Amani Heywood is far from your average fine artist - or person, for that matter. He exudes a calm confidence in himself and the world around him, as he continues to inspire others with his innovative and expressive artwork. I met Amani in the summer of 2022 at LAAMS on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of New York City. The people behind the creative hub, Scott Selvin, Stevie Skytel, and Joe Ro, have become what Amani considers to be family - and the same goes for LAAMS' staff and its regulars.
Meet Amani Heywood, the Radiant Bronx-Born Abstract Expressionist
Amani usually uses canvases and clothing as the medium for his art, though being the open-minded creative he is, he's always exploring new mediums. Amani's unique style is both refreshing and inspiring; you can tell he must be in an autonomous creative frenzy while making his timeless art. The art has chaotic elements at times, yet even at its most chaotic, it can provide a sense of calm - a reminder of who created the pieces to begin with. The better you get to know Amani, the more certain you'll be to fall in love with his art.
In our interview, Amani Heywood made it clear that family is everything to him: that includes his family at LAAMS (of course), and more than anything, his biological family. Amani joyfully shared how he loves to stay in touch with his parents on a daily basis, and couldn't hide his smile explaining how they constantly remind him just how proud they are.
This element of love is a staple in Amani's essence: if you have gone to one of his shows, you likely already know this. At these events, you'll find him walking around dapping people up, hugging them, and genuinely demonstrating his appreciation for them coming by. That's the thing: Amani Heywood is always genuine. He means what he says, and he means what he paints. His confidence is not to be confused with arrogance; it's a healthy balance of self-love and a love for other people.
Earlier this month, Amani teamed up with the A$AP Foundation, a charity created in honor of the late A$AP Yams, for their back-to-school field day program at the Murray Bergtraum Softball Field in NYC. The charity is dedicated to addressing the issues of substance abuse and safety, two ever-relevant concerns. At the field day event, guests had the pleasure of watching Amani do what he does best: paint. The A$AP Foundation is hosting an auction-style sale of artwork created by Amani, with 50% of the profits going to the foundation.
At the time when I had met Amani at LAAMS, he was displaying his latest collection, which was largely focused on texture. He used a monochromatic approach to further emphasize the texture, and I found myself in awe at his thorough understanding of art.
In the time since, Amani's continued to push himself to explore other styles, and has succeeded in doing so. One of the coolest parts about his art is the thread that runs through all of his works, no matter how different they are from one another. That thread is Amani's essence, the same essence that warmly greets people at LAAMS and talks to his parents every day.
Not only is Amani's energy very loving, it's also very wise. When asked about the best advice he's ever been given, this is what he had to say:
Some people are in your life for a lesson or a blessin'. It's up to you to determine that fact.
- Amani Heywood
Mike McLaughlin (ONE37pm): What is something that you're excited about at the moment?
Amani Heywood: Right now I'm working on my book, so I'm super excited about that. I have about 80% of the physical work done - now, all I have to do is some photoshopping and order the books! It's a piece on my literal thoughts and ramblings, 30-plus pieces. I'm excited to share that with everybody.
I feel like everybody wants to support me, but not everybody has a 6x4-foot wall, or they don't have the funds to necessarily afford a piece, but they want a piece of me, you know? So by making this book, I can let everyone have a piece of me, and let them see exactly what I'm working on.
MM / 137: I can't wait for it to drop - you already know I'll be getting one.
AH: Oh, you'll definitely be getting one. You'll be getting a book, and I brought something special for you.
* Amani proceeds to unveil a beautiful painting, which he brought as a gift for me *
MM / 137: No f*cking way. Dude, you're kidding me. Thank you so much!
AH: Yep, this is a piece for you. It's signed, and it's stamped here at the bottom.
Everyone, that is Amani Heywood. In almost a decade of interviewing artists, I've never been given a gift, let alone such a valuable piece of art. Amani is exactly the type of person to share random acts of kindness like this. You should get to know him.
If you are new to Amani Heywood, take a deep dive on his Instagram and his website - or if you're in NYC, you can find him at LAAMS at 74 Orchard Street. Stay tuned for the book Amani's been working on!
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