Erin Hammond is a real triple threat. Hailing from the Midwest, Erin grew up in a very creative environment and has translated her upbringing into an active career as an actress, model, and painter. Her works are viewable in galleries all over the US and beyond, found locally in Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Beverly Hills.
We find Erin to be quite the badass, and sat her down to learn more about her life, loves, and creative process. We love her free-spirited demeanor and stark honesty, and hope that her perceptive wisdom inspires fellow budding badasses.
What artists or movements inspire you in your work and in your life?
I am a huge fan of German Expressionism. Expressionism was a modernist poetry and painting movement that originated in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. The movement’s purpose was to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas. One artist in particular that I admire is Kathe Kollwitz. She endured an amazing amount of persecution, pain, and loss; her son died in WWI, she experienced the toils of early industrial life first hand, she was persecuted by Nazis (her work was included in their degenerate art show in 1937) and her apartment was destroyed in air raids during WWII. She had an incredible ability to keep creating beauty even though life around her was destitute.
Can you give us some insight into your creative process?
My process usually starts with my current frame of mind as well as writing, reading, listening to music (preparing myself as an actor does), and then I am able to approach the canvas. Sometimes it’s a mess (a disaster to put it lightly); a battle from within that sometimes comes out crazy and unattractive (those canvases sometimes are put aside for another approach later). It is a constant learning and growing experience. I fight to be honest throughout my work. I want the viewer to feel emotion, to bring my pieces to their own completion.
My creative process is real. It’s lovely at times, it's frustrating at times; tears, laughter and love have all washed over many of my pieces. I am constantly growing as a woman and a painter.
What themes do you explore, and what do you pull from your own life?
I explore humanity. I explore beauty and what it means as a woman. I pull attributes from my own life being an actor and once a model; I am an unfinished being in the process of completion. My paintings reflect this evolution with overlapped paint and pencil lines and areas that are overworked and some even unfinished. I use the unfinished elements of my aesthetic to explore the contemporary fascination with the (im)perfections latent in my professions.
How do you stay inspired?
I write, I read, I live life. I try to live moment to moment. I love music and film. Visually, I’m always being inspired throughout my day. By the simplest of things: a handshake, a kiss, a beautiful woman passing by with a tan beret and red lips, a small smile from a 7 year old. I try to embrace the small things. Too much of my time in the past has been spent on sadness and what could have been. Living in the moment is key.
How do you find balance between painting and acting?
They seem to balance themselves out within me. When I feel overwhelmed by either art form I can find respite in the other and having the two help keep me creatively fresh.
What are your secrets for balancing life, love, and work?
I take each moment as it’s own. I adore my family; Marshall and my 7 year old son Levi. We are a team, and they keep me grounded amongst creative chaos.
What did you say to yourself that helped push you through the tough times?
Let’s just say I’ve learned a lot about patience and gratitude over the past few years. Things don’t always happen when or how you think they should. I’ve had to stay connected to my God and be patient with myself. I believe as an artist, you need to be open and honest with yourself. You also need to be persistent...
How hard was it to leave home and push for success in LA? Did you experience any funny moments of culture shock?
It was very easy for me to leave Wisconsin. I was a small town girl who had some toughening up to do, “Dorothy wasn’t in Kansas anymore.” I basically put my finger on the map and started looking for apartments near the city of LA and I ended up in Glendale. I was out of my realm. I was asked about twice a day if I was Russian, everyone seemed to really love Russia there. Then I moved to Hollywood and became 1 of 1,000 that looked exactly the same……Oh, Hollywood.
Where is your favorite place to go in LA?
Some of my favorite places to go now that I live in sweet little Valley Village, CA: Republic of Pie and Harvest Moon.
I love going to all the museums. I absolutely love Malibu and the beach, setting up a fire on the beach for the day in mid December or January, laying on a blanket bundled up. Oh….and I love going to Room 5 and supporting local musicians there.
Who inspires you?
Gustav Klimpt, Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Kathe Kollwitz, Natalie Portman, Meryl Streep, Rosemarie Dewitt, Marshall Caswell, Levi Merry, Kevin Hammond, Gabriel Dell, and Sia ... to name a few.
Any advice to budding badass ladies preparing to take a leap?
My advice to give budding lady artists is to...
Coffee or Tea?
Tea, I gave up coffee almost 2 years ago to better my life, health, and check book.
What are your “must haves” for a good night’s sleep?
One memorable night as we are laying in the dark Marshall starts to sing “Take Me Home Tonight” by Eddie Money, and we continued to go back and forth for about 30 minutes singing our own renditions, just cracking up. It sounds ridiculous, I know I’m kind of a nerd, but besides our intense love for eachother, we love to laugh!!
Check out Erin’s websiteto learn more about her artwork and where you can view it first-hand.