Today we’d like to introduce you to Erin Wicker.
Hi Erin, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I started off as a very short human with a strict mormon upbringing. I was homeschooled until 10th grade due to the evil environment public schools would have exposed me to. The 3rd out of six children. I desperately wanted to create and be free. Stereotypical artist, I was the black sheep of the family, running away at age 16 with my high school boyfriend (stealing his dad’s car and making it from Tennessee to Ohio before getting caught)… to high school dropout.
I moved in with a dear friend and finished high school and went to art school at the University of Tennessee graduating Cum Laude. In college, I met the love of my life. We started the band “Imagination Head” and recorded five albums over ten years. We married in 2007 in Memphis.
Art was my priority. We always rented a two-bedroom apartment so that I could have a studio. I worked day jobs and painted. I tried Etsy, children’s book illustration (four published books), artist markets mixed with more day jobs. Small successes. My art was featured on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, a few Atlanta murals and small gallery and coffee shop exhibits. Two kids later, I was a preschool art teacher and lost my job due to the pandemic. In 2019, Jena Dost, Erin Drakeford and I started F.I.R.E. Feminists, Inspire, Respect, Empower.- a critique group to strengthen the art community in Atlanta. In 2021, we opened a gallery and artist residency program. We partnered with ELEVATE and curated a huge mural festival, hiring 20 artists, musicians and performers. Artists painted live, covering The Beacon’s exterior walls. We raised $30,000!
2020 hit, unknowingly throwing us into the role of a frontline family. My husband was an ICU nurse and going through grad school. It was very difficult. Friends/family were afraid of our risk of exposure. The trauma the pandemic put on medical workers severely affected our family and I lost my love of 20 yrs to a mental breakdown. We separated in February this year. I don’t think this would have happened otherwise and I’m angry that there wasn’t more mental help provided by hospitals for the trauma from countless deaths experienced from the pandemic. My husband was the last voice heard, the last hand held. He was the one calling families about the death of a loved one (sometimes the family never even knew their loved one was sick with covid because it happened so quickly). On top of that, dealing with the divisive politics when we were seeing the realness of the pandemic. I found myself suddenly a single mom, having to give up my role at the Arts Beacon and struggling to find time to create, while desperately needing health insurance and regular income to take care of my babies. I’m fighting. I’m giving my 4 & 8 yr old double love while protecting us financially and pursuing my dreams. My husband continues to struggle with PTSD. The medical field needs to provide more intervention and relief to their employees.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Welp. I feel like I addressed that already. Yes. There have been struggles. My son has ASD & ADHD but I have done a lot of research and pulled from my village. I am proud to say that, after several open conversations with my son, he understands himself so much more and expresses his boundaries and that has made a world of difference. Now that I’m a single mom, I have struggled finding time to create. My goal is at least an hour a day, dedicated to working on my dream to become a real, live boy…I mean, working artist.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I find myself inspired by nature, natural patterns, power/strength and the magical energy surrounding us. More specifically, patterns created by organic life interacting with abiotic materials: the roots of trees crumbling sidewalks while the top branches are oddly manicured to avoid power lines. Bark beetles that eat winding lines into that same tree, ant piles nearby with a maze of tunnels underneath…. It is a dance of little life bubbles and adaptation. I think of my own personal patterns and my impact on my neighborhood, city, world, universe.
I often imagine an aerial view of my personal patterns and have started documenting those configurations. Very recently, my patterns have come to an abrupt/traumatic change: a fork in the road. I am curious to see how this will change my art.
My work incorporates installation, clay, found materials, natural materials and paint. I’m inspired by cultural burial rituals, ancient Egyptian art, mythology, animal mating rituals and patterns.
I would say I’m most known for my incorporation of nature in my art, specifically cicadas. The symbolism of rebirth and change fascinate me.
Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I am constantly working on music playlists (mix tapes for those who are my age). I’m really good at games (except for Cards Against Humanity) and am currently on a 100% streak with wordle 138 out of 138, woot woot! Crazy tube guys are my spirit animal. Mosquitos are my worst enemy. I am really lucky and have an uncanny ability to spot 4 leaf clovers. I love Kanye, I don’t care what people say. I have been watching American Idol forever. I’m not that into sweets. I get embarrassed during sex scenes in shows/movies.
- Art typically priced between $45-$1000
- Website: www.erintgreat.com
- Instagram: @erintgreat