Getting to know Garth Amundson

Friday, September 11, 2009 - 11:24am


Garth Amundson stands at his opening reception at Universidad Latina De America in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.
Garth Amundson stands at his opening reception at Universidad Latina De America in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.

Name: Garth Amundson

Title: Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Arts-Photography

Hobbies: Collecting (I've been using collecting, collating, indexing and classifying as source material for artwork for the last 10 years).

Favorite Book: “Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the First American Avant-Garde,” by Jonathon Weinberg, Yale Press (I was introduced to this book in a methodologies class in graduate school. It continues to have a huge impact on the direction of my artistic work).

Favorite Movie:

  • Historic: Sergei Eisenstein’s “Battleship Potemkin” (This film informs how I make art and how I teach. Montage editing is critical to still photography).
  • Comedy: Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” (The concept of chocolate fudge being good for you still makes me laugh).
  • Foreign: Carlos Diegues’ “Bye Bye Brasil” (I saw the premier of this film while I was living in Brazil doing a foreign exchange. It established my appetite for travel).

Favorite Restaurants: La Vaudeville, Montreal, Canada; The Condesa D.F., Mexico City, Mexico; Vij’s Rangoli, Vancouver, B.C.; Eva, Seattle; and Nimbus, Bellingham (we like eating).

Favorite Place in Bellingham: HOME (working in the studio, reading and relaxing and gardening with my family).

Favorite Thing to Do in Bellingham: Walking in the neighborhood.

Favorite Quote: “All of our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.” -Marcel Proust

Most Memorable Vacation: Italy 1999 (paid for by the Ohio State Arts Council, romantic, great food, incredible art, and amazing educational adventure).

Greatest Accomplishment: Great relationship of 23 years!

Number of years at WWU: 8 years.

Awards/Honors: I’m very proud of the successful completion of my J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship in Mexico. It was professionally rewarding and did exactly what a sabbatical should do: It allowed me the opportunity to focus on my research and, in turn, bring new ideas and directions back to the university. Residencies are truly the “gift of time,” and I’ve been very lucky to participate in several in a wide variety of artist residencies, including ones in Norway, Spain and New York state.

What do you like most about teaching/working at Western? Working with students and colleagues who help realize the potential of Western.

What is something you have always dreamed about but never had a chance to do? My partner and I went to Paris in 1999. We have always dreamed of going back and completing a project based on Paris and consumer culture. We’ve applied for a couple of grants, and hopefully we will be able to do it this coming summer.

What is the most crucial message you would like to instill in your students? My goal is to teach critical thinking skills and to instill intellectual and creative curiosity.

Currently what are you:

  • Reading: “Let's See: Writings on Art from The New Yorker,” Peter Schjeldahl; “The Future of the Image,” Jacques Ranciere; “Photography Theory,” James Elkin; “Gay Artists in Modern America,” Michael Sherry.
  • Watching (television or film): We’re trying to finish watching “Nip, Tuck” on DVD.
  • Listening to: Podcasts, Dan Savage and Terry Gross’s “Fresh Air.”



Garth Amundson stands at his opening reception at Universidad Latina De America in Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico.