Spotlight on the Artist
Eric Olmstead (https://www.instagram.com/ericcharlesolmstead/) is an artist who has spent much of his life travelling the world, something that pulses through his art as much as it does his veins. We talked to him about his work and his roaming lifestyle.
Which is your favourite city to sit and draw?
There is a small town in the North of Taipei, Taiwan named Beitou. It’s just far enough from downtown to escape and take refuge in nature and just close enough to the city to still be energetic and lively on a local level. I tend to hide and draw in this contrasting balance of organic vs. geometric energy.
What’s one thing you can’t live without when you’re on the road?
One time I thought I had lost my sketchbook. Lucky it was only my new laptop, ID, cash and credit cards that were stolen!
Your work is generally very evocative of a certain place. What is it you try and capture of a town/city/country where you’ve been? And why is it important for you to chronicle your experiences through art?
My travel sketchbooks are full of stories and many secrets that the viewer may not even be aware of. I like to think that I have a love affair with each place that I experience, never knowing what the narrative is going to be. Forcing the process is hopeless, therefore I can not attach any importance to it.
When did you realise you could make a living from your art and what did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was really young I wanted to be adragon. So I would always draw dragons. My friends at school would ask me, “Can you draw one for me?” So I ’d go home and draw a dozen or so dragons and bring them to school the next day. In exchange for these drawings I made some friends, hereby realizing the value of the ability to create something in exchange for something else. However I ’m still working
on becoming a dragon.
Who or what particularly inspires you?
People tend to inspire me, not places. Most of all people that are in the same shoes that I was in over a decade ago when I quit my day-job, moved out of my apartment and got rid of all of my things for the purpose of traveling. I see the excitement on their faces, and the fear. It’s an extremely exciting time.
How does technology, specifically graphic design, come into your creative process?
I view technology as another tool and I use it however possible. Lately, I ’ve been
animating my sketchbook pages with Adobe After Effects. It tends to bring them
to life in a different way.
Do you ever get creative block and what do you find relieves it?
I believe this creative block is part of the creative process itself. If we didn’t have
time during which we were not creative then we would never know when we were
actually being creative.
And finally, can we expect a visit to Val d’Isere any time in the future?
Indeed you can. I will be back in Europe in the spring!