erica m. szuplat
What I Do
Taking a crayon to my furniture and the back of the bathroom door as a toddler. Doodling excessively on the pages of grade school assignments. Learning drawing techniques in a children’s class in the rustic building of the local artists guild. Sketching friends during high school classes, at the coffee shop, the view out the bedroom window, or on a cross-country adventure. Organizing my suite-mates, my first semester at college, to paint a mural covering the long wall of our common room. After hours, solo, creating in the printroom at art school, knowing it's where I'm meant to be. A lifelong practice of drawing in daily life is the root of my art-making, which has grown to encompass a wider experience of the world in color and paint.
Why draw? A natural inclination. A subconscious compulsion. A socially acceptable manner of channeling antsy energy in a constrained environment. Critical theories and literary musings on what compels humans to create attribute shamanic intention to early artists, an attempt to conjure spiritual and magical benefits from cosmic and celestial sources, or resolve subliminal conflict. Perhaps, like me, they simply had a feeling— simultaneously superficial and deeply inextricable from who they were at their core.
On a surface level, I simply feel compelled to draw— I recognize the urge to use my hands. No complex evolutionary forces drive my practice. Just the sensation of the soft pencil dragging across the paper. I delight in the marks that are brought into existence— one line tucking into another, a heavier edge becoming lighter as I lift the pressure of the pencil, the smooth side of the point creating a block of shading with no perceptible delineation.
It's true, this impulse also exists deep within me, and arises from an inner place that is unknowable with words— pre-verbal and undefinable. Inseparable from my being, and yet without psychological constructs of secret meaning or interpretations toward greater purpose.
It can’t be explained, it simply is.
whether at home or traveling abroad, erica continues her drawing practice in everyday life, sketching in pen & ink and watercolor. she paints in oil in the studio, en plein air, and as part of local portrait painting groups.
she has previously designed and sold her signature collection of humorous illustrated prints, designed logos, created custom cartoon digital portraits, illustrations for print and online advertisement, and hand-painted signage.
an active participant in her local art community, erica is a member of professional associations and a volunteer with civic arts organizations and non-profits. she occasionally offers art instruction, is a published writer on the arts, and has designed and assisted in the creation of public art projects.
erica studied Fine Art at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and The Art Institute of Boston and holds a bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Art from Lesley University, Boston, MA.
Join erica for a figure/portrait painting demo at Southampton Art Society, November 20, 2023.
Full details available here.
Arches Open Studios Southampton 2023
Saturday 2nd September 2023 10 am – 5 pm
Sunday 3rd September 2023 10am – 5 pm
Southampton SO14 3FE
Public Art Projects
more info coming soon