Australian artist Erin Smith is creating a name for herself in the New York art world. Her recent exhibition TO THE MOON AND BACK at Amy Li Projects received much acclaim, and she’ll be returning to the gallery this July with a new series of paintings. Here, Erin discusses her work.

What are some of your earliest memories of exploring creativity? 

I’ve always been interested in painting and art. As a child, drawing was one of the few things that would keep me entertained for hours. I remember illustrating stories my Grandma would tell me about her own childhood. After our visit was over, I would go home to draw the story and share it with her the next time I saw her.

What inspires you to begin a specific painting or series?

I think it’s a subconscious thing. An idea finds its way to the surface and all of a sudden it’s there, its happening. And if it feels good I keep going with it.

What materials do you use?

A lot of oil on plywood. Sometimes acrylic and spray paint. But there is something I really enjoy about oil paint.

What is your workspace/studio like?

I have a studio about a half hour drive from where I live – it’s organized chaos. It doesn’t matter where I seem to be it always turns out the same. A desk covered in paint, a chair covered in paint, and so on. I’m terrible for cleaning brushes, like, really bad.

Have you ever struggled with inspiration or motivation to create new work, and if so, how did you move past it?

I go through highs and lows just like anyone else, but I’m fortunate that I get excited about everything…and once I start I can’t stop.

What do feel your work represents, and how do you hope the audience responds?

Mostly, I hope the audience enjoys it. Any given piece might represent a specific moment or feeling to me, but everyone should find what it means to them, to take what they want from the work. I’d love it if someone smiled! That would be great! I’d love that.

Are there any themes or ideas you repeatedly explore in your work? 

I like to balance the mundane with flights of fancy. I like the light and dark – paintings that feel wrong but you can’t not like them.

What projects are you currently working on? 

I have a second show coming up at Amy Li Projects in New York this July, and a few group shows. Other than that, I want to continue to grow and challenge myself as a painter.