With illustrations ranging from psychedelic deserts to the trippy depths of the sea there’s no place off-limits for the imagination of artist Amberly Downs! Born, raised and currently based in Western NC, Downs is someone who’s no stranger to the Pulsar family and has made a name for herself in the area through her mesmerizing art across multiple mediums ranging from children’s books to tattoos! You can also find some of her exclusive illustrations on an array of Pulsar products such as our vaporizers, tapestries, DabPadz and more! As a company based in such a vibrant and constantly evolving area, Pulsar is committed to supporting the art community and giving them a chance to showcase their creativity and individuality; so we sat down with Amberly for a bit to pick her brain and take a peek inside her creative process, inspirations and upbringing!
When did you begin your career in illustration?
I started my interest drawing animals using encyclopedia images at age 4. I began gaining recognition winning awards for my work through high school. My first published project was a book I illustrated for the Cherokee Preservation Foundation Called “The Elder Turtle”. My illustration work in this project was recognized and honored by the Chief for my work helping to create a beautiful visual book for children and helping to preserve the language for future generations.
Can you briefly outline your creative process from concept to a completed piece?
I start my process visually in my mind. I go into a type of artistic visual meditation thinking about what I want the entire piece to look like with shape, flow and color. Then I sketch a concept from what I mentally visualize. I try to create artwork that captivates the viewer and leads them on a sort of visual adventure through the layout, shape and color in my work. Like in my Psychedelic Jungle your eye is drawn to the sharp contrast of the Panther and Sun and then you are visually led to the Bat and down to the tree and turtle using shapes and color values to travel you through the entire piece.
What are your favorite subjects and why do they resonate with you?
I love to work with animals and people. I love working with these subjects because you can really show emotion in the eyes and face. Currently I am illustrating a book about shelter dogs finding a purpose and the emotions of these characters is a big part. I love artwork that has the power to bring the emotions or feel of the artwork forward to the viewer.
How did you determine what elements, organic or otherwise, to incorporate into the “Psychedelic Ocean” design?
The oceans are full of amazing other worldly creatures. I looked for animals with amazing visual aspects like shape, vivid colors or bioluminescence. Then I began the creative process working out a piece bringing together the upper oceans and deep oceans with harmony and color that pulls you in.
A lot of your designs seem to share an underlying quality with tattoo art. What’s your connection to the tattoo community?
My style reflects tattoo art largely since I work as a tattooist as well as an illustrator. My style of drawing went through an overhaul when I entered the tattoo community during my apprenticeship in 2011. This is where I picked up my love for flow and pulling the eye in to travel through a beautifully designed piece on the body. I love the use of lines and strong contrasting colors to captivate and pull you into every little detail.
What is it about the Western North Carolina area that inspires you?
I was born in the area with a long lineage going back 8 generations. I absolutely love it here in this inspiring place surrounded by the peace and tranquility of the mountains and forest. I can drive 15 min almost any direction from my home to a waterfall or lake and spend the day. As an artist I couldn't imagine living anywhere else.
Where can fans find out more about your work? You can follow me on Facebook at Atomic Annies Tattoo or on Instagram at Atomic_Annies.