Today we’d like to introduce you to Evie Erickson.
Evie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I remember dancing around in my parents’ living room in Downey when I was about 12 or 13 years old exclaiming that I wanted to be an actress or an artist when I grew up. Naturally, I gravitated toward the later pursuit. In high school I took art as an elective but excelled in my photography classes. I began my college career with aspirations to be a commercial photographer. I quickly switched to an emphasis of art after taking a required 2D design class at Orange Coast College. Discovering the beginnings of my vision within the confines of those design projects was exciting. I couldn’t get enough of drawing, painting and studying the history of art. Eventually, I transferred to California State University Fullerton where I began working abstractly and with collage.
Right after I received my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1992 I got married. In an effort to stay connected to an artistic community and fuel my work I continued taking classes, like printmaking and papermaking and participated in group shows. My son was born in 2002 and I made the choice to set aside my art practice and focus on raising him. I truly enjoyed that time with my son. Unfortunately, my marriage began to dissolve and four years ago I was faced with a divorce. I had to “get a life”. Fortunately, I knew exactly what I wanted that life to be. I started by resuming my art practice and applied to graduate school. I graduated in May (2019) with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting from California State University Long Beach.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My road has definitely been rough. I have had to overcome a lot of obstacles in my life including my divorce. It was devastating to go through a divorce, but it catapulted me back into pursuing an art career. Getting into the rhythm of being back in school was difficult at first. And as if the stress and pressure of a rigorous graduate program wasn’t enough, after I completed my first year, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was Stage I and discovered very early, so I was determined not to let it derail me in the building of my new life. I had surgery that summer and was back at school in the fall. During my last year of the three years program I really began to thrive. My confidence as an artist and art teacher began to manifest as I re-discovered my sense of self. In my last semester I taught Introduction to Painting at CSULB, had my solo thesis show and with classmates experienced the wonder of New York City for the first time. I have truly surprised myself with my achievements.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
The art I make is infused with my life experiences. My time at home caring for my young son broadened my respect and reverence for traditional women’s crafts and making a home. Being a cancer survivor strengthened my need to feel a deeper connection to the natural world. Presently, my artwork consists of multi-element collages that utilize craft materials or domestic remnants such as sewing patterns, needlework instructions, glitter, sequins and wallpaper to depict an archetypal four seasons. The items I employ are doing triple duty, in most cases, by alluding to their primary purpose, interpreting the seasons and providing me with a platform to pay homage to traditional women’s crafts. I use anatomical imagery as elements in the work and as a structural shapes for my collages groupings. This use of anatomical imagery refers to the life cycle of the human body and represents the body within the domain of both nature and home.
I am most proud of being true to my vision and really tapping into my interests in materials, process and subject-matter. This focus developed into an art practice that I feel will keep me engaged for the long haul. Throughout the history of art many artist’s have portrayed the four seasons. My approach is to work on a specific season during that season continually. There are threads developing in my work from for example, spring to spring while a cohesiveness develops in all four seasons, year to year. I see my work expanding and growing in a manner that mimics the natural world.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I guess it could be said that it was lucky when I got accepted to the only graduate program I applied to and on the first try. It could have been luck when my son choose a high school to attend that is located less than ten minutes from CSULB before I even knew I was going to apply there and which made our new lives able to function. It might have been luck when I found a tiny apartment next to the beach and about ten minutes from both our schools in a matter of weeks before I had to move out of my home.
And, it could be that the bad luck of getting divorced contributed to the good luck of being able to pursue my lifelong dream of a career in the arts. But, I don’t know if I really believe in luck. What I believe in is the kindness of strangers, friends, family and mentors. And I am pretty sure if you work hard, are diligent in your pursuits and stay true to yourself all the while, you will find what you need in life.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: evieericksonart
Griffin Erickson, Gene Ogami