Erin Anfinson

Q&A with Erin Anfinson & Gallery Director Laura Moriarty

LM: Do you think of your artwork as a form of activism?

EA: Shy of activism, I do consider my recent work to be a platform for reflecting my concern with several troubling environmental issues. As mentioned in my artist statements, I question the degree to which the public can be informed and misinformed about these issues through the interpretive lens of media.  As information consumers, we are inundated with conflicting perceptions and politicized opinions about subject matter of all kinds. 

I think it can be challenging to rationalize one’s speculative fears about issues with far reaching consequences like disappearing honeybee colonies or commercially produced chemicals that leach into our environment and bodies. The answers to these problems are yet unclear.  Presently, we are left with disparate theories about how to live in this changing environment.  I don’t aim to provide answers in my imagery, but I hope that my work will foster awareness and generate a dialogue amongst viewers about a subject matter we all share in common. 

LM: You work with menacing subject matter, but make it all look so beautiful! Can you talk a bit about this dichotomy?

EA: Grotesque imagery is powerful for me because of its ability to draw a viewer close to beauty despite its horrific or menacing qualities. There’s an element of suspended disbelief that I find compelling when viewing this type of imagery. Like science fiction, per se. It’s an awful beauty!

LM: What effect has becoming a parent had on you as an artist?

EA: Becoming a parent has had a significant impact on my work as an artist.  Naturally, there was a break in my studio practice after my son was born in 2008, but I feel like that pause encouraged me to refocus my efforts in a variety of ways.  For one, the content of my work changed because I was thinking a little more literally.  In other words, it began to reflect a concern with my child’s future.  The issues regarding his well being included things like his exposure to environmental contaminants and a general regard for humanity as in my concern with the colony collapse of honeybees.









LM: How are you able to make such detailed drawings working with encaustic?

EA: For several years, I’ve been trying to come up with ways to use encaustic in a more controlled and detailed manner. By combining encaustic monoprinting, collage and image transfer techniques along with a heated pen tool, I’ve started to achieve the results I was hoping for.  One of my favorite aspects of this medium is it’s versatility!   

LM: Do you have any upcoming projects or shows you would like to let people know about?

EA: From June 8 – October 28, 2012, the Viscera and Testing God series will be featured an exhibition titled, Metamorphosis, at The Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville, TN.  (  This summer I’ll be busy preparing a new body of encaustic works for an October show at Antelope Valley College in Lancaster, California and a 2013 exhibition at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. 


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