Comically sad and sometimes grotesque, the visions of artist Erick Knudtson are a new and interesting addition to the lineup of talented artists and makers at the upcoming Maker Market. New to the market scene, his cutout screenprints, printed t-shirts, and original artwork are in his own words a ‘bit more art garage sale.’ This is a sale not to be missed as moving onward for this artist maybe in the near future. Somewhat elusive and full of characters, artist Erick Knudtson shares some of his insights and life experiences from creating on the road to sitting still.
Maker Market: You are kind of hard to creep on the internet...is that intentional?
Erick Knudtson: Ha! It used to be somewhat intentional. Probably from watching Terminator 2: Judgement Day too many times. At the moment, I just don't spend a lot of time on social media and I have a pretty lazy web-presence because i would rather be working in the studio than marketing myself. It’s something I need to get better at. I’m not opposed to social media, it can just be a bit time consuming.
MM: Where are you from? How did you get here?
EK: I’m from Elkhorn, WI. I went to school at UW-Whitewater and then traveled around for a couple years. Then I ended up in Milwaukee. Looking forward to traveling again and making art on the road.
MM: Where did you travel on your first trip? How did it influence your art?
EK: The most influential trip was a couple years ago when I traveled with two very close friends for a year in a motorhome. We stayed at some residencies in Iowa and Tennessee, and moved around everywhere in between. It was incredible! Too many life changing experiences to even begin. A far as how it influenced my art, it made me realize that you don't necessarily need a studio to be an artist. You need to learn to work with what you've got and draw inspiration from every experience you encounter.
MM: Where would you travel to next? Are you a planner or a go with the flow kind of person?
EK: Not sure where or what is next. I will say that I've got a terrible case of wanderlust so hopefully I'll be moving around soon! Absolutely a "go with the flow" type person with anxiety flares when things don't go as planned!
MM: What mediums do you work in and do you favor some more than others?
EK: I’ve tried my hand at a lot of different materials. Painting and printmaking are my favorite mediums to work in. I’ve also worked on some animation projects in the past that have been a lot of fun.
MM: When and how did your creativity first bud? Were you a creative kid?
EK: I’ve always loved to draw. My middle school and high school didn’t have any kind of art program so I think that starved me in a good way. When I got to college I dove right in and have been drawing, painting, printing, etc… ever since.
MM: It is astounding that schools do not have art programs or that art programs are getting cut left and right. How do you think having more experience as a young person would have changed your outlook on art?
EK: It definitely would have been nice to be exposed to more art and creative processes at a younger age. Ironically, I am somewhat glad that I wasn't because it made me that much more hungry to experience every process I could at a later age. Having said that, I do think that it is terribly sad when it seems like the arts are the first to go in schools that need to make some cuts. The arts should be the last to go. Luckily there are a lot of creative programs outside of the public school system that can supplement to a certain extent.
MM: What inspires the people you draw? Are they inspired by real people or inspired by the process?
EK: I wouldn’t say any of the pieces are “portraits” or are meant to portray any particular person. I start with a reference photo of some sort then tend to distort and exaggerate features because it makes the characters… well I guess it makes them become “characters”. It makes the figures playfully comical , yet somewhat unsettling. I’ve always like to juxtapoz the silly with the dire, laughter with sobs, the heavy with the light.
MM: As a newcomer to markets what can shoppers expect to see from you?
EK: I tend to be a little bit more art garage sale than craft fair. I will have t-shirts, cut out prints, buttons, postcards, and maybe a few other things.
MM: What is currently inspiring you? Art? Music? IG accounts? Movies?
EK: I guess as far as art is concerned, I’ve been looking at a lot of Hieronymus Bosch, Durer, the Flemish Primitives, Outsider art, and some contemporary artists. I follow a lot of skateboarding on IG so I guess that style makes its way into my work. I also love horror and sci-fi movies which definitely play into some of the ideas and aesthetic decisions in my work.