An award-winning artist, Amy M. Ditto's career has followed a circuitous route. Beginning with the gift of an SLR camera on her 18th birthday and subsequent training in Fine Art Photography at the University of New Mexico, Amy went on to earn a BA in Psychology and ultimately a PhD in Ecology. Seeking a change of direction in 2010, she and her husband Stefan founded Aperture Photography, which provides commercial photography services.
Amy's artistic career since that time has been extraordinary in its trajectory. Her bold, vibrant, fantastical imagery evokes a sense of wonder and irreverence and has been displayed widely around the state of New Mexico in exhibitions and galleries. Within a year of taking a beginning Photoshop course aimed at basic editing for portraiture and event photography, she was entering her Fine Art in juried shows and winning awards from jurors the likes of Patrick Nagatani and Regina Held. Her work has been featured at the Hubbard Museum of the American West, the UNM Popejoy Hall Benefactor’s Lounge, and has been the feature art for the Placitas Artists' Series and the 27th Annual Rio Grande Arts & Crafts Festival. (The festival won an honorable mention in Sunshine Artist Magazine for the poster created utilizing her image “Dia de Los Moo-uertos” in a national competition against other high-end juried shows.) Her work has also been featured in a variety of publications including Shadow & Light and Diffusion, has donned book covers, and just made people laugh.
Skilled in graphic design and post-production, Amy now works and teaches as an artist full-time. As an extension of her love of Fine Art she opened Ghostwolf Gallery in Albuquerque Old Town, a contemporary gallery focused on highlighting the work of local artists with a truly unique vision. Amy is actively involved in promoting the arts, having served as Vice President of the Corrales Society of Artists and currently serving as their Social Media Manager. Additionally, she volunteers her skills to several prominent shows and galleries in central NM.
"How to communicate the subdued pleasantness of a perfect summer day, the internal quiet of a sunset, or the sound of leaves crackling underfoot? These are experiences that we take for granted, the essence of which if distilled, should impart the essential pleasure of that perfect light, a scent in the air, the sound of silence. I strive to push the boundaries between photography and other art forms to communicate the inherent vibrance of the world around us."
Some people define themselves by what they don't like. Those people are rarely any fun. I prefer to define myself by what I do, and I'm a firm believer that we should never take ourselves too seriously. It is an incredible gift to be able to bring a little bit of laughter and joy into people's lives. This is very much the domain of art. Thus, elements of wonder and humor have become hugely important components of my work.
The driving forces behind my development as an artist are both positive and antagonistic. I've won a fair share of accolades now, but as a photographer working in the realm of digital/new media, I've also been exposed to my fair share of detractors amongst conventionalists. Unequivocally, these attitudes have pushed me to define myself without apology as an artist with a distinct vision. The constant pressure to create art that purists are more comfortable with has ultimately pushed me to find my own voice. Instead of caving and aspiring to mediocrity through the pursuit of excellence in common work, I find myself taking more chances in defiance of it. The cynicism and banality of the idea that everything must look exactly as it is or utilize trendy techniques has pushed me ever further towards surrealism and whimsy. It's led me to more actively start telling stories and show people how I see the world.
As such, my artistic process differs significantly from traditional methodology. I specialize in digital collage, working with multiple images to create scenes from the imagination. I hand-embellish images with digital brushwork and other techniques. Spontaneity is a big part of what I do ideologically, but many of my images are extremely complex, requiring a great deal of planning to bring to fruition. A given piece may be a simple composite or comprised of up to 1000 different layers. My work also encompasses a diversity of subject matter and style. Intellectually, I crave novelty and I would quickly become bored conforming to a strict formula. Unifying stylistic elements are globally evident in everything I do, but I feed off the challenge of pushing myself in new directions. I remain constantly curious and easily amused in life. I love quirky cultural statements and ironic juxtapositions. Ideas arise wondering what two very disparate images might look like combined, or waking from a dream. Perhaps the greatest thing my artistic (and life) journey has taught me is that how we respond to challenges defines us. I can't wait for the next one.