Erin McCarthy

3rd year, Double Major Art Education & Art History

acrylic paint on canvas
60” x 60”

As the selected artist for ‘Les journées de la culture à Quebec’ in 2008, I was asked to represent my idea of community. Living in Mont-Tremblant at the time inspired the mountain as the back drop for the painting which is the center of this community. The diverse androgynous figures in the foreground symbolize the diversity of individuals living within this community and by extension, the global community. They are emblems of the different ages, ethnicities and gender that shape a community’s character and personality. The colorful palette represents the changing seasons, both figuratively and metaphorically, which advance a community and build it’s history. The double panel plays on the notion of individuals coming together to form a community.

Artist statement

As artists, we are influenced by the world around us. We may produce work engaged with environmental issues, political content, concern for social justice, influenced by visual culture or simply intending to depict and convey beauty. We produce concepts that fit our personal style, and conceive themes based on our life experiences. We are driven by a hunger to create, a need to express, and the desire to perform.

My life as an artist is an ongoing evolution. Every morning, my brain awakes and my eyes open to a new session of exploration and stimulation, often so overwhelming that I feel winded by the marvel of our existence.

Nature’s beauty and its ruin, reciprocity and hate, the inner voice and the unconscious mind, love and deception, nostalgia and the human condition – these are the Masters, and I the apprentice. Colors trigger my imagination like bullets with dragonfly wings – fierce yet delicate, woven with symbolism and charged with emotional impact. Although I may not produce physical evidence of my passion each day, it remains in my being as an enchanting virus that infects me in the most exquisite way. It surfaces without warning, and then manifests itself through hand to the canvas, or eye to the lens. When it is done, I reflect, somewhat mesmerized by the occurrence.

Teacher statement

My childhood art teacher used to chant a catch phrase in her classes: “Don’t rush the brush!” The class would respond “Cause the paint don’t go on smooth…!” Regardless whether her students were kids, teens or adults, or whether that particular week we were working with watercolor, chalk pastel, or soapstone carving, this motto always made sense to us. In fact, to this day I remind myself of this chant whenever I am frustrated with my work, or even with life in general. This phrase resonates with me because it suggests a perfect recipe for teaching and learning: logic, creativity, interaction, recreation, and language. In my teaching, I aim to apply these qualities, which I believe are prerequisite to any type of student’s learning of art. I believe teaching skill and technique in visual art is important, but for me, it is the overall experience of making that inspires growth and creativity.