Rather than the result of a linear process wherein I conceive of an idea and use painting to “explore”  or depict a pre-determined concept, my work is an intuitive expression of multiple ongoing influences and experiences. Some of these factors are apparent to me while others remain undefinable.

When I took up studio space near the railroad tracks and 1920’s-era depot, I was reminded of a gift— an old railroad bolt— that I had long since thrown away. I foraged the periphery of the tracks, gathered a collection of discarded railroad spikes and arranged haphazard piles of them in the studio. These piles prompted me to resurrect a handful of antique nails, which I had salvaged some years previous from a friends’ home I helped demolish.  At that time, I had photographed the nails as a high-contrast, “spidery nest.”

The early paintings began as, more or less, objective images- reminiscent of that tight, cluttered bundle in the initial photograph.  I created images of the nails and spikes over and again— in charcoal, graphite, mixed media on paper and in larger format, oil paint on canvas.

The piles appeared as monumental as landscapes.

These instruments— that once bound together structures— are now twisted, bent, rusted and used. But, I am not attempting to make something beautiful out of refuse, nor do I wish to illustrate the items themselves, nor any particular attribute such as rust.  While the paintings are derived from the objects, they are not of the objects.

My work could be most closely aligned with the expressionist movement.  While I do not use items symbolically, it’s important to recognize that inspiration for my imagery is rooted in the material, sensual world. At the same time, traits such as my coloring and mark making cannot be extricated from an internal, subconscious sensibility, which may be given equal time in the final painting. I use the corporeal world as a springboard, but while painting, I trust my gut instinct.


erica m. szuplat is an artist with a studio on Cape Cod. From 2013 – 2016, she maintained a studio space open to the public at Cataumet Arts Center.

She studied Fine Art at The Art Institute of Boston and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts (Boston) and holds a degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Lesley University.


Whatever her subject, erica is interested in capturing a sensibility that is authentic to her own experience. Rather than subscribe to a particular method of painting based on a preconceived and singular theory of art, her work is the result of attempts to discover her beliefs about the world through the act of painting. Her paintings are an expression of the moments or feelings at hand.

She is committed to painting in oil in the studio and on site, believing the richness and depth of color of the medium is unparalleled. Her energetic, painterly style is an expression of the variety of colors she perceives and her innate love of brushwork and the texture of paint.

The starting point of her images are typically items she possesses but the use of these items aims wider than their material aspect and, like her color palette, while meaningful, is not directly symbolic.

erica continues her lifelong love of drawing by sketching daily life and overseas travel in pen & ink and watercolor. She occasionally organizes public Sketchcrawls (informal sketch meetups).

Commercially, she has sold a collection of humorous illustrations as fine art prints and designed logos, custom cartoon digital illustrations, illustrations for print and online advertisement, handpainted signage and has been commissioned to design mosaic murals.


erica is an active member of her local art community, as a volunteer for civic arts organizations and non-profits, a member of professional associations, occasionally offering art instruction, and sometimes writing on the arts and creating public art projects.

*photo by ben allsup