Get to know artist Erin Townsend.
Who are you and what type of art do you do?
I’m Erin Townsend, and I like to create a lot of different visual pieces, from painting to sculpting to etching…basically anything that strikes me at the time. Mainly these days I’ve been addicted to colored pencils, which is bizarre, seeing as I grew up always hating them.
I’ve lived here in South Florida my whole life, and although I don’t go to the beach often, I consider myself very much a Florida Girl.
What’s your background?
I don’t have any real formal training in art, just the usual classes in High School that were somedays the only reason I bothered getting dressed and going.
What art do you most identify with?
Steampunk is the style I gravitate towards. The mixing of natural and man-made elements working together in this crazy symbiotic way is beautiful to me. It is pretty much what South Florida has become over the years, this amazing fusion of high-technology, towering buldings and crazy noises with pockets of serene natural areas tucked within. I mostly identify with classic looks, but like to infuse it with some unexpected touches. I go through phases with which style of art I enjoy, I guess it’s just safe to say I enjoy anything that challenges me to try new techniques or achieve different textures or color variances. Oh! And getting my hands dirty with paper mache’, clay or welding. That always gets me pretty stoked, too!
What’s your strongest art memory of your childhood?
My earliest art memory? Whoa… I guess it would have to be growing up watching my mother. She was a photographer back then, and how she would just naturally know how which colors, compositions, textures and lighting would create this magical piece. I remember watching her laying everything out and positioning it exactly how she wanted the final photo to look, and the feeling it would give. I remember thinking that I wanted to be so talented one day. I still strive to be able to put together a picture, using different mediums anywhere near as emotion-driven as she can.
What do you like about the art world?
My favorite thing about the art-world is the support! It’s this unspoken and awesome phenomenon that happens with people who are driven to create that they immediately have understanding for each other. Artists know that a piece of you is put into your work, and I think most creative people are inherently a little whacky and a touch sensitive, so they naturally know give respect.
What do you dislike about the art world?
The one thing I can say I dislike about the art world is that although it’s everywhere, people don’t recognize it enough. It’s not a secret club. There is no speak-easy style password to being a part of it. I think a lot of people who aren’t “artists” feel threatened like they are going to have a wrong opinion, which is crazy and makes me a little sad.
What makes you angry?
What makes me angry? People being mean for sake of being mean. Not to sound all hippie-dippy on you, but I’m a firm believer in not being a jerk. It’s worked for me so far, I’m hoping it catches on.
What superpower would you have and why?
If I could have any superpower it would be invisibility. What can I say? I’m a creep.
What is your dream project?
My absolute over-the-top dream project would be to one day complete a book of my own illustrations. I have three squids, Ryann, Charlie and Quinn. To leave them a book that their mommy made is the ultimate to me. I don’t need to rule the world, just leave a good mark on my little corner of it.
Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
Three artists I’ve been compared to? Oh my! Recently I was told that I “have the whimsy of Dr. Suess”, that made me pretty happy. Daniel Smith, which blows my mind, I could never even come close to capturing wildlife the way he does. And my personal favorite, Brian Froud. When I received that compliment I was floored. He was one my biggest inspirations growing up.
Favorite or most inspirational place?
My most inspirational place is anywhere there are a lot of trees and not a lot of people. I spend every free moment I get exploring the woods, trails and nature preserves of South Florida. You would be surprised at how much natural beauty there is around us. Mostly untouched and waiting for you to quietly observe it’s awesomness. It’s a great way to clear your mind and get inspired.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever been giving is “go with it”. Not happy with the start of this project? Go with it. See where it goes. Hate something in your life and need change. Go with it. You learn a lot when you force yourself to move ahead.
Professionally, what’s your goal?
My professional goal is to get out there. Illustrate some books. Paint some paintings. Have my work seen by as many people who would like it as possible. Maybe even inspire some people to pick up a pencil. That would be a pretty cool thing.
What wouldn’t you do without?
I could never live without the love and support of my family. My children that are my whole world, my incredibly supportive boyfriend, and my pet ferrets (they keep me company for a lot of late-night doodling sessions, and never mind when I sing ridiculous songs).
Any last words to the fans?
My last words to anyone still tuned in and reading this would be, go with it. Whatever makes you happy, go with it. Spread love. Don’t be a jerk. Make your own comfort level, who cares what people ting. And spread your art everywhere! You never know who is looking and who might be loo