in the studio with erik railton

My name is Erik Railton, I’m 40 years old, and I’ve been painting for 17 years. I was raised in Cannon Beach, Oregon. I now live in Portland, Oregon with my wife and two sons.
While growing up on the Oregon coast I found myself spending time outside in nature. I love the color, texture and shapes of plants and other objects I saw outdoors. I grew up skateboarding and was fascinated by the graphics on the bottom of the boards.  
What inspires you? What motivates you to create?

The world around me, from nature to the way a sign on a store is hand painted. Music inspires me, I love album art and the ideas musicians have about composing songs. I’m listening to music all of the time when I paint. I still love looking at skateboard graphics especially older Powell Peralta and Santa Cruz graphics. I also like some of the newer graphics from companies like Habitat, Polar, and Quasi. I also love the artwork of Thomas Campbell, and Ed Ruscha. Rothko has always been one of my favorites too.  

Can you tell us a little bit about your studio space?

I've had all kinds of studios over the years. From small spaces in my basement to a 200 square foot out building that I built in the backyard of my old house. Currently my studio is located on the second story of Imago Dei Church. It’s a shared space that I manage between five artists. Our goal is to encourage each other creatively and spiritually. 

The space faces southwest which provides beautiful natural light. I have worked more solitary in the past so working in a shared space has been a good struggle. I love seeing all of the work happening around me. When you work in a group environment, people see all stages of your creativity and some stages are not beautiful. We often get into conversations about the process of creating or what materials we use. It’s a good group of people, I love going there and being in that space and seeing what my studio mates are doing also inspires me to create.
How do you organize a creative schedule?
My desire is to balance family, work and a creative schedule. This process is difficult at times, but my wife and I have decided to set up a weekly schedule that allows time to do my paintings. I have dedicate that time to being in the studio and concentrating on art.

What is a typical day like for you?
Waking up with a cup of coffee and breakfast and help our boys get to school. Go back home or to a coffee shop to answer emails. I then head to work,  my family owns a couple of apartment buildings in Portland that we are working on. After work I go to the studio for a few hours. Come home to have dinner with the family. Put the kids to bed and hang out with my wife.

What are you working on right now?
I have an art show at a cafe in hood river called Doppio in April. I’m working on six paintings for that show. I’m trying to create abstract paintings that have objects of realism in them.  Looking at them the viewer could see an animal or see a bigger pattern. I’ve been working on booking a few bigger shows and trying to get more prints up on my website. I would like to have prints that everyone can afford, since original art is not always in everyone’s budget.  

Want to see more of Erik?

instagram: erikrailton

facebook: erik railton art

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