Eric Tkaczyk is a 3rd year Visual Arts student, focusing on painting and printmaking. In his own words, his practice “centres itself on the collection and repurposing of images — visual clutter that exists in our society to shape and shift our identities.”
Recently included in a student exhibition titled From a Distance in the Michael O’Brian Exhibition Commons (MOEC), Eric’s work caught our attention with his eerie faded and fragmented imagery.
“In a capitalistic context, we are built by the images that surround us daily. To fragment and reformat understandings of images is, for me, to work through self-discovery in a world that wishes to discover us,” said Eric. “My work situates itself within the material concerns of painting, printmaking, collage and digital media, and is rooted in archival processes of reinsertion.” We talked to Eric about his practice and his experience so far at Emily Carr.
Describe your current practice in three words.
Fracture, fragility, materiality.
Have those descriptive words evolved during your time at Emily Carr?
Absolutely. My practice has become much more focused over my time here. I have been able to integrate both conceptual and formal concerns together with more clarity.
Has there been an experience at Emily Carr that has changed how you approach new work?
In my second year, I was pushed by my studio instructors to allow the happenstance of process to pave the way for the outcome of my projects. Things like chance and autonomy allowed me to see the more interesting and conceptually-rich aspects of my work come to the forefront and free me from my inhibitions in having control over everything along the way. This is something I am still working through.
The poem that accompanied your works Daddy, Kiddies and Mommy in the MOEC exhibition, From a Distance, is eerie with an air of familiarity. What can you tell us about your decision to include it?
The poem that accompanied the work in From a Distance was intended to be as vague and fragile as the paintings themselves. Ruptures in familial histories are both as familiar and (yet, somehow) uncertain to people as the works themselves. It is something you can't quite put your finger on, yet something that fills your heart with the ghoulish nostalgia of loss and torment. The poem spoke to the fragments of these memories.
Name one thing in your practice that you can’t do without?
Cutting and pasting is at the core of my work. This can take many forms, both physically and metaphorically. Collage processes and sensibilities are integral to my process; the idea of tearing things apart and rebuilding them to create disjuncture fascinates me, and allows me time for contemplation in a world that is filled with rupture.
What led you to study at Emily Carr?
I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life from a young age, and found recluse in making art growing up. I taught myself to draw and paint, and took comfort in having something that was mine — free of intervention and something I could control.
I knew that Emily Carr would be a place where I could develop my technical skills while thinking critically about the concepts and materials I was choosing to work with. I needed to contextualize my work, and my studies have allowed me to understand what that means.
What’s your favourite place on campus?
My favourite place on campus is the painting studio, late at night when hardly anyone is around. I can get lost in a painting and work through feelings of loneliness by making something I feel connected to.
Who else in the Emily Carr community is making work that excites you?
One of the most talented artists I know is a 4th year Painting major, Kitt Peacock. This summer I had the privilege of collaborating with them on a large-scale painting, and I was amazed to find how well we worked together. I had admired their work before we became friends, and in sharing a studio space I discovered just how similar our practices are. They work through a process of dismantling pictorial preconceptions by fragmenting archives. Both aesthetically and conceptually, their work is incredibly compelling. I hope to work with them again in the future, and expect to see big things from them as time moves forward.
Who should we profile next and why?
The first artist I met at Emily Carr is 3rd year Visual Arts major Alexandra Box-McCoy. From the moment I saw her work, I was blown away. Her practice is as thoughtful and sophisticated as she is, working through notions of the fragility of humanity and identity within a contemporary discourse. Her work has most recently taken form through sculptural ceramics, performance and print media. She is one of the most hard-working and put together individuals I have ever had the privilege of meeting, and I am very excited to see the work she produces over the years to come.
We're always looking for members of the Emily Carr community to profile! If you have a suggestion, please get in touch.