Ten Things I Had To Ask Amy!
While perusing the digital catacombs of the internet for interesting bits of ukulele arcanum, I was confronted by an image that drew me in like a fly to it’s “web”.
The image was that of an incredible hand-painted ukulele with a monkey and a little clown hanging from the sound hole. Once I was in the website of artist Amy Crehore, I was met by many more of these fantastic painted ukes and banjoleles, in addition to wonderful paintings, prints and graphics that prominently featured ukuleles.
Something was definitely going on that I had no knowledge of. I needed to know more.
So, after an hour or so salivating over these gorgeous images of scantily clad island beauties and odd, sailor-cap wearing monkeys, I decided to contact Amy and see if I could get a few answers…
She obliged me, and what follows is our exclusive conversation, and a peek at some of her amazing work. Enjoy!
In addition to your fantastic paintings on canvas of lovely ladies, mischievous monkeys and their ever-present ukuleles, you also paint those inhabitants on actual ukuleles! Tell us a little about how you got that idea?
My husband, Lou Reimuller, is a part-time luthier. He built the first uke for me to paint. Tickler Uke #1. Being musicians and antique instrument collectors, we had been thinking about it for a very long time. The idea was spurred on a few years ago by Rick Turner who had wanted me to paint some of his. I had already done a series of paintings of monkeys and girls for various L.A. and Seattle art shows (example: The Blab! shows). I used the motif from one of my paintings for my first painted uke.
Where do you find the ukes?
That’s my little secret.
Are they vintage, toy or custom-made?
After you paint them, are they still playable?
They are all playable and sound great, and in the case of vintage, they have either been lovingly restored to playability or happen to be in mint condition. I would not have it any other way. However, one may not want to play them very often, but rather treat them as fine art collectibles and one-of-a-kind examples of my art. After all, the best specimens in the finest instrument collections are ones that have not been destroyed by playing. Some are quite rare.
I heard you are also in a band – are ukuleles part of your music, as well?
Yes. The ukulele fits well into the type of music I play with my husband – authentic jugband, early jazz and blues of the 20s and 30s. We prefer the sound of the black musicians of that period.
Where is the most interesting place we might see one of your painted ukes hanging?
In a contemporary art collection.
Does the monkey with the hat have a name?
You just gave me the idea for a contest for my blog. (Little Hokum Rag)
Tickler Ukulele’s – a great T-shirt design, but is it a real company?
Where can our readers acquire some Amy Crehore art and merchandise?
There are prints and t-shirts at www.amycrehore.com
Last question: Banjolele or Ukulele?
Whether it be in the form of a banjo or a little guitar or a pineapple-shape, each one has it’s own voice, lending itself to different types of songs. I love the sounds of both as well as the design details.