When it comes to artists I like, I go through phases. I have favorites for periods of time, some long, some short, and then they fall off the list when I find something new to obsess over. I’ll always be a fan of those artists, but I tend to pay less attention as my A.D.H.D. kicks into high gear and shiny, new artists cross my eyeballs. There are a few that stick, though, like David Cho, James Jean, Blaine Fontana, Sylvia Ji, Joshua Petker and now Erik Otto.
I stumbled on Erik through Twitter, watching his tweets, but not really paying much attention to his art. I figured him to be an illustrator/designer based on his avatar. Then one day I clicked on a link to his blog proceeded to collect the pieces of my shattered preconceived notions. Sure, he’s an impressive street artist turned gallery phenom, but what really got my attention is his choice of medium, most pieces being produced on reclaimed/repurposed pieces of wood.
If you’ve followed my blog or tweets for any length of time, you’ve probably figured out that I am big on the three Rs—Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. I’m not some hi-falutin’ environmentalist or chest thumping conservationist. I just don’t see the point in wasting what doesn’t need to be wasted, both from an environmental standpoint, but also from an economical standpoint, but I digress.
Erik doing work on recycled wood is just one of the many reasons I dig what he’s doing. Although he uses similar themes throughout his work, much like some art masters like Dali and Van Gogh, Otto reinvents his work constantly. The style is obvious, staying true to who he is, but still mixing it up enough to stay fresh. Some contemporaries can’t seem to get out of a rut when they’ve latched onto a success.
Recently, Otto released a new open edition print to honor the people of Japan who have suffered through the most recent earthquake, tsunami and the potential ecological disaster of several nuclear reactors going south. When I saw the print, I thought to myself that I really should pony up and buy some art, not just for the cause, but because it was a chance for me to get my hands on some of Otto’s art at a reasonably cost. I kinda let the thought slide past me only to be hit in the face with his art again.
While perusing the latest issue of Surfing Magazine, on the last page where they usually feature the work of some up and coming artist, Otto’s art literally stared back at me. He has officially permeated nearly every aspect of my life. I really need to get me some of his art, soon.