August 31, 2009
Meet the correspondents: BERKELEY, California > Gary Amaro
"The Snail Circus taught me a lesson. Afternoon at an open air café under the canopies and among the barber chairs, Christmas lights, and cactus flowers, two young kids charging admission to their “performing” snails while a third flipped through pages of a heavy phone book like she was about to preach a sermon. One of those magic moments and me without paper or pencil.
Now I carry a sketchbook and a handful of pencils and brushes with me wherever I go, which is not to say that I can always make time to draw what catches my eye, but at least I’m prepared. Observational drawing is a constant practice and a kind of meditation.
I’m interested in history and a sense of local color and place, how cities and towns move through time, and the ghosts of their past: the classical, the monumental, the ornate, the rustic, the repurposed, the industrial, the functional, the natural, the ramshackle, the abandoned. Portraits and landscapes alike, I see my sketches as fragments of stories.
I live in the East Bay, working as a concept and storyboard artist in the video game industry and teaching comics storytelling at Academy of Art University. I sketch all over Northern California. Look for posts by me from San Francisco, the Sonoma Coast, the Sacramento River delta, the gold country foothills, and wherever else I roam. Also, expect me to stretch the “urban” factor with views from the rural fringes, the roadsides, and points between the places on the maps.
I'm amazed and impressed by the work on Urban Sketchers, and pleased to be part of this community."
• Gary's blog.