Interview with Erik Jerezano

Line Gallery: Why do you think you came to focus on drawing as opposed to another medium?

Erik Jerezano: I wanted to be a painter for many years and I tried hard, maybe too hard. With painting I felt that for some reason I never could explore my ideas in the depth that I wanted to. Gradually drawing took over painting once I realized its immediacy, simplicity, spontaneous gestures and flow of ideas that lead me to start building a personal mythology.

 

LG: How do you begin a drawing? What is your working process like?

EJ: I usually don’t put any previous thought; I don’t have any preconceived idea of what I want to do. The works emerge from the abstract/organic random shapes and slowly develop into anthropomorphic figures that build a non-linear narrative, in this process I attempt to extract images from my memory to modify and reinterpret in a subconscious way, being more alert to the progression of the idea than a final result. It is like setting traps to let my inner self speak or draw in this case.

 


LG: You are very prolific and make a significant number of drawings for each series, how do you determine which drawings you will keep, or toss, or work back into at a later date?

EJ: I usually don’t get rid of anything; I let the viewer interact with my work and decide if there are possibilities or not. I’m so bad when it comes to making selections. I draw a lot but I also look at them a lot and think about how the ideas are unfolding, I keep working until time is up then I’m exhausted and I always need a second set of eyes to give me feedback. When I finish a series I need to put some distance between myself and the work, that is usually when I start a new series or collaborative project.

 

LG: You have spent a significant amount of time working collaboratively with other artists and in collectives like Z’otz*. Can you speak to how working collaboratively with others has shaped or influenced your practice?

EJ: Collaboration has been an essential element of learning and exploring; an important channel to exchange ideas and a way to open opportunities. It is not always learning and growing, you need to open your house to the intruders and let them move things around. It is not always fun especially at the beginning, once you manage to surrender your ego and accept the fact that you cannot control things, the fusion of ideas really start happening. I have collaborated with fantastic artists, I’ve learned from the technical aspect to the conceptual approach, I’ve learned to loosen up my lines and enjoy the struggle as well as the fun.

 

LG: Why do you think drawing is important in contemporary art or as a practice?

EJ: I think the concept of drawing has been expanded, beside the fact that it is not considered anymore as a preliminary process to plan or layout the execution of a “final piece”. Due to its malleable condition and diversity of functions, drawing has merged with installation, video, sculpture, performance, etc…to play an active role in the construction of the contemporary art dialogue.

 

LG: How does your own life experience and cultural background contribute to or influence your work?

EJ: Latin America is an interesting place when it comes to traditions, myths and legends. From the complexity of the Mayan vision to spooky popular tales, in all of these cases there is a very dynamic narrative that constructs a mythical universe based on movement and transformation, which is one of my main obsessions, that cosmogonic vision is always a point of reference visually and philosophically.

 

LG: In addition to your cultural background are there other influences that have impacted your work?

EJ: I think everything has an impact on my work, sometimes I’m aware of it and many other times I borrow things subconsciously. There is a lot of information floating around us and sometimes it is hard to process and identify all the sources. I like a lot of outsider art and all of the art that falls in the category of “aboriginal”(Australian, Inuit, African, Aztec, etc.). There is a very raw and honest approach to ideas that question the western concept of beauty, another of my subject matters.

 

LG: Are there any drawers you have been looking at recently? Are there any Canadian drawers we should check out?

EJ: There are lots and lots of talented people everywhere. I don’t like lists but lately I been looking at the work of Carl Krull, Sandra Vazquez de la Horra and Mu Pan. And the Canadian drawers I would say: Osvaldo Ramirez Castillo, Oscar Camilo de las Flores, Kristin Bjornerud and Sophie Jodoin.

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