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Art’s Common Humanity


Shea Stanfield
Arts Columnist

John M. Eger wrote in the Huffington Post, “In creating art, consciously or not, artists are attempting to communicate at a powerful emotional level to those within their own culture.  The best work transcends its cultural matrix and speaks directly to our common humanity.” We have the good fortune to have artist Amelia Miholca, Romanian born and Arizona raised, reaching out with her brilliantly rendered paintings to share her world of elegant design and folk art with a contemporary take on our humanity.

Amelia was born in a village in the region of Transylvania, Romania, living there until the age of 9 when her family moved to Arizona. During her early childhood, she was surrounded with folk arts and crafts expressing her country’s rich heritage and colorful past. Both her grandmothers were skilled in the art of embroidery and sewing traditional costumes and decorations. Amelia’s mother was a skilled seamstress, designing contemporary fashions for Amelia to wear to school. In turn, Amelia made use of her own inherited talent for design by constructing clothing for her dolls. Her whole world seemed to be filled with creative people, no doubt the reason young Amelia grew up creating and dreaming in design.

In high school, here in Arizona, she took a number of art classes that won her a scholarship to the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles. However, looking for a more expansive educational experience, she decided to go to Arizona State University where she could also pursue her passion for research and art history. Amelia completed both her B.F.A. and M.A. in Art History with ASU. During her degree studies in painting, she was fortunate to work with such gifted teachers as John Chuck and Ellen Meissinger, both of which guided her skills as she worked to complete her Honors Thesis exhibition with Barrett Honors College.  In August 2016, Amelia is beginning her doctoral studies (PhD) in History Theory and Criticism at ASU.

Amelia strikes a perfect balance between her left-brain research passion and her right brain stunningly brilliant painting career. She works from her home studio and states she is inspired by everything from European Modernism to Art Deco. Often, her research into historical appropriation, identity, spiritualism, and philosophy make their presence known in her work. Recently, her childhood memories of Romania have been dancing back into the scene. They offer inspiration for her latest acrylic paintings in the form of clothing motifs and fragmented female figures present in her canvases.

Amelia’s paintings were enthusiastically received during her showing at Carstens Fine Art, in Scottsdale, during the International ArtWalk in July. In February of this year, Amelia was the curator for, and featured her paintings in, a group exhibition titled Our Neighbor is Underwater for the Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art, on Roosevelt Row in Downtown Phoenix.

Going forward in her career, Amelia plans to work on larger canvases and expanding into other media, integrating paper collage, watercolor, and ink with her acrylics to express the relationship between the figurative and abstract elements that she is currently interested in. For Amelia, being an artist not only requires a love of art making, but also great resilience and hard work.  She is looking forward to her upcoming doctoral studies and pushing the envelope on her personal artistic style. Presently, Amelia is the gallery curator at Carstens Fine Art on Main Street in Scottsdale.

Contact Arts Columnist Shea Stanfield at