Words, photos and video by Olivia Bauso
It can be easy for the non-artist to feel disconnected from the seemingly "niche" or "elite" art community. In reality, though, every human has the ability, senses and right to experience art in any capacity.
Local artist and Eat Me Ice Cream co-founder Amber Odhner believes that art shouldn’t be separate from our communities as a whole: “I’m always thinking about how to get people to participate in the work. It’s not a separate thing; art is a human right.” Amber’s mission in both art and food is to unlock the door into a sensory, creative world in which our senses are truly informing our experience of life. She explains, “We have these senses, but we’ve really just scratched the surface of how deep they can get. There’s a huge experience waiting to be unlocked-- in food and art. It’s not just for those who can dish [money] out; that experience should be available for everyone.”
Amber got her first set of oil paints as a kid and eventually went on to study painting at Hampshire College, with no expectation for what she would do with her degree. “Painting is just so magic,” she laughs. Ultimately, it became a question of where she wanted to spend her time, and being in the studio just drew her in. Amber elaborates on her favorite part of painting and its connection to ice cream in the video below.
Amber’s most recent work explores color in a new way. She explains, “I was thinking about lightening my palette, trying to keep things transparent and not overworking them.” She goes on to say that it can be easy to overwork a piece in the studio when you have nothing to hold you back and force you to pump the brakes. She adds, “I was also thinking about golems (from Jewish folklore), and the idea that you can build something out of rubbish and give it life. Painting is like that: you’re taking a dead thing and breathing life into it.”
Moving forward, Amber aims to continue bringing art and flavor to her community-- wherever that might be. She says, “I’ll always paint. Once you realize you love doing something and are going to do it for the rest of your life, you just make a way to weave it into your life and the life of your community.” Ultimately, she encourages everyone to support art in any way possible: “There are a lot of really great artists working in Rochester, it just takes a little bit of work to get out there.” She adds, “There’s no barrier to entry, you just have to get out there and use your eyeballs!”
Amber and her partner Catelyn hope to expand Eat Me's reach in Rochester and beyond. Visit their kitchen in the Hungerford Building during their open hours, every Friday 12-6pm and for First Fridays and Second Saturdays. They will also be at Swiftwater Brewing Company on May 22nd for their 3rd annual mash up. More details available on their website.
Amber's paintings are featured in our Gallery Room now through May 28th, 2018.