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Robert Amos

Robert Amos interview with Leah Taylor, Research Assistant for the Williams Oral Art History Project on Thursday, November 25, 2010 at Robert Amos’ studio in Victoria.

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“But I did come to the West Coast, I was attracted here with my friendship of members of the Western Front Society, Eric Metcalf, Michael Morris, Glen Lewis and so on.  Also, friends of mine from Ontario were moving to the coast at that time.  I spent a little more than a year in Vancouver working at that fun and frolic of being an artist on the West Coast on the backside of the hippie movement.  But again, I hadn’t I wasn’t really getting on with what it was I felt I should do.  I came to Victoria because the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria had apparently a collection of Japanese prints. I’d seen a catalogue of them and when I came to Victoria that first afternoon in 1974–75 the Japanese art wasn’t on show at the gallery. But in short form I discovered that I thought Victoria was the most beautiful place I’d ever seen.  I knew the collection was in the gallery somewhere and I really needed a job.  So I started in and began lobbying the gallery to hire me.  And in 1975 I was hired for the afternoon to sort out a collection of old magazines which Maxwell Bates had given to the gallery.  When I arrived to do the afternoons work the director took me aside and said actually he’d applied for a grant to hire me and he did receive the grant and he hired me as his assistant which was a terrific job, on the chain of events at the gallery there was the director, there were including him, 5 curators and then all the support staff under that, but on that organizational chart there was a little spur off the director and my name was written in that, I was his assistant.”  -Robert Amos

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“To help make a living in those very desperate economic times, because you know, here we are in 2010 and people are saying, ‘oh that economic depression in 2008 was so bad that was the worst we’ve had since well 1982 was the previous one’.  It was really desperate times.  So to help make a living I began writing freelance art reviews for Monday Magazine and for various other places that would have them, and in 1986 I was hired by the Times Colonist right out of the blue to write a weekly column on art for the TC.  You know I had no expectations of that line of work and honestly it doesn’t pay that well.  But it provided me with a position within the community which I had come accustom to from working at the art gallery.”  -Robert Amos

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“Because as an artist and as a writer and as a other things I do I’m very much involved in documentation.  I have a sense of the history of things.”  -Robert Amos

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“I’m going to make that my job.  I’m going to take the responsibility.  So for many years I’ve done the whole of Victoria, and over the more recent years I’ve been working on commissioned paintings of Victoria, one address at a time.  You’d be surprised at how many pictures of Victoria I have painted.”  -Robert Amos

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