Saturday, November 10, 2012

SACRED Art Show... with Erin O'Shea!

Today I have the pleasure of sharing the work of the artist whose idea it was to do a SACRED Art Show in the first place! Erin O'Shea suggested we do a show and she introduced me to most of the wonderful artists whose work I've shared on my blog.

And here is the haunting piece she created:

Elana: Wow. Tell me how you came up with your vision for this piece.

Erin: I was really drawn to Scarlett's relationship with her mother, or her initial persistence in wanting connection. Her mother's way of dealing with tragedy is what sets the stage for Scarlett's experience.  I really wanted to show that Scarlett feels like she's just part of the scenery. Scarlett's form of self-destructive grief is overpowered by her mother's drug addiction, which permeates their home.  I wanted to capture the last time she stepped toward her mother and because her mother continued to choose pills, their home was full of her absence.  I also wanted the pills to look enticing, because to someone facing tragedy, escape in any form is tempting.

Elana: I know that you work in many mediums. Can you tell me about some of your favorites?

Erin: I love relief printmaking which is what my current portfolio is full of, but I also love watercolor and am trying to find my visual language in this medium.

Elana: What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of being an artist?

Erin: Making the time to grow is the biggest challenge for me.  I could continue making work like the work I've already done, but there are other styles I have yet to birth and want to explore, but this takes extra time. Not just time to work, but time to play with my art. Which is difficult with multiple jobs and children and that feeling of guilt when you spend time "playing." It can be very counterproductive to feel like every minute should be spent being "productive." Honestly, the space between my ears is my biggest challenge!

Elana: Who and what inspire you?

Erin: My soul is inspired by time spent in nature, I feel like anything is possible when I've had quality nature time. So it's a priority for me to spend time floating, climbing, digging and hiking.  Artists that inspire me right now are Jen Corace, Nikki McClure,Yuko Shimizu and Tomer Hanuka. The palette for this piece was directly inspired by Tomer. They all have distinctly different styles and create incredibly beautiful work. Music is also a big part of my creative experience, and I love having the right type of music to support my studio time.

Artists who inspire Erin

Elana: What is a typical workday like for you?

Erin: Well, my three kids take classes two days a week and are home/unschooled the rest of the time. I also teach at a local college and the high school of the arts, so finding time to do my work is a challenge.  I fit in as much as I can in my studio on the days they're in school and I stay up late to work when the house is quiet. But Sunday is my holy day, as it's the only full day I have set aside for illustration. A perfect Sunday is breakfast with the Fam, then cycle to my studio and come back whenever I feel like it!
Erin's workspace
 Elana: What other projects—both professional and personal—are you involved in?

Erin: I'm working on a wordless picture book with Joel Harper that I'm very excited about. He has published an environmental children's book about ocean pollution, and we are now working on a story that encourages children to not only clean up their beach, but to make art with the trash they've found. I'm also a part of a fiber arts collaborative that knits and crochets large installations, so I always have something on my needles. I'm currently knitting large white "gauze" bandages for trees whose limbs have been violently removed.  That project it titled "Amputrees" or "Arborgeddon" Not sure yet.

Elana: What advice would you give people who’d like to break into the art world?

Erin: I'd like to know the answer to that too!!! I try to say "yes" to every opportunity that presents itself, as well as seek out locations for shows, participate in contests and attend publishing/illustration events.  For some it's a quick thing to be a success in this field, but I'm going at the pace my family can handle.  I'm usually fairly unsatisfied with how little time I have to make stuff I love, but I think that's part of being creative and always wanting to discover that next idea/project.  Being an active member of an artistic community is also very important and helps to keep me motivated, engaged and always learning.

Elana: Do you have a web presence? 

Erin: Yes indeed, I do:

Elana: If you could meet any character in SACRED, who would it be and why?

Erin: I would love to make and share a meal with Will's dad Martin. He was such a solid presence and I really enjoyed his whole character. I think I want to adopt him!

Here's a photo of Erin's piece in progress:
And once more, here's the final piece. Thank you so much, Erin!


  1. LOVE this...the power and absent presence of the medicated mother...tragic and beautiful. I miss you, Erin! Looking forward to Tuesday! :)

  2. Thank you for the interview and beautiful jpgs of the final piece! Truly beautiful!

  3. I love Erin explanation of how she came up with this piece. With all the colours, you think it depicts something fun, then you take a closer look and change your first perception. Great piece!