Alert, this interview is not about sewing! I am writing about Erica because I feel her growth in the art field since meeting her is very inspiring. This cocoon to butterfly change is so beautiful when you get to see it in action. This can hold true to all media, art forms and of course sewing. As you will see – she has been so fun to follow over the years! Thank you Erica!
Introduce yourself and tell us and how many years you have been an artist?
My name is Erica Blackstock and I’ve been creating my whole life. It started consuming me in high school. I had an amazing art teacher that inspired me and pushed me to create. A lot of my work is dark art, including high school, she was the first person to tell me that dark art was ok. I’m not content with one medium, acrylics, watercolor, plaster, making dolls -to dollhouses. My work is very dark … and some not.
I would describe your art as fun, whimsical and a little creepy. Can you tell me more about your work. I know your art used to be more horror themed, did you have a turning point?
For a long time I created dark art because I enjoyed the shock value. No one was looking at the technicalities but were reacting to the gore and reaction. I have the privilege of showing my work next to some brilliant artists in Dayton and I wanted to stand out.
My love has always been with surrealism and in my head I felt this was the surreal way to display myself. For a while I was not as comfortable painting as I am now. I worked on mostly vintage mannequins, trying to top myself with everything new creation. How I chose what medium I use depends on what I’m creating it for. I participate in every themed show I can and sometimes I feel a doll or a mannequin or a painting fits best.
My turning point came 3 years ago when I was asked to be part of an amazing fundraiser event, the Dayton surrrealist ball. I was asked to create things weird beyond weird but not crossing over to the dark side of my art. It was hard. Dark art was my comfort zone and surrealism is my love. The ball set my mind free. I was able to obtain the shock value without grossing people out. It was an incredible sense of pride.
By the third year of the ball, I was the head art director. My art began to change after the first ball. By the second surrealist ball, my brain was really exploding.
My main task is to create art out of a secondary upstairs kitchen. So I have kept the kitchen as a theme in that room through out the years. Each year having a table setting. The second year I made the choice to create the eyeball family. Which consisted of a mom and dad with an eyeball head and a baby with a eyeball face. I made the two parents heads out of plaster but I had a blank muslin doll at home where I just painted an eye on it… the room turned out amazing and the eye people were a big hit… so after that night I bought 5 or 6 blank muslin dolls and painted eyes on them and I started collecting doll hair and doll clothes. I took the dolls to a couple conventions and sell them every now and then. I can make 3-6 in one night. I do not like creating the same thing twice, this year I had to do something different.
You also have a lot of food art and I know from Facebook you are obsessed with hot dogs. Can you tell us more?
One of my most favorite childhood inspirations is peewee Herman and his refrigerator is one of my favorite parts. I wanted to create a room with the essence of peewee so I created food with faces and had vintage cartoons playing … I created solid madness. Alongside my love for peewees fridge, I love talking food haha I love the look of food, it’s hard to explain. My love for hotdogs well I love hotdogs lol
What is your favorite piece?
My favorite piece depends on my mood lol or I can say I have a lot of favorite pieces lol I have a two headed doll I created, an eyeball skateboard, a Freddy Krueger dollhouse, a skinless mannequin and a few clown paintings those are a few. I guess I can say maybe not favorites but ones I’m super proud of! I can’t stop creating. I keep going because I have to.
What drives you to keep making pieces?
Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, it’s impossible in my world. Themed art shows keep me active in showing my work although my house is FULL of unfinished pieces. Even if I don’t feel like painting, I do. I pull out 2 canvases and paint two things at once- one is awful and I paint over it eventually but by doing this I’m able to have more control on the other piece (if that makes sense)
Do you have any goals for 2018?
My goal for 2018 is to show and sell more. My house is shrinking due to my nonstop creating. Taking more time on one piece. I feel the need to purge the imagery out of my head quickly or I’m extremely dissatisfied until it’s all out.
What advice do you give new aspiring artists?
The advice I have for other artists is keep going and learn from criticism. I beg for people to criticize my work… progression is everything. When I compare my work from 10years ago to now, it’s insane!! I try to progress with each piece (jumping mediums has helped the most with that) Oh and ALWAYS challenge yourself.
Thank you so much Erica for being an inspiration on the community. If you would like follow Erica she has a page on Facebook, Erica Blackstock’s Dark Art.
Behind the scenes~
My insta dress workshop at Cox Arboretum went amazing! I can’t believe people came out in such cold weather to my class. I am honored! Here is a gallery of the photos. The Insta Dress pattern from the class with directions is now in PDF form and available to the public.
Thank you for reading,
Dream it, Sew it!