Art is where the home is for Fargo woman who paints watercolors of people's houses
Fargo artist Amanda Frost has made art using many styles and mediums through the years, but she has hit a "homerun" with her watercolor house paintings, which make perfect gifts for new homeowners.
FARGO — Artist Amanda Frost has tried everything from printmaking to graphic design in her career, but has more recently found a project that has really hit home.
The Moorhead native creates lyrical watercolor paintings of people’s newly purchased or recently sold homes, which their real estate agents can then present as the perfect closing gift.
In fact, anyone who wants to commission a home painting for any reason — a gift to someone else or just because — can contact her through Amanda Frost Creations.
The 25-year-old has found a specialty that not only jibes with her lifelong penchant for drawing houses, but can also take pleasure in creating something that means so much to homeowners.
“Each painting is so different,” says Frost, perched on a stool inside the Aptitude Creative Arts Studio , The Arts Partnership co-op which allows artists to rent affordable studio space at West Acres Shopping Center. “The biggest thing that drives me to keep doing it is how much sentiment it brings to people."
Frost’s brush has captured every type of abode from ‘60s ranch houses, ‘70s split-levels and pristine Cape Cods to iconic local residences like the Comstock House in Moorhead or the historic Charles Roberts’ home on Fargo’s Eighth Street South.
She works with several real estate agents, selling framed, matted one-of-a-kind renderings for $125 each.
One of those is Fargo Realtor Jess Boerger, who commissioned a couple of pieces from the artist after spotting her work on social media.
Boerger recalls presenting one of the watercolors to a client who had purchased a farmhouse near Hawley, Minnesota. She didn’t know it beforehand, but the homebuyer happened to love watercolor art. “She actually teared up when I gave it to her,” Boerger says. “Amanda did such an amazing job. Her work is absolutely beautiful and stunning."
The Realtor believes people respond so positively to Frost’s work for a couple of reasons. First-time homebuyers have a special appreciation for the highly personal, handmade gift, because they’ve worked so hard to get the first house they can call their own, she says.
Home sellers also value the art. “They’ve built memories there, maybe they’ve grown a family there, so it can be an emotional experience for them,” she says. “When a gift like that is given it can be really touching.”
How an artist was born
Frost’s house art has been her most popular pursuit, yet it’s only one aspect of what she does. She also paints stylized portraits of people and pets, screenprints shirts with a definite Gen-Z vibe, designs logos and posters, sews one-of-a-kind garments like patchwork pants and does fine art — all by maintaining a careful schedule on her ever-present planner.
All this, while also working full time as a para educator with the Fargo School District. It’s an ideal job for a hard-working young artist with so many proverbial irons in the fire. She loves working with students — having honed her caretaking skills while growing up in the household where her mom ran a daycare. The job provides benefits like insurance. And she gets school breaks and summers off, which gives her more time to make, market and sell her art.
“I have all these dreams,” she says.
Frost came by her mix of artistic eye and entrepreneurial smarts honestly, as both of her parents balanced running their own businesses with more creative pursuits.
“My parents were always super-creative and they instilled the arts in us,” says Frost, who was the youngest of three girls. All of them were encouraged to participate in music, art and drama.
Dad, Tom, is a pilot who flies for Scheel’s and was always trying innovative projects at home, such as rigging up a pulley system to allow the family’s dog Sadie to let herself into the house.
Today, Tom maintains “Frosty Life,” a YouTube channel with nearly 50,000 subscribers, on which he shares everything from funny pet videos to home-improvement tips.
Mom, Karen, has an art history minor and ran a long-time childcare business, where she often incorporated crafts and art projects into the children’s daily curriculum.
Frost was always exploring art projects but noticed a special interest in houses when she began playing the life-simulation video game “The Sims” as a kid.
“I would go home, after drawing up floorplans at school or something, and I would make it on ‘The Sims,’” she says. “I always thought, ‘Maybe I should go into school for architecture.’ I didn’t, but I guess I’m slightly adjacent to it.”
Following high school, she studied graphic design at Minneosta State University Moorhead for a couple of years before deciding that she didn’t want to simply produce designs for someone else. “I didn’t really see myself working for someone else in a cubicle,” she says.
Then she took a printmaking class — and loved it. She switched her major to fine art with a printmaking emphasis.
While she was finishing up her degree, the pandemic hit and her hours were cut drastically at her job. She needed a way to make money, so started taking more commission work by creating portraits of people and animals.
“That gave me a lot of confidence that I could do it and I’m capable of being a successful artist,” she says.
Artist ON residence
One day, Frost was admiring a “cute, little house” located across the street from her old apartment building. She decided to try drawing it, then posted this early effort online to show the types of work she was doing.
The feedback was positive. "That's kind of what sparked it in me to do it even more, like on a clientele basis," she says.
Among those who spotted her work online was Realtor/Facebook friend Ariel Holbrook, who commissioned Frost to paint a house as a closing gift. Since then, Frost has continued painting houses while pursuing her other artistic sidelines.
The work has not only generated income, but has sharpened her skills and deepened her experience so she can continually improve.
As busy as life gets while juggling her various art mediums and numerous interests, Frost’s inner strategist and entrepreneur rarely rest.
Already, she sees multiple avenues which could grow her business, such as becoming a vendor at local home-and-garden shows or featuring her work at the annual Parade of Homes.
She'd also like to partner with different real estate agencies, which could ideally draw up retainers for her to produce a certain number of home illustrations at a reduced rate.
“I am not just an artist. I am my accountant, I am my social media manager, I am my own waterboy — running all my own errands," she says. "So I’m not just doing one job, it’s all the background stuff too. But it’s exciting. I love it.”
Find Frost at facebook.com/AmandaFrostCreations .