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Conversations with Erin DeVine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin DeVine.

Hi Erin, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I got started in art in elementary school when I had my first group show. It was Open House night and the teacher put my art in the main hallway where everyone could see my puppy made of pinto beans. I was beside myself when I saw parents looking at my creation and saying it was cute, knowing their kid’s art didn’t even make it outside of their respective classrooms. I would continue to push my creative boundaries, drawing Hello Kitty characters for my friends and drawing at home when I was bored. I didn’t think of art as anything more than a hobby until many years later when I decided to apply to a group show at an art gallery I’d visited. I wasn’t expecting to get into the show since I didn’t have a star-spangled resume so I was surprised when I got called back. Since then, I’ve been doing group shows, and my art has been published. As of late, I am building up a digital collection of art which I sell as posters and stickers in my online store. I enjoy the role that technology is playing in my artmaking. The ability to reach out to thousands of people through an app is so unprecedented. I have over 20 works saved on an iPad that I can access and share much easier than lugging around a large portfolio. I’m also working on an NFT project which is such an exciting new experience for me. There’s so many possibilities in that space and it’s constantly changing which is challenging but also refreshing after years of showing my work in traditional spaces.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My greatest struggle was understanding that what I create is art even if it doesn’t live in a gallery. My understanding of what art is and what it isn’t was formed by what I saw in galleries and museums. I saw a lot of the same type of art by the same (often dead) people so I felt like what I made was a lesser version of that. Now my understanding of art has broadened and I’ve actively exposed myself to living artists and different types of spaces that show art. I’m learning to receive praise about my art as easily as I receive criticism about it. That has had a lot to do with accepting where I am in my journey and honoring that instead of trying to mimic what I see around me.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
Lately, I’ve been creating digital art that focuses on human faces. It’s all in the eyes for me. I’ve always started my drawings with the eyes even though I was taught not to do that in art class. I use the eyes to illustrate where my characters are mentally and spiritually. They may appear enlightened, weary or insane or they might have eyes that belong to an animal. The collection I’m working on now is mostly black and white works which is a stark difference from my paintings which tend to be very bright and highly saturated with color.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Covid-19 taught me that I need to be more courageous and to live for myself before anyone else. I became accustomed to working hard for corporations, bosses and supervisors. I realized that every single time I left the house, it was to make someone else’s life easier and cushier at my own expense. Doing things for myself felt foreign and wrong and sometimes it still does but I have a new understanding of how righteous it is to honor myself without guilt. I appreciate the sun and the birds and the trees so much more now and I’ve leveled up in gratitude which has done wonders for my peace. I found time and space to just be happy.

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