Exploring The Art and Vision of Amy Gardner, Founder of Aunt Joy Gallery
Contemporary online platform Art Plugged is inspired by a relationship with the broader arts communities.
London-based mixed media artist Amy Gardner, originally from Australia, is known for her vibrant use of colour and positive imagery. Gardner’s art celebrates womanhood and the strength of women supporting each other, paying homage to the movement and history of women before. Focusing on the experiences of women, particularly the hidden labour and physical movements, Gardner often employs humour, utilizing images from 1950s advertising to highlight the persistence of the outdated “perfect woman” ideal in modern society.
Gardner is also the founder of Aunt Joy, an art gallery focused on making it easy for art lovers to buy art from women artists, with only 13.7% of living artists represented by galleries in Europe and North America being women as of 2022.
Yet, in the UK, “73% of postgraduate art and design students are women”; this data highlights the underrepresentation of female artists, an imbalance in the art world that Aunt Joy intends to change. With its limited edition prints, original paintings, collages, mixed media, photography & sculpture from a rich roster of female artists, such as Poppy Lennox, Cassandra Yap, Nadia Attura and, Sara Pope and the Cameron Twins, to name a few. We caught up with Gardner to learn more about her practice, inspiration and more about Aunt Joy.
Q: Hi Amy! How are you doing? Thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Please introduce yourself for those who do not know you.
Amy Gardner: Thanks for having me. I am an artist creating bold limited edition prints and original paintings with empowered women and empowering women at the core of my work. I am also the founder of Aunt Joy Gallery, an online gallery exhibiting exciting contemporary art created by women, giving 10% of every purchase to a pool of women-centred charities.
Q: Can you tell us how you got started in arts and how art has played a role in your life?
Amy Gardner: My ‘art spark’ first appeared when I was 8 when an inspiring teacher shared the magic of the colour wheel with us. The first opportunity I had to start building a career for myself as an artist was at the end of secondary school, but life threw me some different curve balls to navigate. I took a 20-year pause from creating. I did a few laps of the world and then built an exciting career in the charity sector and major event production.
There was a turning point after the birth of my first daughter. I couldn’t see a way to be available for her and continue to work in the all-consuming event industry. After giving birth to my second daughter, I remembered I wanted to be an artist when I grew up. As my girls grew, I slowly dipped back into some short courses, which became longer courses under excellent mentors and tutors.
I absorbed as many new techniques as possible. Art was pouring out of me at this point, and the exhibitions came in, for which I am very grateful. The role that art plays in my life is nearly too big to articulate; it’s very much a part of me. I can’t imagine not expressing myself or my message with art.
Q: Aunt Joy is making it easier for art lovers to buy art made by women, with 10% of every purchase donated to eight women-focused charities. Can you tell us more about the essence of Aunt Joy and what experience art lovers can expect and these charitable causes?
Amy Gardner: I am a firm believer of the importance of joy; it is at the core of Aunt Joy. We know our art has the ability to lift a room, and a person, as we hear it from our collectors. Aunt Joy is also a warm community. We like celebrating each other’s achievements and are driven to pave an easier path for the younger generation of female creatives.
Art lovers can expect a powerful collection of exciting art created by established and emerging artists. We exhibit limited edition prints, original paintings, collage, mixed media, photography and sculpture. All works are created by women, all with unique voices and with one clear intention: to continue working towards a more balanced representation of artists present in the industry today.
Outside of contributing towards changing the current statistics on the representation of women in art, Aunt Joy also permanently gives 10% of every purchase to women-centred charities. The charities were hand selected by the collective, and the change they are working towards is very important to us. Our charities include:
Sistah Space created to bridge the gap in domestic abuse services for African-heritage women and girls.
A Bloody Good Period who give period products to those who can’t afford them and provide menstrual education to those less likely to access it.
Refuge support thousands of women and children on any given day, and runs the National Domestic Abuse Helpline.
Young Women's Trust feminist organisation working to achieve economic justice for young women across the country.