Amy Turner Turns Heads

Spiegelworld speaks to Superfrico Atlantic City artist Amy Turner about her piece “Playboy Portraits”.

How would you describe your personal art style?

That’s a good question. Honestly, I’ve sort of titled it recently, and you can bleep this out, “s*** nobody asked for.” It really falls under the umbrella of anything being fair game to me. It’s really about what I respond to, and sometimes I don’t know where or how things are going to end up. But if something moves me, I have to get it. A lot of the things I get are from estate sales, thrift stores, truck trash, or the Playboys given to me by my wife’s father. So there are no limits.

How did you get started in this medium?

I think I started going to estate sales about ten years ago. I was very intrigued by the stuff that people once had, obviously that’s what’s in an estate sale, but also intrigued about why we keep things like that. Over time, I would always see Playboys, but they didn’t connect with me. But then, my father-in-law had a subscription of 300 Playboys, which was wild to me since I didn’t grow up with my dad having a subscription to Playboys. They were just in the basement, not hidden, and my mother-in-law was like, “I need them out.” So I said, “I’ll take them!”

This was also the beginning of the pandemic, and I think that sort of mania and chaos outside created a very meticulous process of going through these Playboys and seeing what I could do with them. I was obsessed. Let’s just put it that way, because I’d seen a Playboy but hadn’t really examined 300 of them. All of them at once is quite an interesting experience. There’s a lot of jokes you can make, but it’s fascinating to see how they changed over time. I was very intrigued by how these centerfolds changed over time. That’s why I wanted to give new life to these centerfolds that all seemed the same. I wanted them to look like fully revitalized bodies.

Where do you find the most inspiration when creating a new art piece?

Honestly, I let the items come to me. I go places to find things, but I don’t limit myself to what I’m looking for, which I think works for me. I gather items even if I don’t have a plan in mind, and it gives me the freedom to live with them for a while and see what comes of them.

Do you have a favorite art piece that you’ve created thus far in your career?

I really love the Mona Lisa triptych, which is in the Las Vegas Superfrico. That is exactly “s*** nobody asked for.” I saw 25 of these Mona Lisas at an estate sale in Beverly Hills, and first of all, I thought, “How are they still here?” I couldn’t believe my good fortune. Everyone’s looking for something else, and maybe this isn’t their thing, but I had a visceral feeling that I needed them, so I got them!

Once I bought them, I thought, “What am I going to do with these?” I started taking them apart, and that’s how I came to love the reconstruction of it. I didn’t have it in mind when I went to the estate sale, and that’s what’s exciting about it.

What’s the story behind doing this piece with the Playboy magazines?

Yeah, there’s a sort of funny full-circle moment with them. They started in a basement in South New Jersey at my in-laws’ house, and then through the pandemic, I ripped them apart and became a maniac. They flew with me back to Los Angeles, where they were put together. Then they ended up back in New Jersey, which I find hilarious and unbelievable. I love that they live there now. They came from there, and now they live there.

How long have you been making art professionally?

I would say I’ve been making art forever, but professionally, I’ve been making art for the last 15 years.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? 

The main thing I would say is that I’m not trained. I never went to art school, which contributes to my freedom element, where anything is fair game. Try creating what moves you, even if it’s stuff that nobody asked for. If you believe in it, there’s a reason why you’re making it. Believing in your creations is really important.

As she continues to collage new women from old, her collection of PlayBoys also grows, amassing now over 1,800 issues.Previous