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There is nothing more tantalizing than line quality. Thats what drew me to Erin Hudak's mixed media pieces. Clipps dressed with paint and marker, exclaim quietly with plights of war, sex, and death. Vibrant colors are so sparsely used, but still completely present on an otherwise white washed background.

We has the chance to speak about life, art, and her recent spotlight in the Dumbo Under The Bridge Art Fair:

1. What was the inspiration for the Under the Bridge Festival installation?

I was inspired to make a temporary shelter in response to the tent cities in California and other states as a result of the recession and housing crisis across the U.S.

2. What did you find difficult or unique about this site specific piece?

I wanted to address the tent cities without being trite or insensitive to the gravity of the situation for those who call their temporarily dwellings home. Yet, it was important to me to transcend the initial idea in order to create an installation that conveyed a sense of hope joy. This was a vital part of Rainbow Connection, which is why it was titled as such.

3. What materials do you work with often? Why?

I am deeply interested in paint dripping freely on different materials. Also, I love working with anything in multiples and things that are free or recycled. If you see one red button it means nothing, however, 1,000 red buttons could become anything and my mind goes wild of what I could create. This is how I usually started my installations. I first see the material, then determine how I can create art out of this common material or the found objects. This process is similar in my painting as well, I begin with a found object: paper, note, photo and begin telling the story formally and narrativly from that point.

4. What are some things that you think you/your work struggle with? I have boatloads of ideas, and living in NYC right now I have very little space to physically create them. Thus I have been painting and drawing many of my installations and sculptures without actually making them. This becomes a difficult process to convince yourself to paint something you want to sculpt in 3-D. However, I do think this ‘back door’ approach is important for me to continue right now as it makes me re-think the objects and paintings in a more active way and moves me away from a formulaic way of creating.

5. If you were to describe your work in one word, what would it be? 


7. Do you feel like real life informs the art world or the other way around? Why?

Both. Life and art are both constructed realities. They must operate together. Without the reflection and creation of art (all forms), life is jumble, split into make believe time slots with little meaning, save what you give it. Yet you could say the same for art. If one had no life from which to draw the experience of viewing art what would it mean?  

8. Do you have any rituals when it comes to art-making?

I have worked on ridding myself of most rituals, so I can just begin working now when I am ready. But I used to have really funny rituals, like make a special cup of coffee, sharpening all my pencils (because once I begin painting I am like a tornado) listening to the same song a few times. Now the only thing I do is make sure I have enough space to spread out all my paint bowls and brushes.

9. Where can we see your work now? 2010?

I am working on a new body of paintings using targets, guns and mandalas. I am interested in exploring our cultural history through the love of violence, war and guns. The work is sort of a mess right now, which is the most difficult part of the process, and the most important. It is when the unexpected reaps the most beautiful results. I will be showing in L.A. in February at the Seyhoun Gallery in West Hollywood, and am planning another NYC show for the fall of 2010.

10. What piece of advice would you give others?

Do what makes you feel alive.

11. Favorite installation artist (emerging or well-known)? 

I was completely transformed by the first performance and installation artists I was exposed to: Alan Kapprow, Dennis Oppenheim, Rebecca Horn, Bruce Nauman, Marina Abramovic and Carolee Schneemann. Also, the Womanhouse created by the students at CalArts in 1971 began my artistic interest in creating dwellings and investigating internal environments with installations. Below is a list of artists that have really shaped my artistic practice since those first discoveries in undergrad (in no particular order): Agnes Martin, Ana Mendieta, Ann Hamilton, Bill Traylor, Christopher Wool, Thomas Hirschhorn, Cy Twombly, Eve Hesse, Faith Rinngold, Francis Alys, Ghada Amer, Hannah Hoch, Jenny Holzer, Jenny Saville, Joan Mitchell, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joseph Cornell, Betye Saar, Julie Mehretu, Kara Walker, Kiki Smith, Albert Oehlen, Mary Heilman,Marlene Dumas, Mary Kelly, Martin Kippenberger, Maurizio Cattelan, Michael Behle, Nan Golden, Nancy Spero, Walton Ford, Louise Bourgeois, Phillip Guston, Richard Prince, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Motherwell, Sophie Calle, Alice Neel, Tracey Emin, Neo Rauch, Willem De Kooning

12. How do you feel artists have thrived or suffered in the current economic state?

I began painting about over consumption, environmental irreverence, and the disregard of sustainable, compassionate living  one year before the economic flat-line. The new economic environment has been very difficult for the artist I know. From emerging to famous it has changed everything. Of course, I optimistically hope that change will bring a resurfacing of strong artists who have something important to say that is less motivated by commerce and more motivated by truth.

13. What was Under the Bridge Festival like for you? Have you shown with them previously?

It was really wonderful. I have opened my studio to the public for 4 years. This year I was very happy to create an installation and see people interact with it all weekend. The Rainbow Connection was an immediate favorite with the children of course, but I also loved seeing adults enjoy the hut and use it for a quiet moment alone or with a friend.



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Erin Hudak


Visual Arts
Mixed Media