Although my marketing plan for 2021 includes a weekly visit with a colleague, friend, client or new contact, I decided to get a head start. Last week I met up with Erik Hanson on the #1 train and rode with him to his painting studio in Bushwick. Erik recently heard me speak about my renewed art career and had lots of great thoughts to share with me. I knew I wanted more than a phone call and invited myself to his place of work.
I’d been aware of Erik’s career for awhile, but wanted to gaze at his paintings with my own eyes, not on a screen. Sitting in someone’s place of work (yes, we observed COVID protocols) and simply listening to their story is enlightening, uplifting and educational.
Erik knew he was an artist – through photography first – as a child. Listening to the trajectory of his development while surrounded by pieces of his art filled my soul. One of his most recent series, exhibited at a one-man show through the Marlborough Gallery, [alert to readers: there are R-rated images in this link] was based on the character Bluto from the old Popeye cartoons. Erik took me down that trail explaining about the artist Segar who created the series. It was news to me, even though I avidly watched Popeye as a kid, that Bluto was a body-builder who kept his body hairless to show off the muscles, an icon for gay men before many of them knew they were gay.
There was the three-dimensional matchbook creation based on places Erik had frequented, the magnificent spirals drawn while listening to David Bowie songs, and a recent portrait of a patron in Europe. Each work of art had a mesmerizing story that captivated me as Erik shared it.
My big takeaway from our visit was how lucky artists are to create. What a satisfying life Erik has created, and how filled his days are with beauty, creation and appreciation by his patrons.
Here are more ways to learn about Erik’s paintings and process: