DENVER — AiR TOUR — Issue 8
“Starry Night” by Erik Schlobohm
sM | One social issue that your art speaks to the most?
ES ── I believe the social issue my art speaks to the most is depression. Having worked in mental health for 20 years, I try to help people by creating art that makes them happy. I utilize bright colors and try to create a beautiful world on my canvases that provides the viewer with a sort of sanctum from their stressful existence; thus, providing a visual vacation. I like to paint colorful scenes from the world that surrounds us, while incorporating the natural world to make the viewers of my art feel more connected to the earth, which, I feel, increases joy. I feel that my art is therapeutic.
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sM | What is your takeaway from the experience of working in-studio at Immersive Van Gogh Denver?
ES ── My takeaway is that once people experience being immersed in beautiful artistic masterpieces, it invigorates their interest in the creative process to a higher degree. As a resident artist at the exhibition, I have had a lot of people show interest in my artistic process. People will stop for extended periods just to watch me paint, or to ask questions about the process. For children especially, witnessing an actual artist at work connects them with what they just observed in the exhibition. Having this direct interaction with the community also motivates me to continue creating art that can be enjoyed by all. The art residency, in conjunction with the Immersive Van Gogh experience, is a wonderful idea not just for the artist, but for the patrons.
sM | What inspiration do you get from artists around you?
ES ── The inspiration I get from other artists is when someone creates a piece that changes my perception of what is possible; I enjoy being surprised when viewing art. When I view work that just floors me, I try to imagine how much personal sacrifice, blood, and sweat must have gone into creating it. I’m also inspired by hard work. I know that I’m not alone when I become tired and frustrated with a piece that is challenging me, I know another artist somewhere else is going through this same thing. Great art inspires me to be a more creative artist.