How would you describe your style? Are there any artists / designers that you particularly look up to?
My work is pop with strong influences from comics and graphic design. I like art that has a painted surface along with a three-dimensional quality. Artists I enjoy and find myself looking to are Ed Emberly, Elizabeth Murray, Rex Ray and Charles Addams.
What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own?
I think I make things that are cute and a little absurd. Maybe the subject matter is a little dark, but I’ll make it fun and soften the edges. The cutouts come from a craft tradition that I observed when I was younger. But I feel that painting them puts them within a different context. It becomes more of a statement than just decoration.
What sort of things inspire you? Where do you look for inspiration?
I love vintage children’s book illustrations, graphic designs from old packaging and vintage toys. Things looked less refined and didn’t worry as much about appealing to everyone. Really weird things that are out of fashion and tend toward kitsch.
Tell us a little bit about your process of creation:
People usually ask me if “I paint first and then cut” or “cut and then paint.” I always start out with a cut piece and then paint. I’d be too nervous to cut a finished painting. :)
When do you feel the most creative?
I feel the most creative late at night. I put on a classic rock album and just get lost in sketching or painting a cutout. There are a lot fewer distractions at night than during the day. It leaves the mind more open to whatever inspiration may come.
What is your creative process like?
I usually start with an ink sketch that I transfer to a piece of wood that I then cut out on a scroll saw. I like how the cuts aren’t necessary laser-cut perfect, but still have a hand-done look to them. It creates more opportunities for randomness to affect the outcome of the work.
My ideas come from sketchbooks or things I see out in the world that might make a cool cutout. Ideas will bounce from sketchbook to sketchbook for years until I finally feel like it’s developed enough to paint. Sometimes I’ll look at a scrap piece of wood and a fully realized idea will just jump out at me.
What's the coolest artistic tip you've ever received?
“It doesn’t have to be perfect.” Sometimes perfectionism can stop you from starting or finishing art. I can only do the best I can do at any given moment in time.
Where can we learn more about you?
My instagram account @eneuschwanger usually has art that I am currently working on and photos of things that interest me. You can check out my completed work on etsy at ericneuschwanger.etsy.com