We have been following Erik Waterkotte’s work for awhile now so it was only a matter of time before we revealed him to be on our Art Crushes. This summer, Erik was in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, providing us with an invaluable glimpse into his creative process. HappeningsCLT brings you the scoop.
HappeningsCLT: Describe yourself in three words.
Erik Waterkotte: Intense, easily distracted
HCLT: Who or what inspires you artistically?
EW: Old stuff, ephemera, color, stories, movies, religion, geography, sounds…
HCLT: When did you realize you were an artist?
EW: About four years ago I saw a lecture by the filmmaker Kenneth Anger. His belief in film and the confidence in his ideas made every shot, every decision (no matter how underfunded and low-rent or complex and brilliant) clear and deliberate. In making any one of his short films, reels of developed footage could go missing for years, and/or an entire budget could be spent on a costume/jacket or a specialized film processing/effect. It was at this lecture that I realized incredible, original art isn’t made despite these impediments; it is made because of these impediments.
HCLT: Tell us about your current body of work? We loved seeing it unfold this summer.
EW: As part of my residency at the McColl Center for Art & Innovation I mined the history of the 721 N. Tryon location (originally the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Charlotte). Researching the building’s history, construction, and physicality I created a series of work in video, printmaking, and drawing. Through this series I show the building’s ability to transform and reflect the community.
HCLT: Where can we see your work?
EW: I have an exhibition of current work entitled Sightlines, Incidents, and Echoes at The McColl Center for Art + Innovation. The exhibition is on view through Jan. 2, 2016.
HCLT: What do you think is the most valuable art experience in the Carolinas?
EW: Coincidentally I’m a big fan of The McColl Center for Art + Innovation. Throughout this year (through a variety of opportunities including student internships and my own residency) I have had the privilege of working with all 3 groups of resident artists. The variety of artists and the range of work that the McColl Center has hosted just this year has been awesome. How many other institutions in the country let you experience contemporary art, in real-time, like the McColl Center?
HCLT: What book is on your nightstand right now?
EW: Heatwave in a Swamp: The Paintings of Charles Burchfield; Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (my second time trying to read it); and Hellboy, Strange Places.
HCLT: Best meal in Charlotte?
EW: Three Amigos!
HCLT: What is your number one art piece/place/event in this area?
EW: I love going to see Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit 12 at the Mint Museum’s permanent collection exhibition.
click here to download audio recordings from the project.
HCLT: What’s up next?
EW: I’m thrilled by the mixed-media, paper cut-outs I started making during my residency at the McColl Center. They began as rubbings of the brick surfaces inside the church. I’ve always enjoyed the immediacy of making rubbings but struggled with how to present the ephemeral qualities of the surfaces…the cut-outs are an exciting resolution to those challenges.
I’ll also begin some new collaborations and prep for upcoming projects which revisit the lightbox prints that I was making a few years ago.