Artist Erin Hammond Peels Back the Paint Layers to Give Us a Peek at Her Process

From by Carly Zinderman
Artist Erin Hammond Peels Back the Paint Layers to Give Us a Peek at Her Process

Erin Hammond's art pieces are deceptively simple at first glance—you may think the pieces comprise of a few lines drawn with color washes—but if one looks long enough, layers of effort become startlingly obvious. With a host of influences, from her creative parents to Expressionist movements, the American artist draws on her life experiences as an artist and actor, combining her passions with inspiration to create stunning works.

Intrigued by her beautiful work, we had quite a few questions for Hammond and thankfully, she obliged. 

Erin Hammond, art, interview

JustLuxe: How did you get started?

Erin Hammond: Well, I like to say that I started as an artist in the womb. […] Expression of self was always apparent in my home: my father was a musician and a hair dresser [and] my mother went to school for Horticulture […]—she was, and still is, an amazing poet and writer […]. Never was there a dull moment. I started painting very young and loved staying after school in the art rooms and theater. I continued to major in painting, sculpture, and theater in college.

JL: Who are your primary influences?

EH: I am a huge fan of German Expressionism. […] One artist in particular that I admire is Kathe Kollwitz. She endured an amazing amount of persecution, pain and loss; her son died in WWI [and] she experienced the toils of early industrial life first hand. She was persecuted by Nazis (her work was included in their degenerate show in 1937) and her apartment was destroyed in air raids during WWII. She had an incredible ability to keep creating beauty even though life around her was destitute. Other inspirations are Gustav Klimt, Edgar Degas, [Auguste] Rodin and Stephen De Staebler.

Erin Hammond, art, interview

JL: How do you define your work?

EH: My work is a collaboration of multiple styles and layers of my life and my experiences. Emotionalism and Romanticism seem to be the generic styles I would fit into with a contemporary streak. Color and its placement is something I will never stop learning and experimenting with. I like to explore the differences between a controlled coloring book and a choppy, unresolved drawing. I enjoy playing with modern marks with classical themes. I am influenced by fashion and the way art history repeats itself—my studio is filled with bookshelves of Vogue magazines and art history books. My subject matter currently is women; I love to express the good and the bad, the beautiful and the unflattering parts of ourselves.

JL: You also act; how do the two intersect?

EH: […] The two are my alter egos/love affairs. I go between them back and forth, and sometimes both at once. I can’t seem to decide which is greater in my heart and soul. So far, I go with my gut, my heart, and taking the right opportunities. I have to distance myself sometimes from one or the other, but they both always come back.

Erin Hammond, art, interview

JL: Do you find one influences the other?

EH: Yes, in many ways. They both help me get to the root of who I am in a film or who I am creating on the canvas. Film and theater influence my canvas without a doubt [and] vice versa. There are many personas and characters I love to portray that I create through painting first, and then to life and theater. Working through the rough edges and lines of a canvas, […] wrestling with my ideas and coming to the realization that it already is in me […], are exactly inside the workings of a believable and moving scene.

JL: As you said, much of your current subject matter is about women, how did that come about?

EH: Well, I love the human body. Figure drawing was my favorite art class in college. I love the continuous lines [and] I can people watch for hours. I think we are quite amazing beings. I am definitely an advocate for beauty and [accepting] yourself for who you are. […] Currently in our era I believe us woman need the most support to be ourselves and to love ourselves exactly how we are. Through pain, love, happiness and destruction caused by others and or the media, we can choose to listen or to truthfully embrace and accept our own identity and selves.

Erin Hammond, art, interview

JL: What are you currently working on?

EH: I am currently working on a large piece titled Intertwine, in which multiple bodies encompass the canvas. It is definitely inspired by Gustav Klimt and a little bit of Rodin. I love working bigger, [rather] than smaller. […] I am super excited about this piece at hand in which it will have six or more bodies arranged.

JL: Do you have an upcoming show?

EH: I do have a few projects brewing. No dates are set yet, but three are in process. You also can […] see my latest pieces displayed at the Kunstwarenhaus gallery in Zurich, and [the] Artspace Warehouse […] and Clad Home […] in Los Angeles. 

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