Erik Mark Sandberg Saint Maison2.jpg

INTERVIEW WITH ERIK MARK SANDBERG

Get to know one of our favorite artist in Los Angeles: the creator of the pink fluffy portraits.

the interview was done on

31 October 2020

S.M

"Tell us a little bit about you."

E.S

"I’m an artist and academic working out of Los Angeles, CA."

S.M

"Did you start painting at an early age?"

E.S

"Fortunately, yes, as a child I was shipped off to summer extension classes at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. I remember the impact the works and the museum's grandeur had on me as a child."

S.M

"What's life in LA like for you? Besides the hot weather."

E.S

"It’s been a bit of a love/hate relationship lately. The pandemic has decreased the shelf life of the fruit. As an optimist, I’m hoping the city will come back to its former glory soon."

S.M

"Where’s the best place to eat in LA?"

E.S

"Usually, there are too many places to list, but during the Covid, that has changed a bit. The restaurant industry has been hard hit in LA due to the regulations. I did eat at The Eveleigh on Sunset the other night and it was quite good. "

S.M

"What’s your studio like?"

E.S

"The location is lively. The studio in the heart of Hollywood near the iconic Capitol Records building. I appreciate the ability to walk right outside the door to grab some unexpected inspiration."

In my recent works, I tried to construct a similar kind of tension between digital and analog but only with paint, in order to experiment with how such difference in methodology would impact visual experience and reception."

S.M

"Tell us about your daily rituals/routines?"

E.S

"I tend to circle into the studio work then embark on a series of long unhealthy painting marathons. There is usually a documentary or a tv series on in the background just to listen to. I find the continuing narrative assists in passing the long hours at the bench."

S.M

"What sort of music do you listen to?"

E.S

"Hop, 80’s rock, jazz, country, trap, soul, alternative, oldies, etc."

S.M

"Quite a diverse palette. Who inspires you? Or What inspires you?"

E.S

"I think it’s a mix of life experiences and culture."

S.M

"Are there any particular cultures /sub-cultures you relate to? Or fascinated by."

E.S

"Car culture is something I have an affinity for. I used to custom paint cars for a spell. My insta scroll loves a good muscle car barn."

S.M

"Pink Fluffy portraits. This is what we know you for. What's the story behind all the fluffy portraits?"

E.S

"The fluffy or hirsute portraits are related to how psychological can echo the physiological. The hair or hirsutism is a metaphor to describe the effects of populace culture. I'm keen on them possibly being an amplified premonition of self-inflicted reverse Darwinism."

S.M

"Reverse Darwinism is an interesting phrase. What do you mean exactly?"

E.S

"The evolutionary jig seems to go two steps forward one step back at times."

S.M

"Do you fantasize about the past?"

E.S

"I try not to, there’s a reason the windshield is larger than the rear-view mirror. Nostalgia and memory can be a slippery slope."

S.M

"But if you could go back in time, what era would you like to explore?"

E.S

"I’d fire up the Delorean for a cruise through ancient Greece then probably park it in the roaring ’20s for the weekend."

S.M

"Both golden eras of human history. What about the future? Where do you think we are going? Globally…and culturally."

E.S

"The crystal ball is still swirling around, but if the past is any indication of the future, there will be continued periods of innovation and conflict. Unfortunately, patience doesn’t seem to be a virtue in the age of information sharing."

S.M

"Your paintings like ’The Wraith’ and ‘Thunderdome’ seem to hint on topics like the female life and segments of youth culture. Can you tell us a bit more?"

E.S

"For that series of paintings, the mechanics of consumer culture became the conceptual underpinnings. I was thinking about ideas around aesthetic trends and hive mentality."

S.M

"Would you say that those works are a reflection of those phenomena? Modern consumerism in trend, ideas, aesthetics, and hive mentally…or do you have a specific view/opinion on those topics?"

E.S

"Yes, the symbolism in those paintings are a reflection of that phenomenon. I think the paintings change the speed and context in which the consumer vernacular gets processed allowing a different read."

S.M

"Your recent work, like ‘Jello’ and ‘You Name the Kids, I’ll Name the Dogs’ has a tropical feel to it. Is this influenced by your experience living in LA?  "

E.S

"The California dreaming vibe became a character in that series. The works reflect a type of observational zeitgeist derived from daily life in the sun."

S.M

"And we love it. The teddy bear/rabbit that comes up in your recent work. What’s that all about? "

E.S

"I was looking for a metaphor that spoke to the contemporary persona. I ended up investigating vintage cookie jars, and the figurations were based on them. It was the idea of a shiny vessel with unknown internal contents that seemed fitting for the new paintings."

S.M

"Your paintings have pretty sunshine feel to it, contrasting the current chaos in the world. 2020 has been a pretty dark year, bush fire, covid-19, the explosion in Beirut, police brutality, etc. What’s your experience so far? "

E.S

"Yeah, there’s been a lot going on. Every generation seems to have its version of challenges to overcome. The idea of better living through technology is possible, but the road seems to be laced with a few dangers."

S.M

"What sort of danger? "

E.S

"I think the cyber pitfalls range from dependency, privacy, crime, e-waste, etc., but the benefits are just as great which makes for some interesting times ahead."

S.M

"The art world has been changing a lot during the lockdown period, especially towards the online digital world. What’s your view?"

E.S

"The changing modalities of artistic discourse are expanding due to the cultural climate. The increased technological adaptations will carry over to new materials which will ultimately broaden visual language."

S.M

"Tell us a secret."

E.S

"I’ve cut my hair with an oversized pair of Ikea table scissors for the past 9 months."

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