workshops and you know, there's Schwag and you know, all of these things in the parties and all this stuff and a lot of them just have this, it's just more distraction a lot of times to help bring the crowd. Meanwhile, you're kind of getting away from the core of what they're really about, which is about, you know, empowering the community and inspiring the community. And hopefully something coming out of it, which is what I think their mission is. And I love that.
Greg Amanti: 01:19:57 And it's, you know, last year there was one less speaker. This year there might even be one less speaker than last year just for that very reason. It's fatiguing know, and you don't want, the idea is not to just to talk to people and, and nothing comes out of it. It's okay, here's people talking and trying to connect. But now let's take it to workshops and actually connecting these people who are up there with these great ideas, with the people who are in the audience who are mostly creatives. Um, but you know, there's definitely, um, you know, there's a wide variety of people, hopefully even more this next year, but leaning more towards designers and artists and creators, but love it having on that fence. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:20:46 So we're getting down to the last few wrap up questions. My first one is you, you know, your mentioned your passion for bringing Avant Garde Music and musicians to central Oregon. And I was wondering, you know, you said that you listened to that when you work and, and that you, that you didn't really have anything specific to speak to you, but I was wondering, I mean, is there anybody that you'd love to have come out there or, or that, you know, yeah. Like who would that be?
Greg Amanti: 01:21:22 I Dunno, like I'm thinking like with Widada Leo Smith, I'm taking, um, for example, like when I was in Denver, I was part of creative music works helping that organization and there was a show Sun of Goldfinger with David Torn, Chet Smith and uh, Tim Burn, not the Tim Burn and you're thinking of on saxophone and man, that's just like one of the best shows I've ever seen. And just to have that ability to hopefully what I'm experiencing somebody else in the audience will experience. And again, being part of helping bring that to, and I'm sure a lot of it is just me self wanting to see these musicians. Right. Totally fine. This is your interview, right? You know there's a Big Ears Festival and Knoxville just happened in November and that's kind of like a smaller version is what I'd like to try and facilitate for, for bent. Interesting. That's actually where I went to school. Is it? I haven't been, I'm gonna I'm gonna. Um, I'm definitely going next year cause I want us to kind of maybe pick some people's brain and see how I can replicate the smaller sort of version of here.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:22:47 Yeah. I have a friend who works a lot with festivals, so I hear a connection coming as well. Oh, I would love that. She's actually at one right now. It's on the west coast. So yeah, I think that'll be a good, a good a connection. I was wondering, has a work of art, film, literature or music ever directly influenced your life and if so, elaborate
Greg Amanti: 01:23:16 directly influenced my life or work or both? Either or both? Nothing specifically that influenced me at work that I, I'm sure it has been. Nothing. I can say that I liked the way that maybe like um, Anselm Kiefer, the way he, his, his work is real sort of like tacked on visceral. I mean I'm definitely attracted to that. So that would be like the maybe direct person I could think of and then yeah, have films, nothing, nothing in particular that I can point to that changed the direction or the way I view things, but more just just exploring kind of things are already like, yeah, trying to find new things, which is not as easy as when I lived in a city and was maybe going out more. It's a little bit harder, but there's so much. Then there's also so much content now too. It's like weeding through that. But no, nothing man. I'm bad on the spot like that too. I'm thinking like there's been like going to see a couple of Richard Serra pieces where it's that, you know, Where he puts you in that place where you're always kind of at ease or at least I'm at ease and that is pretty amazing. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:24:40 Awesome. That's great. I mean this is really just trying to share some recommendations for people you know, things that have helped you on your path or inspired you or tickled something, you know, you've got your attention. That's really where I like to come from with that. Well, if that one was hard, then I imagine this one might be a little tough. Uh, what is the most important realization that you've had in your life so far
Greg Amanti: 01:25:06 that there is no destination, you know, that, um, I think as I was younger it was, okay, I'm going to be here or I'm going to be here at a certain point. And I think maybe that's part of the integrated life. I just want to be, you know, and be creative all the time or as much as I can because that's what, you know, how's the energy when I'm being creative and when I'm feeding that part of my life. And that's trying to pay attention to that.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:25:42 Yeah. That's awesome. Yeah. That's awesome. I absolutely adore that. Saying about, you know, the journey is the destination. I totally, I attempt to check in with that regularly because it's so easy to get off track, right? Like when you're, we were talking about earlier about just the work begets work and you know, you're, you're just spinning thinking about things and you might be sort of closing off your intuition for a time and then coming back to it and all of these things. And, you know, this journey that we go on his right brain thinkers, it can be arduous at times. And sometimes it's like, Oh, if I get to this or if the, if this happens, I'll finally be, you know, whatever. Any or society says you've now made it, or all that bullshit and
Greg Amanti: 01:26:43 never happens. Never happens. No, it's, you know, it just, no matter where you're at, no matter how much money, no matter how anything, it just never, it never satisfies that part of you that you think it should satisfy it. You know, maybe that's just getting older and realizing, okay, that's okay. So now, now where do I want to try and focus?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:27:07 Yeah. Well, that's the thing I think is so beautiful about the journey that we're on. Once you acknowledge that is that you can be at peace with just wanting to work on the next thing, you know, in wanting or wanting to, you know, dive into that next project. Just like you were talking about earlier. You know what it's like, okay, I finished this one. What's next? You know, and it's, the brain starts to get tantalized again, you know, and, and starts to light up cause you're like, Ooh, now I, you know, I finished that one and what's next? You know, and, uh, and it's at sand. I love that period of, of the project because you, it's like time to brainstorm and the sky's the limit and it even beyond that, you know, it's just, it can be anything you want. And I just think that that's, that's a beautiful thing, if you can remember that it is about the journey. Okay. Last question. Two questions. Anything else that you'd like to say or any parting words? Any advice for young budding artists or people on this, on this train as well?
Greg Amanti: 01:28:24 Oh yeah. I mean, don't do it, you know, figure out something else. Because you know, if you, if you're in that spot where it's like, I, I am not a complete person without doing this, keep moving forward and do it for that reason. Only without the expectation of I'm going to be represented by this gallery. I'm going to be selling my work here. You know, that can get discouraging and not to say that that won't happen and not pursue that because it's all about the work you put into it. And again, to be happy with the process and to see your own growth and, and explore it. Yeah. I guess it's don't try and satisfy anybody other than yourself. And if, you know, there's only a few people that are really gonna make it really good living just doing their own work and there will be those people, and I don't want to discourage anybody from not doing that, but have your passions know your passions and if you can't without it,
Gabe Ratliff: 01:29:09 Yeah. Where can people find you?
Gabe Ratliff: 01:29:41 I think I'm @gregoryamanti. Heather does most of this. I think I'm at gregoryamanti.com that probably be the easiest place. I think that's the uh, Instagram @gregoryamanti. Yeah.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:29:58 Awesome. Greg, man, thank you so much. This has been such a treat. I love both of you cats, you are just, this is what I love about our community is just the purity and the and the passion and I love the purpose as well.
Greg Amanti: 01:30:15 Oh, thanks. Thanks for having me.
Gabe Ratliff: 01:30:20 Well that's it for this episode. If this is your first time listening, thank you so much for being here. I really hope you enjoy the show. The Vitalic Project podcast comes out biweekly and is available every other Thursday for your enjoyment and all links and show notes for this episode can be found at vitalicproject.com. If you haven't yet, please subscribe to the show and leave a rating or review on iTunes. If you'd like to be a guest or know someone that would be a great fit, please go to vitalicproject.com/guest. If you want to follow us, you can find us online by searching @vitalicproject and thanks again for listening. Until next time, keep being vitalic!