Interview of Eryn Lougheed by Sophie Pellegrini
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Eryn, I’m 18, and am currently living in Toronto, Canada.
How did you get started in the visual arts? Do you study it formally in school?
Like most people I drew a lot as a little kid, and I became seriously interested in art during high school. I’m currently in my first year of illustration at OCAD University.
How are you enjoying it? What’s it like to be in your first year of art uni?
It’s been an intense rollercoaster! Not only is it my first year of uni, but I moved across the country for it; living on my own away from familiarity has been a tumultuous experience on its own. So far, school has been one of the best and toughest experiences of my life, and I feel very grateful to have the opportunity to be here.
A lot of the people you illustrate seem to be gender ambiguous. Would you agree? Is this a conscious decision? Can you talk to us a bit about this?
Yes! I’m not sure if this started as a conscious decision, but it became one. It’s in an effort to make the feeling I’m trying to communicate as universal as possible.
How would you describe your illustrations in 3 words?
This is hard! I’d say personal, surreal, and changing.
You do photography as well. Why film?
I took a film photography class in high school, which got me really excited about film. It’s what I’m accustomed to using, but I also really love it for the way it looks, the possibilities and the process. I find the disconnect between taking the photo and seeing the outcome to be cathartic, and I feel less pressure about the results. There’s also always a joyous thrill to discover what you photographed all over again! I love all of the ways you can experiment with film, and the good and gritty hands-on process.
How does your photography relate to your illustrations?
They’re both ways for me to process the world around me. Photography is a bit more about observing my physical surroundings, whereas illustration for me is more introspective.
I don’t think their relationship is always apparent to me, but photography influences my creative process: it’s something I can do on the go that keeps me feeling creatively engaged and like an active observer of my surroundings.
You post a lot of images of your sketchbooks. Are you an avid sketchbook-keeper? What role does this have in your work process?
I am! Less so at the time being while I’m busy with school, unfortunately. My sketchbooks are sort of a sketchbook/journal 2-in-1; a lot of the time, they’re a way for me to get my thoughts out both in words and doodles. It’s a relaxing, no-pressure exercise that helps experiment and develop ideas. I find my sketchbook process is stunted when I put too much pressure on what I’m putting in it. I like to take a stream-of-consciousness approach to my sketchbook.
Who and what are some influences on your art works?
Ah, well for starters, my favourite artists of course! Moonassi, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin, Aidan Koch, Frida Kahlo, Yoshitomo Nara, Helen Frankenthaler, Kiki Smith, Yayoi Kusama, Ness Lee, Carla McRae, my roommate Emily Liteplo and my friends Brie Moreno and Maya Gulassa. I could go on forever but I’ll stop there. Additionally movies, books, zines, magazines, musical artists (particularly Joanna Newsom), and the city of Toronto. I find I’m also greatly influenced by own experiences, the people around me, the way I connect to people, the way people relate to each other, and my dreams.
What’s one item on your bucket list?
To see Frida Kahlo’s house, La Casa Azul, in Mexico.
What advice would you give your 13-year-old self?
Just keep going.[share]