Erika Iris | Beautiful art from unexpected materials

Erika Iris enjoys creating beautiful art from unexpected materials. From the New York Times to the video clip of Bruno Mars, you must have seen her little beauties of art. Let yourself be inspired with this interview, and if you can’t believe your eyes, she does custom work too!

David: first of all, Erika, could you tell us a little about yourself? Where did you grow up? 

Erika: I’m Erika; 34, I live in Chicago.  I grew up in Orlando, right next to Disney world.  It was very cotton-candy Americana.  I work as an experimental artist, using crazy materials.

David: we accidentally came across your work, through a video that was going viral on Fb, and I thought to myself, we just have to interview her. Your work is absolutely stunning! When did you start making such beautiful pieces of art? 

Erika: Thanks!  I never thought about art until the first time I went to Europe. I was staying in London and the street art scene shook me to the core.  It felt so authentic, like there were no rules and anyone could participate.  That’s what inspired me to try to experiment when I got home.  I had no money, so I used whatever I could find around the house.. One day I unspooled a cassette tape and the curls reminded me of Jimi Hendrix’s curly hair.  That was the first cassette tape portrait I made.

David: for the oldsters among is, we all know what cassettes are, but for the younger people, do they even know what you are using? 

Erika: It’s boggling that some don’t know.. but I teach Skype classes to students and I often have to explain these “fossils”. 

David: we all remember the video from Bruno Mars from a couple of years ago, doing something likewise in animation. You can tell us… did he steal your idea? We won’t tell. 🙂 

Erika: its OK! Bruno Mars paid me to use the idea and gave me credit as the video was “inspired by” my artwork.  I think they did an excellent job (but I would still like to try making some animation myself one day)

David: how long on average, does one completed work take? 

Erika: its very tedious, but I can get one done in a day if I’m rushing.  A nice large portrait might take a week.

David: What’s your personal favorite so far?

Erika: I always love Jimi Hendrix, but I recently did a Robert Plant (from Led Zeppelin) that was fantastic. 

David: You have been published in the New York Times, how did that feel?

Erika: I danced in the shower for a week. 

David: My personal favorites are Jimmy Hendrix and John Lennon. Do you listen to the music of the artist you’re creating? In one of your “making of” videos we can clearly see, you’re listening to something 🙂 

Erika: Yes, often I listen to the music of the artist I’m portraying, but sometimes I just repeat whatever album I’m into at the moment. Usually dark and electronic.

David: What was the biggest work you’ve done so far? 

Erika: The biggest cassette tape piece was about two meters, but I did a 6.5 meter artwork a few years ago which was displayed in Grand Central Station in New York City.  

David: If time and budget wouldn’t be an issue, what would be your ultimate work and from what material would you make it? 

Erika: Too many ideas!  But first choice would be to work with clock mechanisms, making hidden messages.. more to come

David: What’s the craziest assignment you’ve gotten so far? 

Erika: I once was requested to make a portrait of tennis star Billie Jean King out of a tennis racket for a magazine.  The crazier the better; it was fun.

David: We noticed you also do custom works. If anyone is interested in having a custom work, how would they proceed? What is the pricing? Can they choose the materials? 

Erika: I’m very laid-back.  Most of the time people email me an idea and what budget they have in mind. I make a sketch and give them some dimension/price options.  If they want something extraordinary I’m happy to develop it with them.

David: Next to that, people can also purchase previous works, if they don’t feel inspired to invent one of their own. Do you ship worldwide or? 

Erika: Yes, I’ve been shipping worldwide for 10 years.

David: What’s the one thing, you can’t live without? 

Erika: Old math books.

David: If you could go back in time, and meet yourself at the age of 12. What would you say to yourself? 

Erika: Become an accountant.

David: What can we expect in the near future? 

Erika: You never know (but it will be awesome)…

You can find Erika Iris, on her website, her Instagram, her Flickr page or her Facebook Page. Get in touch, and who knows, you’ll have a genuine Erika Iris hanging on your wall! 

David Van den Broeck

David Van den Broeck is the co-founder of The Podcast Factory Org. During the day he works in Marketing, but at night, he makes sure you have interesting content to read and listen to.

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