by Daryle Dickens
Last issue I interviewed Jonny Wright, now meet Erin Wright, the other half of the husband and wife creative team. She paints, she paints a lot.
ZAF622: Last year on the MOCA studio tour I got to see your house. And it appears that it is very much an extension of your creative self. Is that true?
Erin Wright: Well because we create at home, the more our space inspires us, the more productive we are.
ZAF: I can tell from your home that you paint a lot. Do you find that difficult?
EW: It comes and goes for sure. You know there are times when I am super excited about a project and able to focus and have the energy to paint long hours even though I work full time. Painting is usually evening, nighttime, early morning. Random hours like that. If I am really excited I am usually able to find the time to do that. I really feel that creativity is part of a cycle. You know you spend time more turned inward which furthers your imagination and your feelings about your next project. And sort of furthers that inspiration. And when that comes that is a very outward time. That is what I tell myself to enjoy those cycles.
ZAF: Do those cycles ever frustrate you?
EW: At times. I think that is just part of the game though. I think it is important to support yourself and your needs from moment to moment. And so if you’re not in a creative time I think that is fine. It is good to step away and look for inspiration. We just went to Santa Fe and that was hugely inspiring. I came back and got a bunch of things finished and I feel very refreshed. So I think it is a matter of finding what you need when you have down time so you can come back and be productive and strong.
ZAF: Do you have any formal training?
EW: I am a self taught artist. I went to school in England and the way the school system over there is they really encourage you to narrow down your subjects. Even as early as the age of 13. It turns out then to be a balancing choice between the sciences, the english, the mathematics and also the creative things. So I ended up being steered away from art. Though I have always been very active in my own life in drawing and paint and doing these things but in school it just wasn’t a match at all.
ZAF: So how do you teach yourself?
EW: By spending a lot of time observing and then trying. Trial and error. I was really surrounded by a lot of creativity in my family. My dad is a big innovator. He went to the Rhode Island School of Design and started his career as an architect and then ended up making 3-D slideshows in the 70s to music. Which at that time was hugely progressive. So he has always seen the world in a very artistic way. And he brought me up in that paradigm. So a walk around the block would be like “wow Erin, look at the light and the way it is hitting the tree or if you took a photograph from this angle wouldn’t the red and the blue really go together.” So that conversation was always in my life and I think that has helped to teach me small things along the way.
ZAF: Have you experienced success as an artist?
EW: Yes. And wildly so. When I started I just had the drive and found myself creating. And I am really strongly of the belief that if you’re creating you should get that out into the world and share it with other people. So I definitely started to pursue that quite quickly. I did shows at the Surfside which is a great place for artists in town. It went very fast after that. I had a few years of painting under my belt, a collection as it were. We applied to the Studio Tour, things were selling, we were getting commissions.
ZAF: Have you ever had trouble calling yourself an artist?
EW: I worked in childcare for 5 years, it was early childhood care. And art was my favorite class to teach and in that class my two main rules were that everyone is an artist and no art is wrong. So I think in that sense I have always considered that we have that artistic capability. If you look at the things humans have achieved there all in their nature creative. Even though they may be in an intellectual realm, a scientific realm, an architectural realm, they’ve created something new that has contributed to our society. And it is the same inner drive, inner capability, the capability of the human to imagine something and make it real. That is the same thing the artist does, they just do it with different materials.
ZAF: How about failures as an artist. Have you had those?
EW: I’ve definitely had those pieces that have eluded me. I haven’t been able to get the vision out of my head onto canvas. To make it real for someone else to see. But I don’t think I’ve encountered any failure.
ZAF: Do you have goals as an artist?
EW: So many it is almost difficult to summarize. It is very difficult to figure out how in my short lifetime will I achieve the list of ideas of things I want to do.
ZAF: Lastly I have to ask you about the mural that you painted on your fence which faces a park. Is that considered the park’s fence or your fence? In other words is it graffiti or art?
EW: Well that is an interesting question actually. It is actually our fence. But that was as of yet undecided when we did paint it. The park guys came to our house and said well we really like this mural and want it to stay here. However Fort Collins has a graffiti law and any graffiti needs to be painted over within 48 hours. So we need to establish is this our fence or is it your fence. And I said well when we bought the house we were under the understanding that it was our fence. And the law is sort of written it is whose side the posts are on. And they are on our side. So we felt confident that we would like to take ownership of the fence. And take care of it if anything ever happened to it. But I had to add in that there was quite a bit of visible graffiti in the whole rest of the fence in the park. And perhaps that could be looked at in some way. It had been there for much longer than a 48 hour period. And generally the fence was run down and needed painted. Well within a month of us finishing our mural a bunch of teenage volunteers came to our park of the organization of the park guys and repainted the whole rest of the parimeter fence. So the whole park got a fresh coat of paint.
Erin has a MySpace profile which can be found here.
And be sure to stop by and visit the Wrights on the MOCA Studio Tour.
Also very soon they will have a studio at the Poudre River Arts Center.