Hi Erin, How are you?
I am very well, thank you!
How did you discover your talent for art?
I have been drawing and painting all my life. I started out creating art and comic strips as a kid, and kept up with it, continually evolving and expanding into different areas of creativity.
What or who inspired you to paint/draw in the first place?
I was always inspired to create art. My uncle, who is also an artist, helped me to unfold my art talents from an early age.
What do you think is the most important influence in your art?
As far as influences, there are many. Perhaps Mother Nature/Earth is my biggest influence.
Where do you do your work?
I create art in many places. I do work from my home studio. I also create art in public, in the street, in nature, in collaborative environments.
Oil Spill by Erin Johnson
Do you work from life, from photographs or from imagination?
I work from all three! I always make sure that the imagination component is strongest mostly. Never underestimate imagination! Nurture it!
What are you currently working on?
I am working on a 3-D animated series, which I am writing and developing art for (top secret). I am also working on a feature-length documentary, and another art-case piano. I am working on some freelance projects as well.
Do you have any new projects planned?
Yes! I have many projects in the works. I want to direct some new animated and live action music videos. Look out Gondry! I also want to generate some video games and some new sci-fi and fantasy paintings. Plus, I think I am overdue for some stone sculpture, as I have a large boulder of alabaster, which has been very patient!
Which is more important to you, the subject of your painting, or the way it is executed?
Well, neither can exist without the other (at least working with representational art). I choose a wide variety of subjects, so this fluctuates. I work in many mediums so I dive right in and make he most awesomeness, fun possible with each art process.
What techniques do you use?
It take be a long time to list them all, and tedious for the reader. A few elude description, because some of my techniques have no name in our language.
What are your favourite materials to work with?
I like acrylics a lot. Even though I do not like petroleum-based plastic, they seem to work well for me. I love the airbrush. I also like colored pencil and gouache. Rapidograph pens are wicked for detail! I also love digital painting and 3-D work. Ha ha, I think “Outline” is a great material in Zbrush.
Do you concentrate mostly on content or technique in your work?
Sometimes the content arises out of the technique. Other times, I choose the content first, and the technique is the pathway to making it tangible. I work both ways simultaneously in a lot of pieces I create.
Do you work certain hours each day or only when you are inspired?
Ha ha! Well, I find I am inspired most every hour of the day. It is funny, because at the most mundane of moments, like walking up the street or looking at an object, I will get these rather wild ideas flowing through my mind. The execution of these ideas is the important part. There is usually an incubation period for an idea, and then I proceed to the actual creation of the work. I work all hours, and often find myself working into the AM.
Piano detail by Erin Johnson
Where do you feel your art is going?
I think my art is going in some awesome new directions! I imagine I will be working with creative film and animation a lot in the future. Time-based art holds a huge allure for me personally.
What do you think the role of the artist is in society and do you think that role is changing with the advances of technology?
I think the role of the artist in society is basically the same regardless of technology. The new technology is basically just the medium. It is the content that is the interface with the observer of art. Regardless of the interface, it still remains the artists’ challenge to deal with the ethical, allegorical, mystical connotations of their art, and societal message and impacts they bring into existence. Art is a form of communication on many levels within this context.
Do you prefer a perfect smooth technique or a more energetic expressive technique and why?
I like well rendered/polished imagery that is realistic in nature, but the final outcome is the result of this expressivity.
What is your favourite period in art history?
Tough question! Gothic architecture.
Who are your favourite artists?
Bosch, Brueghel, Frazetta, Leonardo, Gislebertus, Monet, Giger, Chanel, Barbara Kruger, Ray Harryhausen, to name a few.
What is your favourite painting/piece of art and why?
“The Haywain” by Bosch. This painting by a middle ages master speaks to the state of the world, and I feel a direct correlation between society as it appears in this painting, and our society today. I also enjoy how there are many mysterious aspects of this painting, which seemingly remain an enigma.
How do your market and promote your work?
I am marketing my work in a variety of ways, through the Internet, in person, and through industry get-togethers.
Have you held any exhibitions?
Yes! I recently had a solo exhibition featuring original works created solely for the event. I was also recently featured in a group show involving the Gulf of Mexico oil spill related artwork. I am looking forward to more in the future.
Do you use any online services like ‘imagekind.com’, ‘redbubble’ or ‘cafepress’?
I have not used any of these services as of this moment.
Do you think the internet has changed people’s appreciation of art by making it more accessible?
In many ways yes, at the same time, perhaps the Internet’s contribution here is quantity of art viewers.
What advice would you give to anyone who wanted to take up painting or drawing?
Keep at it and don’t give up! Create art constantly, but don’t burn yourself out. Surround yourself with supportive people and be realistic. If it has not been done, it can be! Artistic ability is a gift, so use it!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Have an excellent day.