Ontario born, Erin Hollingshead is a pop-realism painter that made her way to Halifax, Nova Scotia for schooling and now, an artistic life. Adding playfulness to her work, there is a surface aesthetic that is easy to admire. But, sit with the painting for a while and there will be hidden meaning to what you see. Erin is a fearless artist whose work will get in your face–if you let it.
What kind of person do you have to be to pursue an artistic driven profession?
Just that: driven. You have to have a burning passion for art, one that keeps you up at night and pushes you through the day. Many professors have told me that if you don't make the work, you have nothing to show and therefore won't be recognized. You need to be willing to put in the hours that it takes to produce and show your work. You need to have patience and discipline. I don't get to paint for 8 hours a day - because I also have a full time job - but getting in painting time every single day is what I strive for. Whether it's an two hours before or after work, or 8 hours on my day off. I want to produce the work but also know that I need to do it if I want to pursue an artistic career.
What is the biggest pain in the ass in pursuing something creative as a career?
There are two things that come to mind. The first being time. Having a 40 hour painting week is a dream of mine. I used to get that kind of time while I was in university and that's when I noticed the most positive progress in my work. Being out of school with a 40 hour work week makes for limited artistic time, and I've noticed that the work isn't developing as quickly. Secondly, and the biggest pain in the ass, is the general public's understanding of what art is worth. I've had people offer to pay me $10 for 6 hours worth of my time. Most do not understand the time that it takes to produce quality work.
What's integral to the work you produce?
A figure. I've always been drawn to the human form, especially faces. Perhaps it's because they're all similar, yet so different. Whether I'm painting a still life, abstractly or graphically, there will always be a figure in there. Currently, figures in my works have been placed with stuffed animals and other objects that remind me of childhood. As I've start to work on a new body of work, I've learned new techniques from the previous body that I will apply and also alter in the next one. So as I go on with experimenting with new painting techniques, without a doubt a figure will be there.
What’s your five-year plan looking like?
In 5 years I will be 30 years old...yikes. I've currently graduated from NSCAD University with a BFA in Fine Art. I majored in painting, minored in art history and took a healthy amount of printmaking classes to have a firm grasp on that as well. Over the next couple of years I plan on painting a few bodies of work and exhibiting them in as many places that Nova Scotia will offer me. Before the new year I planned to do 100 applications to as many art related opportunities that I could find over this year. Through 2016 I pushed myself and did the most painting in a year that I've ever done, and I've seen the pay off. Over the next 5 years I plan to keep pushing myself to produce more and put myself out there more and hopefully see the pay off from that. Maybe I'll be applying for my Master's degree by then...
To view more of Erin's work see her website
Follow Erin on Instagram @ehollingshead22
To purchase her work you can find it on her Etsy