Saturday, March 5, 2011

Interview with Erik Otto

q)Who are you? Where are you from and where do you live now?

a)I am Erik Otto. Some people call me Otto -- depends on you know me. I am from the land of slpeeing giants...also know as the South Bay (San Jose), California. My dad lost his job, and after college graduation...they relocated to Arizona and I made my way up to San Francisco to dive head first into the arts.

q)What is it that you do? What media do you use?

a)I make beauty out of trash. I paint, build, and overall create artwork and installations from materials I find, reclaim and repurpose to suit my needs -- mostly wood and paint, but I have been experiementing more with electrical.

q)What do you think sets your work apart?

a)My story. My emotional content. With the internet giving us access to worlds we could never see before, people love to point out similarities of my work to others and vice versa. I aim to produce work that matters...not as concerned with what makes me different. Hopefully that just becomes obvious over time. I'm only just getting going.

q)How long have you been showing your work for? Did you have a “big break?”

a)My first piece of art was probably a macaroni and glitter face in grade school. I showed it to my mom...she liked it...and I haven't stopped since. No but seriously, I have always been creating and sharing. I think I made the conscious decision to focus and make a career out of it in 2001. From there, I did every you could possibly think of (mostly worked for free) and one thing always leads to the next. You do good work on something...chances are someone will notice and that can lead to your next move. No such thing as a "big break" -- sounds like a great way to get disappointed. It's always endless hours of unnoticed work that leads to what the viewers see as a big break. The reality is mix great ideas with working crazy hard and throw in a sprinkle of luck and you will succeed.

q)What are some things that have inspired you?

a)The obvious, music (I played drums for 8 years), spirituality, the great outdoors, the hustle and bustle of a big city. Other include but are not limited to long distance cycling, foreign films, human ingenuity, reclaimed materials, street art, San Francisco, green architecture, and an occasional book.

q)What have you been working on recently?

a)More installation work. Taking my concepts further and making them three-dimensional. There is something about problem solving in three-dimensional form that brings on a whole new set of challenges and excitement. Also wanting to do more work that lives in the public domain -- with or without permission. Art should be for everyone...not just the gallery crowd, which is just one group of people. I will always be a painter at heart, but having a variety of platforms keeps things fresh.

q)Do you listen to music while you create your work? If so, would you give some examples?

a)Yes..if not all the time. Currently istening to Four Tet, Bonobo, Sigur Ros, Juana Molina, Flying Lotus, Electric Wire Hustle, Beyond Jazz Radio, Dublab Radio, Grown Kids Radio...and whatever pops up on my Pandora.

q)Do you do work in any other media? Other projects not necessarily related to your main body of work?

a)I think as of right now, everything I do relates back to my artwork and it's sort of better that way. If I am not doing art, I am off hiking a mountain and do something completely not work related.

q)What advice do you have for artists looking to show their work?

a)Make good work you care about. Make work that matters. People are busy, broke and concerned with the fate of the world...why should they care about your pretty little piece of art. Make them care. Get off the internet and produce work from your heart. Do what you love and love what you do. The business will come when it's time.

q)Do you have any upcoming exhibitions of your work that you can mention?

a)5-person show at Double Punch Gallery, March 26 in SF. Group show at Mallick Williams, April 21 in NYC. Potential international shows in the works.

q)Where can people see more of your work on the internet?


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