I am privileged to be able to share a short interview with you of one of my newly discovered and now favourite contemporary artists. Erin Hanson is such a prolific artist and her work is truly beautiful. Read on to find out a bit more about her unique way of working.
1. How did you get started?
I moved to Las Vegas 9 years ago, and that’s what led me to get back into painting (the last job I had as an artist was working in a mural studio near my high school). Continuing my childhood maxim that practice makes perfect, I decided to create one painting every week. Since Red Rock Canyon was the most beautiful landscape around Las Vegas, and the rocks were the most interesting thing there, that is what I painted. As climbers we were often already hiking before dawn, to avoid the heat, and I experienced many colorful sunrises over the red, pink and white striped sandstone. I loved the way the rocks reflected the light around them, as well as their interesting abstract shapes.
2. You have such a stunning use of colour, texture and the movement of the landscape within your painting. Do you feel that your style has evolved? How?
My style of painting is very colorful, chunky and abstracted. Some of this style evolved from painting a lot of comic art and Japanese landscapes in ink while I was in college studying bioengineering. While I was living in Las Vegas as a rock climber, the rocks themselves influenced my style. The dark cracks in the rocks, separating out the flat planes of color, were challenging and fun to paint. When I moved back to California several years ago, I decided that fluffy oak trees and winding rivers were really just like differently shaped rocks and I could apply my same technique to painting them. From there, an almost mosaic style of painting has evolved, which I describe as “Open Impressionism.”
3. Do you think your unique vantage points from rock climbing has contributed to your success?
Absolutely. I think the greatest thing I got from rock climbing was watching bland desert landscapes turn into fiery explosions of color at daybreak. I thought it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, and it was always easy to come up with new landscape ideas to paint, as long as I saw it from the right lighting.
4. I can see on your website that you actually have a physical gallery. What made you open up a gallery?
I graduated from working in my living room, to taking up an entire 3-car garage, to moving into a 2,000-sq-ft warehouse, and finally to my current 5,000-sq-ft studio/gallery in Los Angeles. Since I work in oils, my paintings take up to a month to dry, and I have become addicted to painting larger and larger canvases… so, as you can imagine, it takes up a lot of room to dry and display all these paintings. My current “easel” is a wooden grid 25 feet long and 15 feet tall, which I can hang my canvases on.
5. If someone was starting new – what tips would you give them to help them be successful?
I recommend artists to create one original work every week, even if they are small. This benefits an artist in many ways: developing the discipline of actually finishing paintings, building a large body of works that can be sold, and refining your style and technique with practice. I also recommend learning everything you can about marketing your own work. There are some really fantastic resources for this online, as well as dozens of excellent books on Amazon.
6. What’s the best way for people to contact you?
I have all my newest paintings, as well as prints, available on my website
You can email me directly at email@example.com.
I’m very grateful to Erin Hanson for taking the time to answer my questions. She is such an inspiring artist and I really enjoy her style.
An artist and a rock-climber is such a unique combination and I believe that is part of her unique style. Her subject has been mainly rocks around Red Rock Canyon but I love the transition from rocks to other landscapes and how she was able to apply her style to new subjects.
I can also relate to the lighting of a landscape being a fundamental inspirational element. Many photographers are aware of a time called ‘the golden hour’ which is the magical sunrise and sunset period where the sun’s light can do amazing things to the quality of the light on a landscape. It is also a huge source of inspiration for me!
I fully agree with her tip to create one original work every week and try to paint every week between my day job, however sometimes I drop out of the habit and it’s really hard to get back into it. From a time and confidence point of view – you really need to make art part of your routine. Not only to ensure you are creating but developing your skill, refining your technique and trying new things. Practice practice practice – there is no way around it.
Please take some time to take a look at Erin Hanson’s work – I personally am such a fan of her work and her story. If you are an artist and looking for inspiration or a potential buyer and looking for something refreshing then her well-presented website is a must.
She also has art books which are available – I talked to her about this in my post ‘Should I Create An Artist Book‘?