Neighborhood: Casey Key
NEIGHBOR FOR: Permanent resident for two years; visited for 30 years
Casey Key resident Amy Ernst didn’t consider herself an artist until after her father’s death in 1984. But she says her father recognized her talent when she was a toddler getting into his paints.
Ernst is a fourth-generation artist. Her great-grandfather, Philip Ernst, was a painter and teacher for the deaf and blind; her grandfather, Max Ernst, is often referred to as “the father of surrealism”; and her father, Jimmy Ernst, was an abstract surrealist.
“My family is focused on knowledge. That’s how I see myself as an artist — as someone who disseminates knowledge,” says Ernst.
Ernst studied theater and set design at Emerson College in Boston. She considers herself a mixed-media artist and makes prints and collages in her home on Casey Key and in New York City.
“I am establishing myself as an artist here and it’s wonderful,” Ernst says. “It’s like starting over again at the age of 60.”
Ernst permanently moved two years ago to Casey Key from New York after her mother’s death, to take care of the home she had inherited.
“I didn’t choose to be an artist, it chose me,” says Ernst. “Just like I never chose Casey Key; it chose me.”
IN HER OWN WORDS
“(Casey Key) is not New York City. It’s quiet. The more I came down here, the more I started to love it and the opportunity to establish myself on my own.”
“I enjoy being able to share (my home) with my friends. It’s an escape for them.”