020 – Amy Cameron Evans, Artist



Amy Cameron Evans (left) here with daughter Sofia and friend Sara Wood of the Southern Foodways Alliance at the Appalachian Food Summit.

In last week’s podcast we talked about how one ingredient, salt, can reveal the history of an entire region. But what if you took it further? Meet artist Amy Cameron Evans, a painter who creates narratives based on found objects and food. They’re modern still lifes. But they’re much more. As Artist-in-Residence for the 2015 Appalachian Food Summit, Amy used recipes and profiles from the Saltville Community Cookbook to create portraits of the wonderful women who contributed their best recipes, and sometimes Glamour Shots (remember those?) to the book.

By painting just a few objects and assigning a title, the viewer gets a mental image, a real sense of who this person was. For example, in my favorite piece “Velma Had a Secret” the only thing she paints is a cardboard box of ice cream, some bacon, and a pickle alongside a swatch of fabric. An entire story in just a few words and images. Velma was created from Amy’s imagination, but in my mind I have an entire picture of what she looked like. What makes her Saltville work so exciting is for the first time, Amy is creating portraits of actual women. Her exhibit from the Saltville Community Cookbook will be at The Harvest Table Restaurant in Abingdon until October 24th. Go see it!

In this episode, we discuss her process and how she came to love the stories behind the objects and recipes she discovers during her travels through local antique shops, used bookstores, and flea markets. Why does she use found wood instead of stretched canvas for her paintings? Does every found object have its own story to tell? What has been her most rewarding work so far? Is there room in the art world for food? Why are still lifes an important historical time capsule not only of what we ate, but how we lived? Has her work as an oral historian with the Southern Foodways Alliance helped her artwork? All this and more in Episode 20. I hope you’ll enjoy this as much as I did creating it. Cheers.

SHOW NOTES – Links to items discussed within the episode:

  • Art & Pie – purchase Amy’s work!
  • Saltville Community Cookbook – purchase your own copy. Just for the Chocolate Rice recipe!
  • Sam’s Bar-B-Q – read about how Amy helped this small business rebuild and repaint their outdoor mural, all the while recording the experience for the Southern Foodways Alliance as an oral historian.

This episode is sponsored by In A Flash Laser Engraving

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