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Birch I

Erika Hillefeld


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Birch I

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Haphazard chaos is around us and is the inspiration for most of my work. I find it everywhere I go; my house, nature, the streets. I am very much affected by my environment and when the space around me is in disorder, my entire mood is affected. I am constantly seeking order and tranquility, a task that is almost impossible to achieve, so my work acts as a catharsis for this feeling of unease in my life. My work begins by photographing these spaces and transferring them onto my canvas with the use of a projector. I am able to control the chaos by giving it a new meaning. I take what is stressful, and transform it into something colorful and aesthetically pleasing.

14"H × 11"W × 3"D
Gallery Wrapped
Acrylic on Canvas


When people walk along a sidewalk, they might notice architecture, greenery, or store fronts. I notice these things, too, but I’m also drawn to the splotches, notches, blobs, crevasses, cracks, and stains that blanket the streets. They make me stop and take a second look. If anything, most people do anything to avoid something so unattractive, dirty, and insignificant. The truth is that their random design and their haphazard spread fascinate me. They speak to me. They are begging me to linger for a second so that they can tell me their story. There is a certain sadness inherent in the designs that I see left abandoned on sidewalks and walls. It’s true that I don’t notice every stain on the ground, but the ones I do notice are usually in places that have a significance in my life. The subject matter varies from the sentimental to the quotidian. My work is rooted in these designs and inspirations. I photograph the designs and use them as the foundation for my work. As soon as they are projected onto a canvas and given color, these remnants have the chance to become new again; to be seen and heard. They tell the story of how they came to be; they bear witness to events that had been relegated to the past. A moment in someone’s story, which was once forgotten, and often overlooked, has the opportunity to be again.

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