We had the good fortune of connecting with Ama Romp and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ama, how do you think about risk?
I believe risk is what takes you from your comfort zone daily routine practices, a place you feel safe because you know everything + everyone like the back of your hand and yet you yearn for more. As a creative, I tend to get bored very easily especially if I am working a common desk job or a 9-5. I realized at one dead end job- the only person guilty of keeping me bored and unhinged would be myself. Thats when I recommend to all creatives to start their risk taking practices, the moment you feel undervalued, and completely bored. Risks have absolutely played a huge role in my career. I was working at. prop house just short of 5 years as a set designer, marketer, blog writer, website maintenance… the list goes on. I was taken major advantage of and slowly my creativity was stripped from me. Working around the clock for a company I cared so much about with no true appreciation or even zero credits for my extreme creative work. I found myself in a deep hole and realized, I dug this hole. I could have left when ever I felt like it but for some reason I stayed with no benefits for me. Once I realized I was in control of this situation I took a major risk. I emailed some of my favorite design studios and set designers in the industry. I sent out 7 emails and within 24 hours I got 3 responses, all valuing my creative direction and expertise. I immediately started working on big productions in the fashion industry working with photographer legends, our countries most popular models + highly respected actors. I would have never gotten that opportunity if I didn’t take a risk and contact my most admired creatives! Since I’m a freelancer, I also practice many other skillsets. Ive been illustrating since I can remember on a daily basis. The only people that knew I did this were my roommates and family. I was so shy and self concious about my ”doodles” I would hesitate to show people when curious. One day I took a deep breath, held it in which felt like an hour without breathing and set up an art instagram page. I started posting my artwork feeling completely humiliated during this process while throwing up popular hashtags. People started liking my art work and eventually started hiring me to draw stuff for their websites, marketing materials, personal decor… etc. I still am so completely taken back each time I land a gig in illustration, and if I didn’t take a risk by putting my work out there, it all would have been stuffed in a cabinet filled with full notebooks collecting dust!!! I encourage all artists to take risks as it can only help you get better at your craft and be seen by someone waiting for your style to hit the wave!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As an artist, I mainly focus on illustration and set design. With set design, it is quite a layered creative gig. I am forever learning how to make new things through YouTube and how to use new machinery and tools. Currently I’m taking on learning paper mâché sculpture which is particularly a great skill to have for set designers as you can fabricate your own props and sculptures. This skill I am most excited to nail down so I can create lots of props from scratch! With illustration, I am learning how to draw straight through Adobe Illustrator, where I usually use ink + paper and then scan to digitally color. I’m also learning repeat pattern as designing wall paper + textile prints has always been something I wanted to learn how to do with my skill sets. My style is slightly eccentric, with a feminine twist. My taste is for the unusual and the spectaculars. My perspective is anything fantastical and dream worthy. I try to sprinkle this into each project I release. I believe nothing is easy until you do your work and research. Once you start producing content, it becomes easier and easier to sculpt ideas, conceptualize, and conquer. Time and patience is key to being a creative, so understanding that nothing happens from no where. Ive learned that you have to knock on doors and stay productive in order to be seen and realized. Miracles do happen, but a lot of effort needs to be put into practice before anything can formulate. Every day there is a problem that needs solving and as long as you dont run out of resources or solutions, you are ready and able to take anything on! Being brave, taking risks, and putting yourself out there can only bring positive results. This is how I got to where I am in my journey, but I still have many miles ahead of me and dozens of hurdles to leap over! Ive learned to always stay positive, which I truly believe can only bring positivity!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well… I just moved across the country from NYC to Los Angeles. A city I always felt very stimulated by, is it the sun? is it the food? is it the colorful painted towns, is it the unique retro signs, the old hollywood glam appeal? Its literally all of these things and more! All below or of course post covid-19 fantasies. So since I am a new resident here, I am still very excited about this city and all the amazing surrounding places. I would absolutely take my friend for a nice day drive to Beverly Hills + Bel Air to gawk at the beautiful mansions while imagining all of us buying one together and living in separate wings followed by a night drive down Hollywood boulevard for kicks. A dinner at Sur to feed our love for Lisa Vanderpump… and also.. I must try these damn goat cheese balls, wtf!!! yum. Joshua Tree is not too far, and is the most unique place I have seen with such bizarre yet really bright energy. I would rent us an airbnb or an airstream for a weekend and hit up all the neat places JT has to offer- the national park hikes, the Noah Purifoy Junk Installation, Art Queen, thrifts… and a trip to Joshua Tree wouldn’t be complete with out a stop at Pappy And Harriets for a beautiful big meal of BBQ. I would take one day to go to the Salton Sea and visit slab city because if you thought Joshua Tree was out of this world bonkers, then Slab City will be a knock your socks off visual experience. Salvation Mountain, Bombay Beach, More junk yard installations, and even secret artist installations within abandoned buildings… you have to be a seeker and explorer to really know where to go for these and not be spooked too easily. And luckily my best friend is an explorer as much as I am or even… More! Heading to the famous road side attraction in Palm Springs of the Cabazon Dinosaurs to fulfill our childhood love for Peewees Big Adventure moments. I have a huge soft spot for roadside attractions which would of course be followed by a fancy Real Housewives worthy dinner in a steakhouse in Palm Springs to finish that day off. Next I would head us in the opposite direction booking a marvelous night at the Madonna Inn. Ive been so inspired the interiors of this beautifully creative hotel for years. I picture me and my best gal pal sitting at the bar with martinis floored by the beautiful decor while also being immensely inspired. After our stay and photo op is complete at the Madonna Inn I would make two more stops driving further north into California. Stop Number one: Ghost town!!! I love a good ghost town, they are so interesting with such a brilliant history. One of which would be Bodie, an old Gold Mining town that hit it big time! They created their own community from their millions in earnings with a few hundred buildings consisting of bars, gas stations, gyms, churches, and of course residences. After filling this place literally out of nowhere off the beat and path with the most luxurious furnishings, they then abandoned it to…. well, look for more gold, leaving behind basically everything they own and accumilated! Ive only visited once and had a small amount of time only seeing about 1/5th of the property so I would love to go back to explore more of the buildings within this town with my bestie. Lastly we would go camping in the redwood + sequoia forest. Fire roasted veggies, charcoaled steak and sausages made fresh from our fire pit, silly boxes of wines, unlimited amount of pre-rolls. Exploring the forest, chilling on the camp site, making friends with fellow campers, exchanging experiences… all to go home and create from our inspirations from this city, desert, forest trip! This seems like a week. I truly could continue but I could literally fill a complete month just by listing places I’d love to explore or have had a limited amount of time at with my adventurous friend! The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am completely an introvert when it comes to designing + illustrating, especially during my processes so there hasn’t been much mentorship in my path. But honestly the most supportive people in my creative trek are very close friends + other creatives I’ve met throughout my journey. I am forever grateful to those that trusted me with creative projects for their brand and companies who gave me work throughout the years. I am lucky to have built a little family of very special friends in my life that are all creative in different ways- they each have shown me light and love and I truly wouldn’t have had the confidence to take any risks without them holding me together during my most difficult times. I would also like to thank the circus from the 1800’s and early 1900’s, Vaudeville, Coney Island Side Shows, Silent Films and Follies for my daily sprinkles of inspiration. These creative outlets have helped shaped my personal style and creativity throughout my career.
Instagram: @amaromps.imaginarium + @amaromp
Other: tik tok: ama.romp
All images available are illustrations by me, Ama Romp