mixed media artist, art, fine art, original art, whimsical art, animal art, imaginative art, unique art, primitive art, art prints

My Story

My name is Erika Stern.  I live in an antique farmhouse in Southeastern Massachusetts, with my husband of almost 30 years, 2 dogs and chickens.  I just got a Mini Cooper after coveting one for 15 years.  I am a vegan.

 

I don't think I can begin to talk about my work without addressing my juicy combination of ADD and OCD.  I am most comfortable in an environment that is textured and layered, messy and earthly and boundless. But at the same time, all this chaos somehow makes me anxious, so I am forever trying to categorize things and give them meaning, to create narratives from nothing.  I'm uncomfortable with the limitlessness of pure abstraction in Art, but bored with sheer representationalism. So I paint messy stories; about connections, and the human condition, although more often than not my subjects aren't even human.

I spent the last 30 years (somewhat less than joyously) practicing architecture and kitchen design, and the past 20 of those (blissfully) raising a son.  But now all I want to do is paint.

Accomplishments

 

Solo Exhibition     Ventress Gallery, Marshfield, MA   2018

Award of Excellence   North River Arts Members' Show, 2017

Honorable Mention   North River Arts Members' Show, 2016

 

BA Architecture   Rhode Island School of Design, 1989

BA Human Biology   Brown University, 1981

My Process

Historically terrified of the Blank Page and generally, yet ironically, devoid of ideas for new paintings (my mind as blank as an empty canvas) I start each new piece with an abstract "background".  I tend to generate a number of these backgrounds in a sitting, mindlessly and meditatively, often simply playing with new paint colors, or supplies, or found pieces of collage paper.  There is never a Method at this point, and they're usually not at all pretty at this stage.

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Then I sit back, examining and turning and pondering each chaotic mess until suddenly a figure, or two, or three, emerges from the blobs and swirls.  And the rest is relatively easy.  Clear personalities become apparent, relationships between the characters evolve, and the story begins.  People often ask me how I come up with my ideas, but I maintain that I don't. They are all there in the paint, waiting to be found.

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All work and images are copyright of Erika Stern unless otherwise stated. ©2019