Welcome to our latest – Q & A with Cambridge artist Erin-Monique O’Brien
𝙃𝙤𝙬 𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙖 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙤𝙧?
My earliest memories are of painting/drawing and making things out of playdough as young as 5 years old. I could easily get absorbed in my drawings and the world around me would disappear. I think I lost that passion for art making through my teen years. In 2005 I went on a rowing scholarship to the University of Tennessee with the intention of studying graphic design. I quickly realised my real passion was to create tactile things with my hands and to leave the computer work to others. I changed my major to Painting and since then I’ve considered myself to be an artist.
𝙃𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙖𝙡𝙬𝙖𝙮𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙖 ….?
I usually call myself a painter but I think there’s a blurred line in my artwork between drawing and painting. I also like to think about the sculptural elements of paper but I don’t think I’d ever call myself a sculptor. Maybe it’s best I just call myself an artist and leave it there.
𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙙𝙤 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙩𝙚?
I feel so lucky to have a lovely garage to work in at my house. Up until a year or so ago my art was scattered throughout the house, dining table, the lounge floor. Now I have two young kids and if I don’t want my art to be drawn on or touched by small sticky fingers then it’s best that I keep my art in its own specific place. Currently my family and I are based in Cambridge in the Waikato.
𝙒𝙝𝙤’𝙨 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙚𝙣𝙟𝙤𝙮𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙡𝙮?
I love the work of Emily Hartley-Skudder and Clare Grill. Lately I’ve found myself inspired and drawn to the the art making practice of Evan Woodruffe and Jared Sprecher, the volume of their work and the vibrancy of their colours!!
𝙃𝙖𝙨 𝙘𝙤𝙫𝙞𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙢𝙞𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙥𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙚?
No, I don’t think so. I’m lucky to have a space to work at home. Lockdowns didn’t really change anything in our house, my kids are preschool age so there was no home schooling to be done and my husband is an essential worker so we lived our normal routine. I create my work around the kids sleep so if anything I spent most days in lockdown trying to make the kids tired so they would go to sleep so that I could create.
𝙒𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙬𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙣𝙙 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠?
On my Instagram page @erinmoniqueobrien