“I genuinely care about making the most beautiful work I can,” said Sioux Falls artist Amanda Boerger. “When you buy a handmade piece of art from me, you’re buying an object that has been infused with so much time and energy.”
Boerger has been selling her pop, eclectic, and portrait art over the past two years from her website and Instagram. Her business, Existential Pencil, has taken off, and she says she’s having a blast getting to know her customers and the curators she crosses paths with. Boerger shared a look into her art and her life with the 605 team.
PEOPLE MIGHT KNOW ME FROM… my nude selfie collages on Instagram. These were born early quarantine when the restaurant I work at on Sundays (M.B. Haskett Delicatessen) closed for a month to reorganize. [The collages] were really popular, and they got me through that month financially. I feel like they’re really relatable and timely. They lightly express intimacy in a time of isolation.
I STARTED SELLING MY ART BECAUSE… I made so much of it, and I needed to make space for new stuff. I really only began selling seriously over the past two years, despite making heaps of work over the past decade.
IN MY FREE TIME, I’M… constantly making art. If I’m not working on a commission or a continuation of a series, I’m experimenting. When I need a break from working in paint (my forte), I sculpt or write (not my forte). I haven’t had much free time outside of my art and work life lately, but when I do, I really love leisurely reading about human psychology and neuroscience.
MY BIGGEST INSPIRATIONS ARE… life, people, and psychology. So much of my work really just aims to portray the human condition and normal daily life. In terms of artists that inspire me, I adore Henri Matisse, Alice Neel, and David Hockney.
THE BEST OF OWNING MY OWN BUSINESS IS… getting to know people. Between the curators who display my work and the clients who seek me out for commissions, I find it super fun to have those moments of collaboration in the idea process.
MY FAVORITE PROJECTS ARE… usually what I’m working on in the present. Currently, I’m working on portraying select members of my community loosely and on a large scale in paint and collage. Right now this project is my favorite because it’s novel to me, and it combines a lot of techniques I learned from past projects.
Experience Existential Pencil
SOMETHING I RECOMMEND IS… since my customers are often seeking portraits of themselves, I ask that they feel good or are working to feel good about themselves. It can be odd sometimes to see yourself photographed at a candid angle, let alone scribbled down in a sometimes expressive manner by me.
“I’m in the market of making beautiful work and making people see the beauty in themselves.”
I REMEMBER… once when I was in preschool, I waited until I knew my parents were asleep, and I crept to the attic to work on a detailed, colored-pencil collage of my family in our minivan. I guess from an early age I experienced and reveled in the process of creating. I only ever stopped really for a couple years in high school because I was utterly self-conscious of artmaking and everything else.
WHEN I WALK AROUND DOWNTOWN SIOUX FALLS, ONE OF MY FAVORITE PLACES TO STOP BY IS… M.B. Haskett. I love Mike Haskett so much. He’s let me waitress on and off over the last five years per my financial needs, and I really appreciate it. That sort of looseness and trust in an employer has been so conducive to getting my art career off the ground. Oh, and the food is the best quality and taste in Sioux Falls, in my opinion.
WHEN WE GOT OUT… my boyfriend and I have a bit of a habit of grabbing a discounted pint at Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen on Mondays, and we grab Sushi Masa for any and all remotely special occasions.
MY FAVORITE PLACE TO GO FOR INSPIRATION IS… an art museum. My birthday was in late September, and my boyfriend and I visited The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City. I felt so refreshed. My favorite piece that I saw was The Record Player by Karl Hofer.