Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver: A Shared Studio Space Near Asheville [Q+Art Interview]

Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver: A Shared Studio Space Near Asheville [Q+Art Interview] cover

Editor’s note: This interview was originally published on ArtsvilleUSA to promote Glass +1, an exclusive studio tour experience inspired by the Biltmore Estate’s Dale Chihuly exhibition in Asheville, North Carolina. Read the original interview with Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver here.

It’s been said that two heads are better than one. In Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver’s shared studio, the old proverb rings especially true. “Between the two of us, we represent an opportunity to view and purchase handmade, one-of-a-kind artworks in multiple mediums,” says Amy, who maintains a separate practice in the studio space she shares with her husband outside their home in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“We discussed coming to live [in Asheville] at several stages of our lives,” says Amy, who met Leonid at the Johnson Atelier Technical Institute of Sculpture, where the two bonded over their shared love of sculpture and its ability to capture the essence of the human form. The couple relocated to nearby Weaverville in 2014 after visiting and falling in love with the city’s natural beauty and thriving arts community. “[Asheville] is teeming with art galleries, studios, and performance spaces, providing ample opportunities for us to showcase our work and connect with fellow creatives,” says Amy. “We were so fortunate to find property nestled in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains […] where we were able to build a studio next to our home. We have had our studio here for more than eight years, and we love it.”

Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver’s eclectic studio is one of many workspaces in Asheville, NC, where visitors can meet their favorite artists and crafters.
Amy Medford (l) and Leonid Siveriver share a studio space in Asheville-adjacent Weaverville; photo: Bill Green.
Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver’s eclectic studio is one of many workspaces in Asheville, NC, where visitors can meet their favorite artists and crafters.
Amy puts the finishing touches on a marble figure sculpture; photo: Bill Green.

While Amy and Leonid share a common space and both work in sculpture, their work moves in opposite directions. Amy’s figure sculptures are soulful and fluid, like water flowing from the mouth of a river. She makes richly colored jewelry and paints moody portraits on wooden panels with runny acrylic. On the other side of the studio, Leonid creates otherworldly, alienesque sculptures that feel primordial and futuristic simultaneously. His finely rendered figure studies in pencil sharply contrast the oxidized brutalism of his fantastic sculptures.

“We love how Asheville embraces a wide range of artistic expressions and traditions,” says Amy. “[The city’s] unique blend of creativity, culture, and natural beauty makes it an extraordinary place for us as artists to live and work, inspiring us to explore new ideas, collaborate with others, and contribute to the rich tapestry of the city’s artistic community […] Asheville’s unique qualities hold a special place in our hearts.”

Want to see Amy and Leonid’s studio in person? Art Connections offers customized tours to groups or individuals who want to experience the thriving arts scene in and around Asheville. This year, ArtsvilleUSA and Art Connections present Glass +1, an exclusive studio tour experience inspired by the Biltmore Estate’s Dale Chihuly exhibition in Asheville. Schedule a tour by contacting Art Connections here.

In Today's Q+Art Interview…

Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver discuss the transformative power of AI, the relative affordability of art schools in Europe, and the emotional resonance of Giacomo Manzù’s figure sculptures.

‘Ashtoreth’ by Amy Medford
‘Perpetuity’ by Amy Medford

If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be?

Amy Medford: Giacomo Manzù

Leonid Siveriver: Michelangelo

Is art school worth the money?

AM: I was born in the U.S. with an AB from Cornell. The option to go to art school after undergrad was not affordable, but I did receive great training at The Johnson Atelier, a technical institute for bronze casting, where I met my husband.

LS: I went to art school in Ukraine and Israel, where they are very inexpensive, and I got a great education. If you can afford art school, absolutely.

Amy Medford studio shots at Artetude Gallery, Sept 2013
Amy exhibits her sculptural work at Asheville’s Artetude Gallery; photo: Russell Medford.
‘Daniel’ by Amy Medford

What do you wish you learned in art school but weren’t taught?

LS: Learning the practicality of dealing with galleries and self-promotion.

What does success mean to you as an artist?

Both: Being able to create our work.

‘Love Mugs’ by Leonid Siveriver; photo: Russell Medford
Round pitcher, mugs, expresso cups by Leonid Siveriver; photo: Russell Medford

What does the future hold for tech and AI in artwork?

AM: Overall, I think the future of tech and AI in artwork is likely to be dynamic and transformative, opening up new possibilities for both artists and audiences alike.

AI in sculpture is likely to be characterized by innovation and experimentation as artists and technologists continue to explore the creative possibilities at the intersection of art and artificial intelligence.

AI algorithms already assist artists in the digital design and fabrication of sculptures. For example, AI software could help optimize complex designs for 3D printing or CNC machining, allowing artists to create complex sculptural ideas with unprecedented precision and detail.

What is your motto?

Both: You don’t wait for inspiration; you work until the inspiration comes.

Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver’s eclectic studio is one of many workspaces in Asheville, NC, where visitors can meet their favorite artists and crafters.
‘Raku Horn Vessel’ by Leonid Siveriver
‘Raku Tripod Altar’ by Leonid Siveriver

Cats or dogs?

Both: Cats

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Both: As artists, we find ourselves overusing certain words or phrases in our discussions about art and our artistic processes. Some of these include:

"Exploration": We often describe our artistic practice as a process of exploration. This word captures the sense of curiosity and discovery that drives our creativity.

"Expression": Art is a form of expression for us, so we often talk about how our artwork allows us to express ourselves and communicate our thoughts, emotions, and perspectives to others.

"Texture": As artists who work with tactile mediums in sculpture, we frequently talk about texture and how it adds depth, interest, and sensory richness to our artwork.

"Intuition": We rely heavily on intuition in our artistic process, so we often talk about trusting our instincts and letting our intuition guide us as we make creative decisions.

Being aware of these tendencies helps us to reflect on our language use and ensure that we’re effectively communicating our ideas and experiences as an artist without relying too heavily on clichés or repetitive phrases.

‘Spirit #17’ by Leonid Siveriver

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

AM: As a sculptor, Giacomo Manzù has left an indelible mark on my artistic journey. His ability to infuse emotion and humanity into his works resonates deeply with me. I find solace in the way he effortlessly captures the essence of the human form, breathing life into cold stone or rigid metal.

In many ways, I see myself reflected in Manzù's artistic journey, navigating the highs and lows of creative expression, grappling with the eternal quest for meaning, and seeking to leave behind a legacy that resonates with others. He reminds me that art is not just about creating beautiful objects but about connecting with something deeper within ourselves and the world around us.

Ultimately, Manzù's legacy serves as a guiding light, illuminating my path as I navigate the boundless landscape of sculptural expression. Through his timeless creations, I find not only inspiration but also a profound sense of kinship with a kindred spirit who dared to explore the limitless possibilities of the human form.

Why should we visit your studio?

Both: We offer the chance to meet and engage with us as artists and the chance to view and purchase one-of-a-kind pieces to take home as remembrances of their time in the Asheville area.

We also offer personalized teaching and workshops in ceramics, sculpture, and jewelry.

Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver’s eclectic studio is one of many workspaces in Asheville, NC, where visitors can meet their favorite artists and crafters.
Leonid and Amy in their studio; photo: Russell Medford

Amy Medford: Website | Instagram | Book a studio tour

Leonid Siveriver: Website (ceramics) | Website (sculpture) | Instagram | Book a studio tour

This interview has been edited for length and clarity. All photos published with permission of Amy Medford and Leonid Siveriver; featured photo: Bill Green.

Want to be featured on NOT REAL ART? Email editor@notrealart.com with a short introduction and a link to your online portfolio or three images of your work.


Tags

artist interview, artist studio, ArtsvilleUSA, Asheville art, Asheville artist, ceramics, contemporary sculpture, marble, Raku, sculpture, stoneware, studio tour


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