Po-art-ry. That is the new word I made up to describe Amy Turn Sharp's visual work with words.
(Of course, after making it up, I looked it up, and it's already being used all over the place. Ah, well.)
A writer by trade (with Resource/Ammirati), Sharp has long been a poet. She would often use creative lettering but it wasn't until a year ago that she began exploring a more-involved visual approach.
"I started collecting old books and writing (poetry) on them. I would post them to Instagram and I started getting people asking if they could buy them," Sharp said.
Making words presented with hand lettering, letterpress techniques and illustration on collected material has been a learn-as-you-go process for Sharp, who said she never considered herself a "fine artist."
"Drawing letters and making cool, handwritten notes, writing notes on bar napkins is something I've been doing for a long time," Sharp said, adding that her friends call her Amy Turn Sharpie for the sheer volume of the markers she uses up. "But the rest has just come from playing with words.
"It's therapeutic for me. I get up before my family, drink a lot of coffee and just can't stop writing words down. I just try then to be creative."
Sharp has found that her work can be therapeutic for others as well.
"It's a vehicle to get people to read poetry, to make people feel something, even if it's just stopping for 10 seconds to let something wash over them," she said.
Throughout the opening reception for her Wild Goose exhibition Basically It's Like This (which continues through Jan. 19), Sharp will also sit at a desk with an old electronic typewriter and create short poems on demand, whether for the patrons themselves, a family member, friend or lover, after finding out a few details about the intended subject.
"People can tell me about themselves or the person they want the poem for, go away and look at some art for a while and come back and I'll give them a poem," Sharp said. "It's one of my favorite things to do. People will open up in that short window of intimacy."
I can't do the hand-lettering in that short of time, but using the old typewriter is pretty cool."
Wild Goose Creative
7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9
2491 Summit St., Campus