* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Eric Pedersen was born in the Detroit metro area of Michigan in 1981. Twenty three years later he moved to Los Angeles where he currently lives and works. In 2009 he graduated from the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art where he continues to teach and work as a director of academic affairs. Eric spends most of his time painting in his studio and is best known for his large, dense paintings depicting the human form.
Eric explains his work by saying, “My current body of work, “Sleeping Giants”, focuses on themes of identity and states of consciousness. The work within this body is made at a very large scale and includes portraits of nude females and males that are usually depicted in various states of sleep. I choose to depict these figures sleeping and at such a large scale as an attempt to create a slight sense of anxiety in my viewers – I don’t want to terrify them, I just want them to be unsure of what this giant is capable of doing if it wakes up…”Will this giant be gentle, would it touch me tenderly, spoon me, and bake me a cake on my birthday? Or will this giant be ultra-violent, would it punch me in the gut, eat me, and steal my wallet?” The slight state of anxiety that is created is an attempt to heighten the awareness of the individual who is viewing the work. The theory is that the fear created by accidentally waking this powerful unpredictable creature forces the viewer to be more conscious of themselves and of their surroundings.”
"Eric's style of painting perfectly exemplifies what I tell very young artists who are either entering art school or presently enrolled in one... "Before you can blow up the apple, you NEED TO BE ABLE TO KNOW HOW TO DRAW IT!" By that I mean, LEARN YOUR CRAFT... know how to draw WELL and prove that you know about anatomy, perspective and draftsmanship BEFORE you stray away from it with your art! Picasso was a master draftsman BEFORE he went on to explore Cubism and other genres of painting. There are PLENTY of painters out there who create representational work AND IT'S OBVIOUS they have no drafting skills. It's a shame, they know can't draw well, so they deliberately draw poorly in the hopes that some Chelsea dealer is "going to discover them and make them a new art darling." In the case of Eric Pedersen, just look at the drawings on his website and you'll see that he is a brilliant draftsman. But that's just where his works begin. It is his confidence with his skills in anatomy and drawing that, while they may form the "foundation" of his works, he then dismisses all of that and takes his works not one, but thirteen steps further than most figurative painters. His ability to abstract what is necessary to create, dare I say, a "classic portrait" is what makes him unique. His paintings are examples of his ability to "go beyond draftsmanship" to create imposing, ethereal, and emotional works without sacrificing the drawing skills he has honed. Bravo."