A City’s Canvas: Amy da Luz

By David Willard

“When we want mood experiences, we go to concerts or museums. When we want meaningful emotional experience, we go to the storyteller.” Robert McKee’s quote gives some insight into the power of a good story. It can make you look at the world around you differently, while also make you look inside yourself a little more as well. It is a shared experience between the teller and the listener that can unite heart, and mind, and even soul, with the right story. Amy da Luz believes in the power of a story, and she is using her art as a medium to tell her stories.

To say Amy da Luz is a busy woman is an understatement, but make no mistake, she is busy fully immersing herself in a number of different styles of art in the community. Now, da Luz can add studio artist to her resume as well. Studios at 625 welcomed da Luz as a new studio patron last month so she has a new arena to tell her stories.

“I moved to NC from California 20 years ago. My husband and I have been married for 30 years, and we have three boys. The last one heads out the door to NC State next week! I am a professional actor, Adjunct Professor at UNCG, Artist in Residence at Summit School and the Artistic Director for Paper Lantern Theatre Company. I have a BA in Business Administration from the University of San Diego, and an MFA in Acting from UNCG,” says da Luz.

In describing her work, da Luz is quick to point to her theatrical background as a doorway to her visual art. “My art is a lot like theater. I tell stories with it. I call my work ‘conversation pieces.’ I want the stories they tell to start a dialogue. And seeing that happen, watching people stand in front of my work and talk about what is happening and why – that is a very cool experience. Because while the piece is the same, each story is different, and people are talking to each other about it,” she continues.

In describing her art work, the best definition perhaps can be found on her website, daluzional.com. There on the “About” tab are two definitions: delusional and a synonym, illusion. Delusional is defined as the act or process of deluding; suffering from or characterized by delusions. Illusion is defined as a perception, as of visual stimuli (optical illusion) that represents what is perceived in a way different from the way it is in reality.

While da Luz’s talent speaks for itself, it is her courage and belief in her art that has really gone through the biggest growth. “I like or dislike different pieces at different times, depending on the day. My proudest accomplishment is having the courage to share my art. I kept it in my garage for over a year. And then, one day took a deep breath and shared it with my family. Then a few friends. It was terrifying.   But they were all so kind and supportive, it gave me the courage to start sharing more publicly,” she adds.

Da Luz’s love and need to be creative is an important part of her life, and according to her, is really a part of everyone. “I honestly believe that art will be a big part of the solution to this madness we are seeing in the world today. And my hope is that we figure that out sooner rather than later. Every human being has a deep need to express themselves creatively. When this need is suppressed, ignored, discouraged, or forbidden – by external or internal forces – we become agitated, unhappy and frustrated. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t become a more complete and happy person after having expressed him or herself creatively. The medium and quality is irrelevant. We just need to give each other and ourselves permission to do this. To create. It isn’t frivolous. It is necessary. And thereby, art is peace. Art is love,” concludes da Luz.

Da Luz’s brand of storytelling may not be conventional. It may not even be described as “normal.” However, da Luz certainly seems to be okay with that. As patrons and viewers continue to stop, look, and talk about her work, da Luz’s art and her brand of storytelling will continue to enlighten, cause debate, and in some cases, even touch something inside of those who “listen.” After all, isn’t that what a good story does?