Neuerotica Magazine Interview

cult pirate girl

Having been raised dirt-poor in the south, my paternal grandmother was determined to escape to New York for the bright lights in the big city during the 1930s. Soon enough, she would have a collection of fur coats, exquisite jewelry, and stunning footwear. Of all of our family members, she was the only one who knew and held an appreciation for luxury and lived it as she traveled the world. My father didn’t care much for it, but I was smitten. However, I wouldn’t fully embrace my grandmother’s legacy until eight years ago when I found myself gravitating toward those who lived that life. My transformation had begun, which eventually resulted in the magazine you are now reading, a vehicle that has allowed me to interview some of the world’s finest artists and fashion designers. This brings me to my current subject who knows luxury and creates inimitable works of art founded on its principle.

The first time that I laid eyes upon the magnificent works of New Zealand native Amanda Johnstone I was floored. There is the kind of art one can appreciate from a cool distance and art that pulls you into its depths. Her art is clearly the latter. I am fortunate to have lived through an era (during the seventies and eighties) when fashion and art merged giving birth to a new kind of opulence hitherto seen. It was the age of Warhol and Halston. It was chic and it was fabulous. Amanda does not produce throwback art (nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake) but captures the timelessness of the essence of that time, with just a slight nod to the past. Amanda Johnstone creates luxury as art.


You have embraced a number of varying elements and have incorporated them all into your art, i.e. fashion, art, interior design, and so forth. Did your journey begin in this manner, is this what you set out to do in the beginning?

I have co-owned a luxury Italian furniture showroom since I was 22 so I am strongly influenced by interiors. Alongside our furniture we sell some of Australia's most renowned artists so I have been lucky enough to be around and learn from a few great artists. I drew inspiration from other artists such as Andy Warhol (I love pop art), and Urs Fischer who I studied at University. I love the obstructions and collage-like artworks, and that editorial feel of Patrick De Marchelier whose photography is art in itself.

My style just kind of happened naturally and from there my prints were born.

Your bio states that you have “a degree in Fashion Design and a Diploma in makeup artistry”. You obviously excel at both and I’m curious to know why was it important for you to get a certification in either. How important were they to your development as an artist?

My background in Fashion and Makeup plays a huge role in my work, down to simple things like color theory, little did I know at the time that some 10 years later all that was learned and practiced then would come to play in my artwork today. All those magazines I used to spend every cent on have come back in to use in my current work, designers I studied and models I favored all show up in my current pieces.

I’m familiar with the term “male-gaze photography”, but I’m ashamed to say that I am completely unfamiliar with “feminist nudes”, a term that I found on your site. Is the latter the opposite of the former, or something else entirely?

The female gaze itself, by definition, serves as a feminist alteration of the male gaze.

The philosophy of this magazine is based upon a quote attributed to Coco Chanel where she has said “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” Your artwork is magnificently luxurious, so is it safe to say that you agree with the quote?

I’m not sure. I think that money gives you the opportunity to live luxuriously. However, I have also seen luxury displayed in a vulgar way, so sophistication is the only way that you can display luxury tastefully.

From what I’ve read about you and based on your artwork thus far, I would assume that you have a philosophy (or two) of your own that you adhere to. Yes?

Don’t stop when you're tired, stop when you're done! Most importantly, do what you love and you will never work a day in your life! When you put out good energy things come to you, doors open and connections are made.

Why the focus on femininity and how do you define it?

I define femininity as being sensitive, nurturing, and emotive, by celebrating the female form and its beauty.

The faces of your subjects are either obscured or partially obscured. I’m certain that it is symbolic of something, but what that something is, I am unable to deduce.

My images are not about the eyes of the model drawing you in, it is about the entire piece of art. I want you to be drawn in by the composition, the placement, the colors. Maybe it’s the allure of not knowing who the model is that’s a bit of mystery for me.

I am also at a loss in my attempt to divine the process by which you create each image. Would you mind sharing that process with us?

It all starts with an image, I am constantly photographing everyday life, flowers sunsets, things on my morning walk, seashells, pieces of paper, paints splashes, etc. Then they are filed into albums, backdrops, models, flowers, paints, etc. until I’m ready to use them. A lot of work goes into photo-shopping the individual pieces and then I start with a base image and start the layering process pulling things in and out, making some layers opaque in areas, etc. 60% happens on the computer, and 40% of me doing collage and painting and playing with things like glitter and gold leaf. Sometimes a piece of art can just come together so quickly while other pieces sit in an incomplete folder. I keep going back and forth playing with it, and some simply get scrapped.

You’re based out of Melbourne, a city you describe as being “based in such a culturally rich and diverse city” which apparently is what drives your work. Share with us, if you will, some of what the experience is like living in such a rich environment.

We are extremely lucky to live in such a culturally rich city, from the food to the fashion. The NGV (Nation Gallery of Victoria) is a favorite place to visit, where I have seen KAWS, Dior, Chanel, had a meet and greet with Jean-Paul Gaultier the exhibitions are never-ending. And if you haven't seen Melbourne at night time you're really missing out.


Currently, your work is displayed at Home Italia, a high-end luxury Italian furniture showroom, also located in Melbourne. Has your art been displayed anywhere else, or are there plans to?

I am currently represented by LYONS Gallery Port Douglas which has six galleries in Australia and affiliates overseas. I am also working on a few exciting collaborations and my first release of ten NFTs.

Follow this link for more of Amanda’s artwork and purchase fine art prints. Follow her on Instagram and Facebook.