Erin Shafkind is an artist and educator living in Seattle. She studied art and earned a BA and teaching certificate at California State University and received an MFA from Lesley University’s College of Art and Design in Boston. She’s been teaching art in Seattle Public Schools since 1998. She has a studio practice and seeks to collaborative whenever possible. She works in variety of mediums, has produced site-specific temporary public art installations, created performances and writes the occasional art review. She’s a member of The Cabbage Tree Mob, a collaborative art band, and resident artist at the Seward Park Clay Studio.
“Art no longer wants to respond to the excess of commodities and signs but to a lack of connections”
-Jacques Ranciere,‘Problems and Transformations in Critical Art’, 2004
Growing up in Los Angeles with divorced parents, McDonald’s every Tuesday, and lots of television, I have been greatly influenced by popular imagery and modern mythology. I always felt that there was something else, something intangible that I needed, but more and more I wonder if this is a product of growing up in American Corporate culture that strived to create illusion so we would consume. Do I know what I want? What makes me happy?
Participation and community play a large role in my art making and I have worked in a variety of mediums to express my ideas. I began working as an artist mainly with clay and this required lots of space, equipment, and storage. Printmaking and photography, gave me the opportunity to continue to explore process and the results were flat and compact. Eventually this work brought me out of the studio and into social practice, which allowed me to work more with people.
What does it feel like to be connected? Working in the studio provides me with selfish pleasure. I find truer satisfaction comes from my ability to create, engage, and connect. How much stuff do we need to be happy? I would like to provide an entry where I can meet others, in hopes of discovering that we are not alone in our wanting.