Erica Jane Huntzinger – Sheboygan, Wisconsin

Durations 12, ceramic 5.25x22x4.25x22",  2013

Durations 12, ceramic, 2013

Briefly describe the work you do.

My works are visual documentations of internal landscapes. The paintings I create are an attempt to bridge the dualities of the conscious and the unconscious through sensitive attention to experience, perception, and sensation. Each piece is realized through the use and manipulation of color, texture, text and space; filtered, steeped in and manifested through paint and clay.

At what point in your life did you want to become an artist?

It didn’t occur to me to become an artist. From early childhood I created, and it seemed a natural extension of my self.

Tell us a little about your background and how that influences you as an artist.

I was and continue to be influenced by the spaces of my parent’s home states; Maine and Pennsylvania.  The rural landscapes and very small towns they were near fostered a unique and stimulating visual range for me.  The windows, the environment, our collective voices in song and thought, for me, all helped to create a state of connectedness between the visual and the musical. Each are ingredients integral to the growth and development for me as an artist.  I travel between the two spaces, capturing and distilling the essence of what I experience through my bonds with family and friends, the visual and musical stories of each place.  Because I consider my paintings as visual documentations, my perceptions of the world in each season, relationships, books, the news, my cats, water, rocks and stones, barns and houses, peeling paint, music, great food, the changing sky, children’s creativity: all of these things help to shape what I create.  I always carry a sketchbook to document thoughts, quotes, notes and ideas. They are also filled with blind contour drawings, small abstractions and writings. My paintings are multilayered and change several times before finished.  For me, it is a tapping of the conscious and unconscious material and is manifested through manipulation of color, texture, writing and space. I paint as an intuitive act expressed and influenced by interactions, cognitions and feelings, the weather, contemplations of my self and world with music in my head. It is the blood in which the art is formed imbuing meaning to each structure; an inner landscape. 

For John, Watercolor, 2014

For John, Watercolor, 2014

What types of conceptual concerns are present in your work? How do those relate to the specific process(es) or media you use?

I consider myself a painter. I am interested in exploring how I can shape space, manipulate texture and line basked in colors to most closely represent my day, my self. Paintings as objects are a window to make and view the world as I see and experience it.  Paint and clay are have a certain viscosity that creates a fluidity to more easily engage and explore internal spheres. By its nature it allows to be mixed, pushed, scraped and glazed to represent spaces nearest connected to my state of being.

We once heard Chuck Close say he did not believe in being inspired, rather in working hard everyday. What motivates you in your studio practice?

I am motivated by rest, time, exploration, research and discovery. I am motivated by conversation, travel, and beauty found in small arenas and sublime environments.  I am motivated through tears and joys, deadlines and playful times, dreams, rememberings, meditation and connection and aloneness. I am motivated by much.

What artists living or non-living influence your work? 

Good golly, I’ll try to be brief but i’m going to have to edit my long long list and I’ll miss a lot: Cy Twombly, JB Daniel, Byron Gin, Carrie Iverson, Wassily Kandinsky, Mark Rothko, Eva Hesse, Beth Lipman, Josef Beuys, Joseph Cornell, Jeffrey Cortland Jones, Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Squeak Carnwath, James Kennedy, Henri Matisse, Wayne Thiebaud, Francis Bacon, Richard Diebenkorn, Lucien Freud, Anselm Kiefer, Joan Miro, Franz Klein, Le Corbusier, Louise Nevelson, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, Edouard Vuillard, Rachel Whiteread, John James Audubon, Frank Stella, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Peter Voulkos, and James Castle…and…

When you are not making art what types of activities and interests do you engage in?

I like listening to live music, spending time engrossed in nature, city time, but most importantly spending quality time with family and friends.

About

EJH HeadshotI was born and grew up in Elmhurst, IL. My father was a minister who would sing regularly during services in his beautiful tenor voice.  I was influenced by the glowing jewel toned stained glass windows within the sanctuary. The church choir and the hymns I listened and sang to, created a mesmerizing experience while staring into the leaded glass windows all around.  My mother is a thoughtful and wonderful Psychologist who also spoke about metaphor, relationships, the vast range of feelings we contain as well as and the extraordinary beauty of our world.  My brother and I enjoyed our pets and our family regularly talked about correlations and connections, analogies, visual elements, with singing, playing instruments and particularly listening to a variety of music.

In college, I pursued the humanities, specifically painting and ceramics, and studied art and English literature at Illinois State University and transferred into the painting department at The University of Illinois. In my last semester, I studied art and ecology in England at Wolverhampton Polytechnic.  I graduated from The University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts and a Major in Painting. Desiring deeper meaning into art and the self, I pursued further education and received my Masters Degree in Art Therapy at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Through my education and personal experience I grew more aware and invested in my art work as well as the act of its creation. I lived and had studio space in the extraordinary city of Chicago for 15 years before moving to Wisconsin 6 years ago. Along the same lake as, I found there, a space close to Chicago that had similar elements of nature that resonated with my parent’s birth landscapes.

favorite place in studio ejhI have shown throughout the country, mainly in my home state of Illinois and Chicago, where several of my paintings are permanently installed at the following: Uncommon Ground (Devon and Grace locations), The University of Illinois at Chicago Children’s Center, and Delilah’s. I was co-owner of a gallery called The Gathering Place in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago, IL. I have frequently shown professionally, most notably at The Chicago Cultural Center‘s “People of the Mud II: Another look at Chicago Ceramics”, Silvermine Guild Art Center’s “Craft USA”, The John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s “Eight Counties Art Show”, Prak Sis Gallery’s “Axis International Art Festival”, several shows with Margin Gallery, including their “Sojourn”, “Geographies of the Mind”, and “Retrospective” exhibits, and at The Hudson in Milwaukee, WI. I currently live and work in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and commute often to Chicago and Milwaukee to exhibit my work. 

 www.ericahuntzinger.com

All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.

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