Atlanta born, Portland-based artist and writer Amy Bernstein received her B.F.A from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her art has since been showcased on both a local and global level: from the Car Hole Gallery in Portland, Oregon to the Galleri Thomassen in Gothenburg, Sweden. Amy’s writing has been a recipient for the Short Form Arts Writer’s Grant from Creative Capital and the Warhol Foundation.

She is inspired by the work of other artists, poetry and fashion. When she’s not in her studio, she loves to bust a move on the dance floor!

We caught up with Amy to ask her to share with us her seven favorite things at the moment. This is what she said:

1 | My Hasselblad There is nothing in the world like looking through the lens of this little machine. The image on the screen is the backwards version of a perfect universe, a three-dimensional remake of the world around us but flawless and glowing. With only twelve frames a roll, photos become a zen master’s test of restraint as everything is so beautiful, and so worthy of having its photo taken.

2 | Prussian Blue — Be still my heart. This pigment is so deep and true. Within this pigment is all the depth of night and possibility of light. I could fall into it when I mix it on my palette. Hypnotic.

3 | Wood-fired saunas — I had the amazing experience of an artist residency in Finland recently, and going to the sauna became a regular part of life. Finns use the abundant Birch that grows in the forest to heat their saunas, and the branches are an effective circulation enhancer when you slap the skin lightly with them in the heat. With five million Finns and three million saunas in Finland, the scent of burning Birch is often present on a walk pretty much anywhere. Saunas are where conversations about life happen as well as where the best business deals are made. Between sweats, the best thing to do is take a dip in an icy lake. You will never feel more alive. I am currently drawing up the blueprints for my own sauna in Portland — that’s how much I loved it being a part of my week.

4 | The Gift Lewis Hyde’s poetic treatise on the inherent problem arising out of the relationship of art and commerce. I think about this book endlessly and recommend it always. I love that Hyde makes such a profound argument for things that multiply exponentially in the act of doing them, like art and humor, creativity and love.

5 | Frank Ocean’s new album, Blonde This album has been on loop for me ever since it dropped. It breaks my heart in the simple, yet brilliant, ways it talks about love and being in America.

6 | Kerry James Marshall’s Retrospective I traveled to New York for two nights to see his exhibition. His paintings run the gamut of black experience in America. His images are regal depictions of intimacy and oppression and grace. Go see this exhibition if you have the chance!  

7 | Coconut Oil — I have recently discovered the endlessly lovely properties of this stuff. It is both a healer and a moisturizer and I even put it in my coffee! It is a cure-all!

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