An ongoing series of Q&As with some of L.A.’s most active and eclectic contemporary artists, introducing themselves to you in their own words. This week it’s Erica Weitz, an exciting new voice in photography, whose old-school technical process yields evocative, darkly romantic portraits that are both edgy and mystical.
L.A. WEEKLY: When did you first know you were an artist?
ERICA WEITZ: All I know is some of my first memories are drawing and daydreaming. I’ve consistently maintained those two practices my entire life.
What is your short answer to people who ask what your work is about?
An exploration of things we know are there but we don’t understand.
What would you be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I would like to be a doctor because it’s such an immediate way to help people, and their skills are useful and needed worldwide. I also really love physics and psychology, which are both about exploring the workings of the outer and inner worlds. In that aspect, the material I work from has some parallels, just expressed through a different lens.
Did you go to art school? Why/why not?
Yes, I have my BFA in painting and photography. That being said, the medium I work most in now, wet-plate collodion photography, I’m completely self-taught in. With enough time and patience and YouTube tutorials, you can learn anything.
Why do you live and work in L.A., and not elsewhere?
The ocean, the mountains, the desert, the forest, are all within a couple hours' driving time. California is special in that way. Creating here, I’ve been consistently inspired by the underground art and music scene. Every resource, collaborator, every crazy idea that can be thought of can become reality. It's a city of creators.
When was your first show?
I’ve been having underground DIY shows for years but my first solo gallery show just opened in early December at Lethal Amounts. "Primordial Order" is up through the end of December (call for viewing hours) at Lethal Amounts. Making that show was a creative catalyst for me and new work is on the way so stay tuned.
What artist living or dead would you most like to show with?
I know who I’d like to create with, or at least witness creating, would be the ancestors who crawled into caves and made those early marks on the walls. We call them artists and shamans today, but they were expressing the raw human experience in the most pure form possible. Showing is the artifact, but that spark of creation is everything.
Do you listen to music while you work? If so, what?
Yes, always. Music is my fuel. I’m into all kinds, it’s all over the map: blues, rap, rock & roll, early punk, electronic, trip-hop, obscure experimental artists, whatever I can find. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of noise and metal.
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