Step Into The Peculiar World of Amy Krencius through her Dark Surrealist Imagery


Dark surrealist imagery that will transport you into another more peculiar realm of existence.

Amy Krencius is a visual artist in Portland, Oregon. She creates dark, surreal imagery as a creative outlet for her wild imagination, to reflect her perspective on her own existence, and help others to feel less alone.

Photography intrigued her the most out of other art forms because she loved being able to take elements of reality and manipulate them into fantasy worlds. She has always seen the world through a lens of imagination, and she loves being able to cultivate her own existence through creation.

“There is beauty in darkness – our light shines brightest against the shadows,” said Krencius when asked how to describe her work.

She is drawn to the darker side of human nature. She believes there is a beauty to be found in our sufferings - that strength is born from our darkest moments. Her work is an attempt to reflect her perspective on her own existence and the darkness we all carry in our hearts – to discover herself and make peace with her demons.

Her newest series, “The Silence of the Graveyard,” that contains four dreary but illuminated photographs will leave echoes of wonder in your mind as you view her dark and surreal imagery. She discusses the conceptual purpose behind the series.

“The grave silences us all, so speak your truth to the world,” said Krencius. “Leave your echoes behind. We must follow our hearts, and answer the calling of our souls. Don't wait for a moment that may never come. Don't leave your song unsung. It will haunt you to your grave – and perhaps beyond.”

Her workflow is nothing from ordinary, graveyard visits, dreary self-portraits shot in front of a black tarp in the backyard, sneaky portraits for the local neighbor raven, and blood orange captures of the moon. She creates every aspect of the image in undeniable concentration and purpose. She even goes as far to make original costumes for her work, making a black cloak that appears in the image, “Silence of the Graveyard: The Watcher.”

She only works square, so first, her first step is to crop the image. Next, she would finalize the composition by adding any other elements she needs. She likes to work more like a painter, collecting items from reality rather than creating them from scratch. When she is content with her composition, she will then start adding directional light and shadows to make the composite realistic. Then she would begin to focus on the details like colorwork, matte effects, and overlay textures for a painterly aesthetic. Depending on the image, Krencius sometimes adds light “beauty” work – such as expanding hair, porcelain skin, spot healing, etc.

When it comes to technical aspects of her work in post-production Krencius does not worry about how things are “supposed” to be done or the traditional way of creating an image. She will first decide what visual imagery, emotion,  or narrative she wants to develop and then research or experiment with the composites until she gets the effect she is looking for.

She calls herself more of a conceptual artist, but there is one aspect of the technical side that drives her to create.

“The only thing that really excites me about technical things is that they are supporting my ability to bring my ideas to life, so that is important too,” said Krencius.   

When asked to describe the one photograph her in series she chose the image titled “The Silence of the Graveyard: In Chains” she discusses how she feels like we are chained to the presence of death.

“The reality of it hangs over our heads, reminding us that our time is limited,” said Krencius. “I think about it every day (I know that sounds morbid, but it really isn't to me!) to remind myself of what is most important in life – to love & play & work harder for my dreams, as we never know when our time will come.”

She has just started to make her photography her full-time career leaving all her fears of failure at the door. Her most significant barrier and success while starting her photography journey are doing everything alone.

“Taking self-portraits can be quite challenging, as you are the model, set designer, and photographer,” said Krencius. “It can be challenging but is so satisfying for me, especially as someone that loves to be in charge of all of the details. I also love being alone, and creating this way feeds my soul.”

There are endless limitations with wardrobe, location, set design, makeup, hair, props, models, camera equipment if the possibilities were endless what would Krencius be able to accomplish.

“I have a great series planned I would really love to shoot in a castle, where I could dress each room as a different set, design elaborate costumes, and maybe even hire a makeup artist for special effects,” said Krencius. “I will make it happen one way or another, but budget may require me to composite myself into a miniature castle instead. I really do believe that creativity and resourcefulness are the most important assets an artist can have, and there is always a way if you want something enough.”

As she is growing as an artist, she wanted to give some advice for aspiring artist that also want to make a career out of photography.

Believe in yourself stubbornly! Ignore all doubts and know that you can have any life you desire if you want it enough and are willing to put in the work,” said Krencius.

“Follow people that inspire you. Get rid of negativity in your life. Follow your heart with all that you have. Know that you can only fail if you quit, as all “failures” can be learned from and serve you on your path. It's impossible not to get from point a to b as long as you take the steps!”

Since she is committing to becoming a full-time artist she submerging herself in different areas of study like learning about entrepreneurship, which has helped her grow as an artist. She has gained the mindset she needs to live a fulfilled & inspired life and feels really proud of that, as she has struggled with anxiety and self-doubt for most of her life.

Right now I'm focusing on creating as much as possible and expanding my skill set,” said Krencius. “I'm just about to start on a new series I'm hoping to complete in the next couple of months as well. On the business side, I am focusing on launching my online shop, getting my work and my message out there, and just creating as much content as possible to give back to other artists.”  

Follow Amy on her artist journey:


Instagram: amykrencius

Coverage by Alexis Karr

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