Behind closed doors, relationships might not be all sunshine and rainbows. But the honest representation of everyday life in a long-term relationship rather than the faked and filtered portrayal we see a lot of on social media or movies is what people can truly relate to.
It doesn’t mean that living in a relationship is dull or less beautiful; on the contrary, love can be found in the smallest things, we just have to learn to notice them. Los Angeles-based artist Amanda Oleander draws lighthearted illustrations to show what love looks like when no one’s watching in the most mundane way—from pimple popping to crying together to no-shave and no-pants lifestyle.
Inspired by her own romantic relationship with her now husband, whom she has been married to for over a year, and true stories of people around her, she is revealing an intimate and genuine side of relationships that might not always be so glamorous. Ideas that come from raw, personal life experiences is what makes her art so heartwarming.
Oleander’s unique style packed with intricate details and subtle humor is able to convey the sense of authenticity and emotions we experience in our daily routine. The artist herself describes her work as figurative and colorful.
The artist said that she is enthralled by the way people behave when no one sees them. The scenarios she portrays in her genuine illustrations are as real as it gets and they show that love can be simple.
“I create the artwork that I do because it’s a way for me to lock in a moment in time authentically that was never photographed, and even if it were to be photographed, it might alter the reality of it because we know we are being photographed. Viewing my art is like being a fly on the wall.
I’m not creating art to please other people or creating art from experiences I don’t personally understand or have lived through. I am creating from the truest, deepest part of me and my personal experiences.”
“I think it’s important to share the reality of relationships for many reasons,” says Oleander. “My reality in my personal relationship might be very different from another person’s reality or very similar. I think it’s important because some people might feel comfort in the artwork, others might feel like they haven’t experienced this type of love and it’s something to look forward to. Some might feel seen. I think every person will experience the art differently depending on their life experiences, but at the end of the day, it makes people feel something and that is important.”
“He loves it. Every day, when I finish an art piece, he comes into the art studio to take a peep and shows as much enthusiasm for the 600th drawing as he did for the 6th drawing of us. It’s really sweet and motivating for me to see how much happiness it brings him to see our moments immortalized by art.”
Many of her illustrations have a metaphorical deeper meaning with a story behind them. They often reflect on relatable topics such as finding your identity and self-growth as well as global problems everyone has to deal with, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Amanda often engages her audience by inviting them to interpret her drawings before reading her explanation.
“Life is constantly changing, new experiences are always happening. My art goes hand in hand with my personal life experiences so there’s always more to illustrate. I love illustrating and painting, it’s where a lot of my happiness comes from.”
“When I first get an idea, I write it down in my ideas notepad. Sometimes the idea comes to me right before I am falling asleep and I always get up to write it down. I keep a long list of ideas (personal experiences) always handy. When I’m ready to create, I sit at my desk and pick one to illustrate. I start off with pencil, then outline the drawing with pen and then I color it in with markers.”