I want to kill I mean I want to fuck u!
We had a little chat last sunday evening with Erika Fortner. Her practice elvolves around symbolic forms that she uses has visual translators to communicate her views, concepts and emotions. After spending 4 years in Berlin, the Californian is based now based in Brooklyn, and admits missing our great beer, not so money oriented lifestyle, and of course her former Rollerderby teammates from the Berlin Bombshells.
As in her life and career, she likes to play the alchemist in her visual works, using symbolic charges in sensitive washings of colours and delicate lines. She uses animals and forces of nature in her compositions, as elements of a greater being, depicting something of an organized chaos.
Ms Fortner began her working career in the family business of finished furniture. She has been developing skills and techniques with different materials, from the fine piano wood to building actual teeth. Her excellence was remarked by the famous painter Julie Mehretu that immediately engaged her as an assistant to develop surfaces. In her own work, she is not questioning her technical skills, but rather giving space to an emotional mapping.
Often, the picture is a beautiful intriguing whirlwindish form, but the details reveal violent or sexual components. Those details, may they be hanging men, penises, shooting soldiers of horned beasts are representing concepts rather than facts, that are playing their roles in the theatritical compositions. Erika Fortner uses her life experiences, and what she is experiencing from the world to feed the machine of the painting. She says to be constantly on the go, and to enjoy digging in her surroundings. While she was living in Berlin, she embraced the past of the city, recognizing the signs and listening to the stories along the way.
As ‘Berlin has a special way of connectiong people on a very deep level’, she says she never felt more like she belonged somewhere. So you know what to do, send some Pils to our former Berliner, and keep posted!
Official about: Erika Fortner began her training and career at the internationally renowned California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, CA, where she attended the CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts- Innerspark) honors art program awarded to the top artists in the state. During that time, she received various awards including the Seal of California, Honorable Mentions from the U.S. Senate. Some of her works were published in the Back Alley Arts Magazine while a collection of her paintings debuted in a 2004 film released under The Asylum Production Company. She continued her training by becoming a digital animator while continuing her family’s business in high-end cabinetry and finishing. After leaving California, Erika attended the highly respected Pratt Institute of Fine Arts to obtain her BFA in Painting. There she was recognized on the President’s List and included in many collegiate shows, exhibited at Medium NYC in Chelsea, and had her first solo exhibit in September 2008 with the Terra Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, Erika has her studio in Berlin, Germany, and works for Julie Mehretu as a Finish Consultant and Artist Assistant in Berlin and in New York City. While in Berlin, she has worked on large scale projects such as Mehretu’s Deutsche Guggenheim show, and the new 80 foot mural in downtown Manhattan. She can even be seen on a one-on-one interview in the new upcoming PBS Art:21 series 5 about the process on these types of projects.