Each month we feature one of our awesome & successful IndieMade sellers. This month, get to know Erica Harris!
In a nutshell, what do you do?
I'm primarily a collage artist. I also draw, paint, sometimes sculpt, and sometimes teach.
How did you get started & how long have you been doing this?
Many members of my family were artists, so, I have very early vivid memories of interesting art supplies around: weighty tubes of acrylics with mysterious names, nice sharp little scissors, a transparent green plastic French curve on a drafting table with a clean sloped surface...ahhh. I think that's half the battle to making art- easy access to materials and a little space to work.
What’s your creative inspiration?
I'm inspired by mid-century matter, foreign alphabets, hand-made objects and utensils from around the world, and the re-use of scraps and debris.
Where do you want to go next?
I love to travel to new places and uncover both the challenges and grace of cross-cultural collaboration. This could mean connecting on any level: teaching mural-making to 5th graders, or a short conversation with a neighbor about cooking. Sometimes, with no common language, the most beautiful expressions of humanity come across very clearly. Because of this, I keep seeking out ways to travel to other countries and get involved in community exchanges.
My next residency is in Gujarat, India. Chhaap Printmaking Studio in Baroda, Gujarat, has invited me for a one month residency. I will be hosting workshops, exhibiting my work, and experimenting with new media in their studio. Outside of their gallery, Chhaap is also facilitating mini-shows in unlikely places such as ice cream parlors and restaurants. This is something new for the art scene in India, and I look forward to participating.
What’s the best part about what you do?
I think this is also the best part of what I do: being able to use art as a medium of expression and connection to reach across what are seemingly wide chasms.
Also, it's fun to make things that weren't there before from scraps of what was! As my friend Henrietta says : to pull things out of the unmanifested world.
What one piece of advice would you give to others who are just starting out?
Gosh. I feel like I am always 'just starting out' and looking for advice myself. Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed about what I should focus on, I remember a professor in college giving the advice to 'not worry so much about business and promotion. Just concentrate on making the art until you're at least 40, then see where you are.' Well, sounds nice, and has some truth in it, but we all know that's not very realistic (I'm 39, by the way). My major obstacle these days is the constant examination of how business, promotion and creating are all part of the same machine. But that is not advice.
I guess what has helped and inspired me a great deal: make it a priority to travel to other countries and see how they do things. It might be a life-changing perspective shift. And those are hard to come by.
Also: using stuff from the trash is a great way to save money on overpriced art supplies.
What’s your favorite anything?
Place: Kensington, Brooklyn (it's where I live!)
Current materials: string! And thread, twine, and celuclay.
Any kind of chocolate covered caramel (sea salt caramels, pixies, etc.).
Visit Erica's shop to learn more about her and her work!