Amy Ahlstrom - Urban Art


Amy Ahlstrom is a hypermodern pop artist creating urban-themed art.

Drawing upon her background as a graphic designer and comix illustrator, Amy digitally photographs the visual details of cities - street art, signs, and architectural details - and collages these images via computer. The resulting works, crafted of silk and cotton and stretched onto frames, are tactile visual postcards of urban environments.

Based in the Bay Area, Amy has designed urban-themed pop art from images of San Francisco's Chinatown, North Beach, and Mission districts as well as from her trips to Tokyo, Kyoto, New York City and Chicago. She is currently creating a new series of artworks based upon several Oakland neighborhoods. Amy holds a Master of Fine Arts in Fiber from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fiber from Northern Illinois University.

Artist's Statement

I create pop art inspired by the street art, signage, and graffiti in urban neighborhoods. Like a visual DJ, I sample and remix found images to create new ones. My work incorporates vibrant silk and black cotton to create a stream-of-consciousness vision of an urban place that is both real and imagined.

My process involves exploring city neighborhoods and photographing street art, signs, and architectural details. I assemble a collage via computer, make patterns, and design the pieces, which are then made of silk and cotton and stretched on a frame. My art reflects the experience of city life and serves as an historical record of a neighborhood, in that the places I capture are constantly in a state of flux.

The images I reinterpret float over brightly colored backgrounds, to reference the energy and vitality of urban spaces. My color palette is chosen by the weight and relative value of the colors, as if they were all shades of gray. This creates resonance and vibration in the piece, such as when I use red and magenta together, and allows me to use several bright colors in one piece. I like to juxtapose elements like hand-drawn images of faces with text or written script, and to balance heavier silhouettes with thin line drawings. The final works re-imagine the urban landscape and re-invent quilting as a pop art medium.