Artist Q & A: Eric Louie

In this new artist Q & A we talk to Vancouver abstract artist Eric Louie about the scale, colour and inspiration for the paintings in his upcoming exhibition "Remembered Futures".  

1. Did you have any early visual influences that prompted the genesis of your artistic style?

I've always loved still life painting and searching for space within the composition. How light can caress and define the subjects where they find a new elevated meaning. My aunt had a wonderful art collection, many of which were Mary Pratt paintings which embodied these qualities of light. I've always kept that sensitivity and way of seeing embedded within my paintings. Combining this with elements of imagined architecture, sculpture & landscape, they come alive in some surreal sense.

2. What are some of your most recent sources of inspiration?

I've been thinking about the notion of creating memories, especially ones made while on vacation or an adventure: going to the future to collect and save the past in a digital moment. A lot of my newer paintings for my upcoming show at Bau-Xi Gallery take one to different imagined places... places fabricated from past experiences filtered, idealized and hyperbolized to some utopian end. 

3. Your paintings have been perceived by some as futuristic, yet they have also been seen as retro-influenced. Do you have any particular time period or periods in mind when you work?

As a kid growing up in the 1980s there was a certain technological aesthetic to many toys, ads, films etc. I always liked the idealized notions of the future and technology - how it has changed and evolved over the years and become steeped in how we see things and try to imagine realities which eventually manifest themselves.

4. Colour play is such a significant aspect of your work – how do you arrive at these colour choices for each of your pieces? 

Colour is a great way to define spaces. I love to create atmosphere and air in each painting, so colours tend to stay close, tonal and incremental. I usually employ some extension of contrast where one has some distinctive highlighted areas - a tight area of cadmium red can literally jumpstart a painting. The choices I make are reactionary to first the background colours, then get more specific as the painting develops details. The combinations of forms and how they meet colour defines the works for sure.

5. Your work lives equally well on both large and small canvases. Is there any difference in how it feels to create these kinds of works on a large canvas versus a small one?

Small canvases offer so much instant gratification due to the size, but have limitations on getting deep and detailed. They offer so much insight on how to scale up forms and can be quite potent. I love to work large, especially oversized canvases so I can literally feel like I'm part of the painting. 



Exhibition on view at Bau-Xi Vancouver from November 6-8, 2021



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