I went to downtown San Diego to meet with Erik Skoldberg, who recently opened a show to over 500 people in La Jolla at Alexander Salazar Fine Art.
His studio is in an old abandoned bank that is falling apart and leaking. It’s a really cool space that reminded me of New York. As I entered this huge, bi-level, open area filled with art, I met Erik and two other artists busy with their creations.
How did you get into painting?
My mom has been an art teacher for 30 years. So I’ve been doing it for as long as I can remember.
How do you choose your colors for a painting?
I get ideas from my travels, experiences and from looking at nature. I try to find organic, smooth, soft combinations that have a lot of movement. I’m an avid surfer and the ocean constantly inspires me. I paint to evoke a feeling. I’m always fascinated by the endless possibility of color combinations. I never stop having ideas because all I have to do is look at my surroundings.
Walk me through the process from creation to end.
Before I start a painting I make a swatch. I combine the colors and blend with water to make new colors. I like the organic, nature feel, so the number of layers in the painting depends on how much water I add. I always try to let some of the original canvas show through to add texture. I usually have at least four layers going and I keep painting until it looks finished. I then frame every single one of my pieces by hand.
How did you find your style?
I found my signature style about four years ago. I like playing with layers, spinning the canvas and adding oils and water to create the acid wash look. I’ve been perfecting it ever since and now it’s almost down to a science. In the beginning, I tried the Jackson Pollack style of painting with dripping oils and water. Trying to create different layers helped me come up with my own style by default. It’s interesting though, no matter how good I get at my own style, I could never repeat a painting. I could use the same colors, try the same layers, yet it never comes out the same. I get two totally different paintings. I flip canvas as I paint to get different bleeds.
What was your big break?
Four years ago, when I was painting in college, I met Alexander Salazar. He said he would give me a show when I completed 100 pieces and I finally did. Eight months ago he signed me and we just recently did the show in La Jolla. I sold four pieces and I’m currently working on custom paintings for clients in the area.
Where is your art currently showcased?
I have a huge 12×12 installation at the Merrill Lynch building downtown and another one going up at the Solamar Hotel. Nine pieces are up at the new modern library in Cardiff.
Can you relate yoga to your art in any way?
I relax when I paint. I think about the continuous movement of the painting to keep that natural flow going. Yoga helps me with relaxation since I’m a fast paced kind of guy. Sometimes I want to rush through the painting because I have the idea and I want to get it out. But art is about taking the time to get the right brush strokes. I sometimes use meditation music to help focus my energy but the most important thing to me is keeping my mind relaxed so the painting flows through me.
Erik will be donating a painting at the Buddhi Launch Party on March 10th. Don’t miss it and sign up here.
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