The consensus is that you guys loved the art in my recent guest bedroom post. It’s a good thing, because I’ve had this artist spotlight post planned with Erika Eckerson since my last visit to Charlotte! I first fell in love with Erika’s bold, graphic brush strokes on Instagram. There was a raw quality to her work that immediately caught my attention. Her abstract paintings are full of moment, balance, and weight that make me stop to analyze each piece. It’s no secret that I love all types of art- I have a degree in art history and spent a semester living in Florence studying the renaissance, but I’m always interested in interpreting abstract artwork (remember, Holly’s post?). There’s something about loose brushstrokes and painterly pieces that are really appealing to me. Charlotte native, Erika Eckerson has a passion for art and escaping reality through painting. She’s actually a full-time news anchor(!) who is super passionate about art.
Let’s jump right into the fun part and start the mini interview!
S: Do you have any formal training in art? What influenced you to pursue painting?
E: I am self taught. That phrase always gets a good eye roll from painters who actually went to art school (sorry, guys!). I started painting about six years ago while working as a morning news anchor in Myrtle Beach. I needed some art to hang above my sofa but couldn’t afford the pieces I wanted, so I thought I’d take a stab at it. Turns out it’s not as easy as it looks, and my first attempt was pretty horrible. Thankfully I kept at it and eventually friends and family started asking to buy my work. I’m constantly evolving by studying techniques and experimenting with color and stroke.
S: Do you prefer working with monochromatic tones? I know those are the consistent colors in your portfolio. What is your go-to medium?
E: When I first started it was a lot of pink hues and feminine colors, but I wanted more contrast and edgy graphic outcomes, so I started to experiment with blacks and moody neutrals. It’s much more “me.” But I love when I get a client who wants something brighter or softer because it forces me to stay versatile and think outside the box.
S: What does painting mean to you?
E: Relaxation. Freedom. As someone who tends to overthink just about everything, painting helps me stop. Stop thinking and just create. That’s what’s great about abstract art — it’s about coloring outside the lines and throwing the rules out the window. I’ve always hated rules anyways.
S: Where do you find inspiration, or when do you create your best work? It looks like your studio board is pretty full!
E: I draw a lot of my inspiration from interior design, architecture, interesting color combinations and textures. I love to look through magazines and websites to find gorgeous spaces that I would die to hang my art in. I cut out pages and tack them on my inspiration board so I don’t forget. I also love to study the work of some of the greats. Feeling the emotion in their work makes me want to create something of my own. Matisse, Franz Kline and Helen Frankenthaler are a few of my favorites.
S: What is your proudest moment as a painter?
E: My proudest moment comes every time I sell one of my pieces. It’s surreal to know I’m being paid to do something I enjoy so much. I’m humbled and inspired every single time.
S: Ten years from now, where do you see yourself as an artist?
E: Hopefully I’ll have graduated from our spare bedroom to a real studio by then. Eventually I want to own and curate my own gallery. We all have to start somewhere, right?!
S: Absolutely!! If you could give someone advice in regards to pursuing their true passion, what would it be?
E: Picture yourself when you’re 70 years old and looking back on your current self. Will you regret not taking a chance? We live in a time where creativity is celebrated and encouraged, and THAT is a beautiful thing. It doesn’t hurt to have a backup plan, but still pursue what makes you feel alive. You’ll never regret it.
Thanks, Erika! I’m so excited to finally have a couple of these pieces hanging in my home. Art is so much more meaningful when you know the story and inspiration behind each piece. Even more so when you actually get to know the artist. I sort of love everything Ericka stands for… we could all use that type of mindset! I hope this month’s Artist Spotlight will you inspire you and give you the courage to follow your heart and pursue something you’re passionate about.
Supporting upcoming artists is a great way to save money on original artwork- if you’re into abstract art, definitely visit Erika’s shop!