Know Your Neighbors: Benz Amatayakul Kuipers of Amataya Studio + The Art Playroom

0
478

I am continuously amazed at all of the creative and entrepreneurial residents in OP/RF/FP. Oak Park recently gained another citizen who embodies both of these adjectives – Benz Amatayakul Kuipers. Benz is an abstract artist who creates beautiful works of art and works as a teacher to guide others in finding the artist inside of themselves.

I first came across Benz’s artwork on Instagram and soon after I began following her I bought a small painting that I love. When I saw that she was moving to Oak Park, I knew I wanted to learn more about her background, her work and her move to the area so I could share with all of you! Read on to learn more about Benz, what she’s doing and how you can work with her to find your own inner artist.

Around Oak Park
You are relatively ‘new’ to Oak Park. When did you move here and what brought you here?

Yes! We moved here in May 2018. We lived in the city before and wanted a slower pace of life, awesome parks and swimming pools, a strong sense of community and a close proximity to the city. Oak Park ticked all of our boxes.

AOP
You’re also relatively new to entrepreneurship. Tell us a little about your work and how you got to where you are today.

Benz
I am an abstract artist and art teacher. I started painting over three years ago after a career in Branding/Marketing.

I stumbled upon abstract painting as I watched my kids make art. Their fearlessness and joy intrigued me so much that I started looking into Process Art for myself. I wondered if there was a play-based type of art class available for adults too. Soon after, I found this gem of an art studio in Evanston called “Open Studio Project”. At this studio, there was no art teaching and no one was allowed to comment on your art. We were just provided with a place to make a mess, art supplies and a group of artists to create along with. I fell in love with this process and decided to become an Open Studio Process Facilitator.

The process of painting is life to me. I discovered through this process that I wanted to be a painter and teacher. My life’s goal is to share this process with as many people as I can.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

AOP
When you’re NOT working/creating works of art, where can we find you?

Benz
I have to admit that I feel like I’m always working. Being a new entrepreneur, it’s very difficult to separate work from life, plus my work is just so fun! I’m lucky that I have my boys who keep me busy and out of the house/art studio. My eldest is very active and sporty. He is doing AYSO soccer, swimming and piano this fall. He did School of Rock this summer and loved it. My youngest loves trying new food. We get our groceries at Sugar Beet Co-op and sometimes Pete’s weekly. Our favorite bakeries are Sugar Fixé and the Happy Apple Pie company. My youngest is also starting soccer this fall with the park district.

On the weekend we take adventures together as a family. About once a month, I take my whole family to a new art exhibition in the city. We just went to Smart Museum of Art at The University of Chicago for the first time. The new show “Expanding Narratives” is amazing! We also love hiking and being in nature. These are the places on our list: Trailside Museum of Natural History and Waterfall Glen Forest Preserve.

AOP
If you had to explain your ‘mission statement’ to someone in just a few words, what would you say?

Benz
I create to inspire others to create. I am living proof of “it’s never too late to start something new.”

AOP
What’s coming up for Amataya Studio?

Benz
For the past few years, I have been teaching private and small-group art classes from my home studio. Earlier this year I decided to scale up and have been working hard to create an online art club that offers process-based, open-ended art for kids and adults.

The online art club is called The Art Playroom (www.theartplayroom.com) and will be launched later this year. This welcoming art club is created for kids and kids-at-heart. Members of The Art Playroom get access to our online library. Every month, a new process art class video will be added to the library along with some bonuses (artist interviews and process art tips). There will also be a private online community for The Art Playroom members to interact with and support each other.

The idea behind The Art Playroom is simply that I wanted to offer art classes that are a little different than traditional ones. The Art Playroom does not teach any art skills. Instead, we focus on giving our artists the freedom to create without any fear of being judged. As a mom of two kids, who live in a society that inevitably has a high pressure to perform, I see this kind of place as a necessary creative sanctuary. The Art Playroom is a safe space for kids and adults to be themselves, experiment, make mistakes, and hopefully discover themselves along the way.

AOP
What was the best piece of advice you were given when starting out?

Benz
Be kind to everyone you encounter and do not expect anything in return.

AOP
Are there any books you would recommend to someone starting a business?

Benz
It’s not a business book but I love ‘Bird by Bird’ by Anne Lamott.

AOP
Now for a few fun questions to help us get to know you better! First – if you were magically given three more hours per day, what would you do with them?

Benz
Write and illustrate children’s’ books!

AOP
What inspires you?

Benz
Great books, children’s innocence, unconditional love and ART.

AOP
What did you want to be as a kid?

Benz
A ballerina, but I didn’t even know how to dance!

AOP
What is your favorite season?

Benz
Summer! Summer fruits, beaches, ice cream, movies and concerts in the park.

AOP
What is your favorite song right now?

Benz
Mass (Re-imagined) by Phoria

AOP
Finally, how would you describe yourself in three words? And how would your kids describe you?

Benz
Here’s how I would describe myself: passionate, stubborn, introvert. Here’s how my kids describe me: working, cuddling, kissing.

To connect with Benz, find out more about Amataya Studio and The Art Playroom or just get inspired, visit:

Email: benz@amatayastudio.com
www.theartplayroom.com
www.amatayastudio.com
Instagram: Amatayastudio

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here