Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I currently live in Los Angeles, California, but I am originally from Memphis, Tennessee. I went to The School of The Art Institute for my BFA and went to University of California, Los Angeles for my M. Arch which is a Masters of Architecture. During and right after my grad education I worked in very traditional architecture offices, but it wasn’t until I quit those offices and collaborated with a professor of mine that I realized making paintings and sculpture was what I really wanted to be doing day-to-day. Now I teach Architecture two days a week, run a small curatorial project out of Memphis, and try to get into the studio as much as possible.
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
The work attempts to challenge the conventional methods of representing architecture. I think architectural drawings / renderings / models can be very dry and sober looking because of the tedious nature of them. I want my work to reveal a playfulness or a surrealness. My paintings lean on the exactness and the machine-made quality of architectural renderings but are meant to depict a scene of bizarreness and cleverness. The absence of scale moves the painted figures into the space of toys. The sculptures exist in that same toy-like realm.
What is your process like?
My process includes a lot of collecting. I collect a lot of reference images of architecture and I collect a lot of trash and found objects on the street to include in the sculptures. I will be walking the dogs around the studio and will find a piece of coat hanger or a random piece of plastic and will put it in my pocket for later. It has become a joke with my partner, “what did you find today?”. I have boxes of things I have found at goodwill and markets around LA that have become essential to my making process.
What is the last thing you read?
The last thing I read was Sapiens:A Brief History of Humankind. I am about to start Awakening Your Ikigai: How the Japanese Wake Up to Joy and Purpose Every Day.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I learned to collect things from my previous collaborator and professor Andrew Kovacs. He has a huge collection of images on tumblr called Archive of Affinities. He has a way of documenting things that has really shaped my art practice. Every scrap or waste has value just because of the process. If I buy something at goodwill for the sculpture, the receipt should be scanned and saved as a part of documenting the work as a whole.
What do you do when you’re find yourself in a creative rut, or feeling unsure about what direction to go?
I take a walk to look for trash or go to this great store in Los Angeles called Tweak. They have the best toys for kids! I seek out that playfulness and freedom when things are feeling too serious in the studio.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I co-run an exhibition platform called Binder Projects based in Memphis, TN (an on the internet) with another artist there. The project started about a year and a half ago. Our goal was to disrupt the model of buying and collecting art in that community – I think we still aim to do that every day. Several traditional brick and mortar galleries thrive in Memphis, but I’m betting that young collectors want a different experience. Encouraging people to buy art in a different way is tough.
Find more at erinkwright.com and on Instagram @erin.k.wright!
Leave a Reply