An Elephant for Elephant.

Via Erin King
on Feb 23, 2010
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A few weeks ago, Waylon approached me at elephant’s Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art Open Wall event, where I had a painting on display, and asked if I would be interested in blogging for elephant on topics of art and culture. Initially hesitant, due to my lackluster writing style, Waylon reassured me this would be an informal platform where editorial judgment is kept to a minimum. In his trademark relaxed manner he said, “I hate exclamation points, but other than that, you can pretty much write however you want.” To this I immediately replied, “Wow! Sounds great! Can’t wait to get started!”

Writing to all of you Elephant Journal readers about gallery openings, noteworthy artists, and local art events seems easy enough… but talking about my own artwork is one of the perks of this gig. So for my first post, I thought it would be fitting to talk about one of my oldest, and most popular pieces, the “Teapot Elephant.”

The Teapot Elephant, 1997
Teapot Elephant, 1997

In typical self-deprecating artist fashion, I’ll admit to you that this drawing really irritates me.

It’s become my one-hit wonder, and I can’t seem to convince anyone that the body of work I’ve produced since its creation 12 years ago serves a greater purpose in the world than my so called “cuddly M.C. Escher rip-off.”

Don’t get me wrong, from a technical standpoint, it’s quality work to be proud of, but this piece is cursed by what I suspect strikes fear in the hearts of all struggling artists—maternal adoration. That’s right, people; my mother loves this drawing. Of course I’m not insinuating it’s a bad thing for parents to be proud of their children’s artwork, but trust me when I say my mom’s taste in fine art peaks with the likes of Thomas Kinkade and Mary Engelbreit.

Man, what a total downer for someone who thought they were more aligned with the artistic genius of Frida Khalo and Alphonse Mucha.

It might surprise some of you to hear me blast a piece of my own artwork, but I assure you there is a method to my madness. In fact, allow me to let you in on a little secret: there are many reasons you will hear artists complain about their finished products, but here are a few from my personal arsenal:

1) I am an artist, and therefore afraid of criticism, so to protect myself from your harsh words I will beat you to the punch line.

2) Pent-up resentment towards a piece of artwork I’ve suffered over, enables me to sell the original to a sleazy bar owner for a mere $100, who then hangs it on the wall above the men’s urinal.

3) After three or four months of no sleep, a diet consisting of chocolate chip cookie dough, cold oatmeal & Nyquil, and a $700 hospital bill from a rabid squirrel attack, sometimes you just need something to bitch about.

Well, there you have it, a swift introduction to the art universe as I’ve come to know it.

Next time, I promise to highlight something my mother would totally disapprove of.


About Erin King

The most important thing you’ll ever know about Erin is that, in general, she prefers the company of wild animals to people. It’s not that she doesn’t like you, it’s just that furry critters are much more obvious with their intentions, i.e. they’re either going to eat, maim, or ignore you. Ah, the simplicity of it all. Personally, she finds the rest of this “about me” section to be pretty yawn inducing, but hey, you’re the one that clicked on her name. Erin owns a business in Boulder, CO by the name of Deadwilder Design & Illustration . Under it’s guise she works as a fine artist, scientific illustrator, and graphic designer. She went to college twice, and as a result received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas Tech University in 1999, and a MS in Museum and Field Studies from the University of Colorado in 2005.


6 Responses to “An Elephant for Elephant.”

  1. Welcome, Erin.

    You had me at your first exclamation point. I knew right away you that at the very least you have a sense of humor. The rest of your article made me laugh as well and I'm ready for more.

    Is this an example of your "lackluster writing style"? If so, give us more!!!!!!!!!!!!! (those were for Waylon. I'm such a rebel.)

    Bob Weisenberg

  2. Art Trip says:

    Yipee, some art humor. Art can be so stuffy at times just like that damn yoga!

  3. Hi, Art. Good to hear from you. I won't reveal your true identity. Mum's the word. (Did you consider the name "The Art Writer Formerly Known as _______?" That worked for Prince.)


  4. Ashley says:

    I almost hate to say this, but I do love that piece! Love the post too. In The Guardian a few days ago, the author Anne Enright said, "Only bad writers think their work is good." So maybe it's a good sign that you are "blasting your own artwork."

  5. Art Trip says:

    Thanks Bob. Taking the new incarnation for a test spin around the blogosphere to see how fast these new web legs can go 🙂

  6. Erin King says:

    Bob, Ashley & Art – Thanks for your comments and official welcome. I promise to keep things on the humorous side, so if you're worried about me acting as the "stuffy art columnist", please be advised this will only occur on two occasions: A) When the NEA awards $15,000 for "PissChrist", and B) When I am suffering from seasonal allergy disorder.