It's the idea of a girl as an archetype for a 20th century American life. It's pop. It's provocative. It's throwing the taboo out in the open and saying, "surprise, guess what we created?!"
Scraping at the residual of American pop culture and all the strange boundaries that have we have encircled ourselves with, the artist Ewik has molded an impressive body of work. His and others. Drawing from a life of admiring our pop culture menagerie, Ewik's work can consist of simple compositions, or complex and alluring skin tones that scream summer and everything youthful.
Playful, his paintings are striking. Whether it's a peek up a skirt or a Popsicle, his images demand attention. You don't walk by Ewik's work and not turn your head. Maybe because there's girls everywhere. Maybe because his compositions are loud. Or maybe it's because there's something more to all this…
What do you use for inspiration, for your work (music, life, relationships, fetish)?
My inspirations come from a variety of places; most draw something from some childhood memory(s) that is often mixed up with something from current pop culture -- and often (but not always) with some erotic elements. I like the idea of mashing concepts together that are contradictory or just don't seem like they belong together in the first place.
For example, I had a solo show that opened this past Valentines Day so I wanted to do something based on the Valentine cards that I remembered giving to all my classmates in elementary school. I took a sweet idea then mixed it with an element of our societal norm that most people consider taboo, such as bondage. (This is really where the fetish paintings came from...) Before I created the Valentine cards I was oblivious to the Fetish World but now there will be many more bondage paintings to come, because I love the lines and composition that I can get with rope bondage.
The Panty paintings were done for the same show. I created three with the idea of doing something raunchy. I find these most fun when it comes to coming up with a concept and actually painting it.
What emotions are readily available in your work?
I don't really consider the emotional aspects. I think of myself as more of a modern pop artist in that I love American pop culture and want to celebrate that culture. Sometimes I do want to spark a reaction, and this really cracks me up, the end-result reaction/emotion is not what I had expected in the first place. As referenced earlier, I did the Panty paintings to be somewhat raunchy and I expected to get a rise out of my audience. But to my surprise, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Even ultra-conservative people liked them. At the opening for my solo show at the Shooting Gallery in San Francisco, a guy came over to talk to me about my painting "Peek-A -Boo" (where the viewer gets a peak up a girls skirt, her panties adorned with hearts). He was very excited about this painting and told me he loved my work. He told me that this painting spoke to him; it was the quintessential Summer BBQ. "It's what every teenage boy dreams of at the summer BBQ."
What are you interested in conveying/what do you hope that people will take from your work?
I don't have any great message of which I'm conscious when creating my art. But I have talked a great deal to other artists about this issue of message in my paintings. . I guess I would say there are a few things I would like people to think about:
1. Our culture seems to have some twisted morals; anything associated with sex is considered taboo while at the same time we are numb to violence.
2. Sex is not evil, but killing each other is...
TV is the big influence. Saturday morning cartoons of the 70's. I also love to watch shows from the 60's and 70's like Laugh In, Sid and Marty Kroft and all of the great weird sitcoms of the late 60's like Green Acres.
I also have an interest in strong advertising and its hold on our culture. Over the years advertising has created some fabulous concepts that make a mark on all our brains, whether we know it or not.
Artistically speaking, I appreciate artists like Robert Arneson that did not take the idea of being an artist so seriously. Arneson did some of the best self-portraits I've seen -- portraying himself as a boxer being beat up. Don't all of us feel that way sometimes?
Portrait of a Paint Slinger
Pop artist and founder of Mayamo, an independent fine art publishing house, Eric Rider, aka Ewik, studied under his grandmother, Ellen Karschnick, at her studio in San Bernardino 1972-1980 and with local street and itinerant artists throughout San Jose, 1981-1995. Between those periods he learned to let his imagination lead the way, a stimulus that has manifested itself in the use of toys and television in his art. A commercial artist by day and working on his art by night, Ewik began showcasing his pieces through grassroots channels, such as genre shows like Glamourcon, VAMP and Comic Con. Group and solo exhibits include Echo Gallery in Chicago, Los Gatos Museum, Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, M Modern Gallery in Palm Springs and The Shooting Gallery in San Francisco.
Ewik uses the medium of paint to instigate dialogue in opposition to the conspicuous cliché of girl as "sugar, spice and everything nice."
Media Inquiries and upcoming exhibit/show information please contact:
Then, visit Ewik's website at: www.ewik.com