Today on the blog, we meet with an incredible artist who has studied creative arts for many years and recreates amazing Japanese street scenes: Erin Nicholls.
The scenes Erin portrays are fleeting moments in time, an attempt to convey the Japanese phrase 物の哀れ 'mono no aware' - the gentle sadness of things.
A fascinating work to discover this week through 9 pictures, all powered by Prodibi!
A few words about you, how did you start creating illustration?
I've been practising art on and off for most of my life. I've studied various creative subjects such as fashion design, creative arts, fine arts and ceramics. When I was in my 30's I decided that there was nothing else I wanted to do career-wise, so I quit my job as a Dental Technician and focused on developing my art career full-time.
You seem particularly attracted to Japanese culture. What do you see in their aesthetics and how does it resonate in your work?
I've always found Japan and traditional Japanese art to be very beautiful. Japan has very distinct seasons, which are celebrated in their artworks. For my first Copic marker series - A Year in Japan - I wanted to create a work for each month of the year, showing a blending of nature with man made structures. As an Australian, I find Japanese cities fascinating. They are much more intense and hectic than my country's cities. So for me, creating artworks that show these amazing street scenes has been really fascinating.
Did you try other art forms? Or drawing has always been your favourite one?
I used to love oil painting, and I still do, but I love how convenient and less messy drawing with markers is. I'm able to work at a desk or table in front of my computer. It can also be quite fun colouring in my drawings, almost like working on an adult colouring book. I will do more paintings in the future, but for now I'm happy exploring and developing my drawing techniques.
Can you briefly explain your creative process for a great image?
I work from photos for all of my artworks. Some photos I make a lot of changes to, such as removing people or changing colours, others, I work off almost exactly as I find them. I was fortunate enough to find a photographer who allowed me to use 7 of his photos for my Night in Japan series. I choose the photos I will work from based on my reaction to them. There will be something about them that makes me go "wow, I love that!" I will then crop and edit the photo until I'm totally happy with how it looks. I love scenes that have a lot of detail and high contrasting light. Working with markers, I do find urban scenes are easier to draw than nature, which is the main reason I don't really do landscape drawings.
Is there a particular client you dream to work with or a specific goal you wish to reach?
There's not really a client that I've been dreaming of working with at this stage. It would be amazing to create works for an exhibition in Tokyo though. My goal is to continue furthering my art career, having exhibitions in some of the major cities of the world, and have a style that is recognised as my own.
Do you have projects for the future like workshops, personal series?
I ran my first workshops recently in Geelong, Victoria. It was a great experience teaching people how to better use Copic markers. I would definitely like to do more teaching. My partner and I are about to spend a year travelling abroad to multiple countries. I will be taking a lot of photos that I can then work from to create more series. I will hopefully have an exhibition somewhere in about a year from now. I will also be branching away from scenes of Japan, but as we are spending 2 months in Japan this year, I will certainly have a lot of inspiration for more Japanese artworks before I do!
To see more from Erin:
All photographs copyright Erin Nicholls and used with her permission.
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