We recently curated an online group exhibition titled “Hello, I love you” and you can view it here. We asked six artists to be a part of it and Erik Minter was one of them. Erik’s works touch me deeply almost as if they are staring into my soul. They are full of emotions and love, so who better to have in a show about love than Erik!
What is your first memory of being creative? (Project, specific artwork, etc.)
We had a pretty dense wooded area behind our house growing up in southern Maryland. I remember spending a lot of time back there as a kid building forts, and arranging sticks, rocks and the autumn leaves to match a gradient, before I even knew who Andy Goldsworthy was, but I think that curiosity with nature and composition set a precedent.
When do you realize what you were making was art?
Living not far from the Nation’s Capitol, My dad would drive us in and around the mall area close to where he worked. I think being fascinated with all the museums, especially the National, I realized at a young age, that’s where I wanted to be and the museums at least guided me to an understanding of it all.
Do you have any official art training or are you self-taught?
I went to Pratt Institute for undergrad and before that in high school, I had really supportive teachers. My high school teacher, Mrs.Spindler, definitely encouraged my life studies and saw something in my work. I like to think I belong to both categories, and I think most artists do as well. You can have years of official art training but that will not make you a good artist. Now, I feel like I’ve spent 20 years unlearning what I’ve picked up, just to now get a glimpse of where I want to go with it all.
What’s the process of creating like for you? Do you have to set the mood? What goes on when creating a new piece?
Being in a good mood certainly makes the start of a piece a lot easier, it really helps when I get all my errands and admin work completed, because I rely on the paint’s fluidity to work, and I can’t really stop what I’m doing. I prefer it to happen in one sitting, it’s not always the case, the compositions and color tests I work out, may happen over a longer period of time. I enjoy it most when the work feels fresh, you can’t lie to the eyes.
What inspires you to create art?
Painting is pure freedom, I’m interested in people’s expressions, I want to know what people are thinking and painting is a way for me to translate that emotion and allow it to be captured in time.
I have actually been following your work since late 2018. Could you tell me more about the translation you took from the almost strictly abstract paint stroke style to this more abstract figurative style?
A little before Covid I was really deep into abstract work, but I’ve always been playing with figuration as a part of my themes even prior to my abstractions. The abstracts to me are a kind of realism in the sense of projecting energy, motion, time all encompassing through our lived memory experiences. With the pandemic, I saw an opportunity to cycle back into something that is a bit more relatable and familiar. I found sandwiching these ways of working and seeing has allowed me to enter into that liminal space and the gesture just gets passed along in the journey.
Did the pandemic have any effects on you when it came to your work? Did you get more work done while stuck at home or did I hurt your inspiration?
Well, I know many artists have been using the pandemic as maybe an opportunity to convey change and push new experimentations in their work, and I think it was and maybe is still perfectly the most valid time to do so. It has been a monumental life-changing event that essentially affected everyone. But, as I mentioned prior, it really gave me a moment to reflect on what I was doing with my work, and I saw an opportunity to clear another path. I don’t think I really took a break, I knew I had to just work through this one.
Could you tell us what love means to you?
Love is something that just takes over you. You don’t always make the most rational decisions, you are in the moment with your actions, and it’s the greatest high on earth if and when you experience it.
How does love influence your art if at all? Do you see a connection between love and the process of creating?
Absolutely, I try to make every work with love poured through it. If I’m successful with it, the viewer can see it, and maybe feel it through the spontaneity and conviction of how the work was made.
What’s something you hope viewers and collectors experience when viewing your works?
I want you to know that you are not alone here, the wild ideas you may have are part of your uniqueness, my works are vessels that I hope pull them out of you. Freedom is a state of mind we should attain in our daily practice.
Works by Erik Minter currently available at Myartisreal for the group show “Hello, I love you”
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