Artist Q&A: Erin Raux

Erin Raux is an artist that takes a completely new and refreshing path with her art. In her work, she explores difficult topics like human emotion, connection, death, history, and mourning. Erin believes experiencing the loss of a loved one is an inevitable part of being human. With her utilization of an array of medias, she creates eye catching sculptures and contemporary art that expresses these ideas.

Cough Drop Colored Tongue 3 Raux.jpg

How did you find out about this exhibition?
I fortunately work here at CityArts but I also follow them on FB. It’s an annual show so I knew when to look for it.

How did you decide which pieces of work to submit?
In a juried show it’s always important to learn about the jurors (what they do, what they like etc.) I just got out of graduate school a year ago. I have many things to choose form because of the graduate school experience. I chose works that I am proud of and have had a good reaction from viewers in the past.

Why did you want to participate in this exhibition?
I feel it is important to get your work to a place where it can be seen by your peers / general population. Feed-back is key to a better practice. Also, It just feels good to have your work on display. A little confidence boost is always nice.

What inspired these pieces of work?
In the middle of my graduate school experience I lost my grandmother to cancer. Since then I have made work revolving around memory, death and connection. I feel as though I make work to help keep me connected to the past, but on a broader sense, a way for my viewers to connect with and deal with death or loss.  

What message/ meaning do you hope to convey?
As Americans we deal with death hastily compared to other cultures. I want to give my viewers a feeling of hope as well as wonder and curiosity. I want them to question their own beliefs and consider new ways to cope with loss and tragedy.

Would you describe your process?
I usually start or get inspired by something that is already available to me, A “ready-made”. I go from there. I have a love affair with many different materials such as wax. I kind of have a formula at this point. Where does the wax go? How does that material help convey my message? I ask a lot of questions while making. I also enjoy repetitive making or motion, allowing myself to drift apart from the object I’m trying to make.

What would you say you struggle with the most as an artist?...or... What is your biggest struggle as an artist?
It sounds funny to say, but it’s the “making” part, I struggle most with. I have so many ideas and thoughts (not always) that sometimes the hardest part is actually making “it”.

Was there a goal in mind when thinking about these pieces of work? Was it changed during the process?
My work always changes while I’m making it. I have to improvise when something goes wrong, or not the way I intended. It’s nearly impossible for me to make something I have dreamt up exactly the way I had in mind. That’s one of the best things about my work. It’s flexible.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
I started out as a ceramicist. The best advice I ever received wasn’t advice, rather a question…”Why does this have to made out of clay?” The question opened my mind to the possibilities of other materials. It challenged me to become a better artist.

That’s one of the best things about my work. It’s flexible.
— Erin Raux