Erica Elan Ciganek
Erica Elan Ciganek is a visual artist currently living and working in Seattle. She graduated in 2013 from North Park University with a BA in both Art and Conflict Transformation. Her work has been featured in exhibitions throughout the US, as well as blogs and publications including Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, and PoetsArtists. Notable collections include the Howard Tullman Collection, Temple University Multicultural Center Collection, as well as the Steven Bennett Collection of paintings by female artists. She continues to paint mainly portraits with an emphasis on the power of seeking to see others in a world that is quick to dehumanize.
Q&A WITH ERICA ELAN CIGANEK
What concept or narrative is behind your work?
My concept revolves around the pursuit of seeing another. How we connect, or fail to, how we come close, or experience distance. How over time we learn from another and can see more clearly. See the places we fail to understand or comprehend. An exploration of what attempting humility toward another brings, even in the times it falls incredibly short.
How much time is dedicated to the execution of the work before you actually start the process?
The process that goes into each painting begins with the relationship with the person I am painting. They are not strangers to me; they are women who are deeply involved in my life and I in theirs for a specific season. We walk together. And I paint people who are open and collaborative in the process. I then host women at gatherings to create references together. We usually eat, listen to music, laugh about the awkwardness of pressing faces against one another, and pour water over each other. It is both symbolic, and messy. Taking the references is predominantly laughter and a few moments of sobering connection to one another.
Once the photo references are taken, I comb through them finding images that resonate, then work them together through sketches and digital mock-ups.
What is the price range of your art?
Are you represented by a gallery?
What is your ultimate goal for your artwork?
Connection. Unveiling. Creating an invitation to see.
Do you ever venture out of your creative process to try out new things?
I do a lot of photography and composing. I write. I also love to support, advocate for, and empower other creatives. Almost as much as I love to paint, myself. So that type of collaboration brings me the most joy and energy.
Do you have a motto or process you always stick to? If so what is it?
What are you trying to express, or where do you see yourself going, with your body of work until now?
I’d like the artist to have a unified vision or sense of evolution about their body of work. If not, I'll tend to think a piece I like is a fluke, and probably not buy.
What is the average size of your artwork?
I have a huge size range, from about 5×5 feet to 6 feet. I would work bigger if I could. Someday soon, I will have a studio and walls to make giant work!