Multi-skilled artist Amanda Reilly, ’13, credits her Farmingdale State College experience with helping develop her unique perspective on art. "My time at Farmingdale was incredible," said Reilly. "The Visual Communications program and its professors helped shape my career as a designer and illustrator. Without them, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Where Reilly is today is with a reputation as a quirky fixture on the Long Island art scene, noted for work that embraces the bold, bizarre, and grotesque. She is a self-described “lover of twisted imagery” who has made a career outside the studio, visiting cabarets, burlesque houses, and sideshows to capture performers in action and hosting themed costume events for anyone with a paint brush and easel. She is multi-skilled, excelling in illustration, large-scale mural painting, graphic design, and embroidery.
She mounted her first solo show Human Nature at the Muñeca Arthouse in Patchogue three years ago. She approached it from the dark side.
"Nobody is perfect,” Reilly noted. “We act on our emotional inhibitions. It’s what makes us grounded as humans, but also makes us monsters capable of ruin."
"When you’re covering such harsh topics as opportunism, two-faced jealousy, hatred, and more, it’s important to me to tackle these subjects with loud, bold colors, forms filled with suspense, and sharp vibrating lines. I feel it is a tactful way of displaying such mayhem.”
Reilly’s work is — at the very least — alarming and disconcerting. She challenges her audience to engage in deep-dive introspection and react honestly to what they see.
In Reilly’s art, it is mostly women who take on the forms of predators such as scorpions, and whose pincers and horns threaten havoc on human flesh. Nude women are chased by angry unicorns. Guilt, anger, and narcissism become tangible and pour out of mouths, ears, and eye sockets. Tongues, with legs, dance on a woman’s dinner plate. Perversion and grotesque images are presented in a trio of mixed media, including paintings, ink drawings, and moving images.
This is not Art 101.
At FSC, Reilly earned magna cum laude honors and FSC’s Student Award for Academic Excellence. She is generous in her praise of the Visual Communications program, and raves about professors such as George Fernandez and Jack Harris.
"My professors were so supportive and wonderful,” Reilly continued. “My work became more illustrative over the years I attended the program, and because of that some professors who had backgrounds in illustration offered to mentor me.”