Santa Fe artist canonizes everyday saints through trash-based paint and collage

Santa Fe artist Erin Currier poses with two of her paintings, “Flamenco! II,” left, and “Leo Baker” in his studio. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Erin Currier’s portraits capture passion despite the plight of human suffering.

The self-described nomad wields her paintbrush to represent those who are motivated by a deeper aesthetic than the quest for fame and fortune. He is a driver whom she calls “duende”, the Andalusian version of the Spanish term designating a mysterious and ineffable charisma. His latest work “Passion, Pathos and the Human Potential” can be seen at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe artist canonizes everyday saints through trash-based paint and collage.

Currier’s interest in trash began when she worked as a barista in Taos while studying at the old college in Santa Fe.

“I was blown away by the amount of trash thrown away,” she said. “I started doing collages – tea canisters, tea wrappers, coffee cups.”

The artist has created a series of Buddhist deities using coffee waste.

A Taos gallery picked up his work.

A descendant of lithographer Nathaniel Currier of Currier & Ives fame, she now travels the world collecting both crops and trash wherever she goes.

She spent the proceeds from her first show around the globe. She trained with kung fu masters in Beijing, tangoed in Buenos Aires and dined on dirt floors with Tibetan exiles in Nepal.

She spins her heroes from unusual sources.

Santa Fe artist Erin Currier has a tattoo of Nicaraguan revolutionary leader Augusto Sandino on her arm. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

The portrait “Israel (The Last Stylebender) Adesanya” was born out of his interest in the young professional mixed martial artist from New Zealand of Nigerian descent.

“He was often bullied as a child,” Currier said, describing Adesanya’s impulse to become a fighter. “I used a number of images and watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship fights. He donated medical equipment to hospitals in Nigeria and New Zealand during the pandemic.”

Currier begins with sketches and paint before constructing the collage.

“He’s a really flamboyant dresser, a real fashionista,” she added.

She created the orange ruff around her neck from strips of paper. The composition also includes sardine cans, sugar packets, playing cards and pub coasters from around the world.

For the 7-foot-tall “Las Mariachis,” she painted a composite portrait of Mexican female musicians, arched in Mexican bingo cards and matchbox covers. Cigar labels from a Mexican smokehouse clamber up their legs.

“I just wanted to do a great portrait as a tribute to feminine grace and solidarity and to Mexican culture and music in general,” Currier said, “something uplifting during this whole pandemic.”

“Vanessa Turnbull (After Titian)” is the portrait of an Australian indigenous activist. The “Revolution” fist on his chest came from a May Day protest flyer that Currier found in Berlin. Turnbull’s figure carries the Aboriginal flag.

“She’s part of the stolen generation of forced assimilation,” Currier said.

She decided to paint a portrait of Joe Rogan after listening to the comedian, actor and former TV presenter’s podcast. She wrapped her face in a parenting advice label, the Statue of Liberty, a Life cereal label and a “Miss & Mr. Fitness” flyer she discovered in Prague.

“I love that it has a whole lineup of speakers like Cornel West, Russell Brand and Bernie Sanders,” Currier said. “He’s had so many scientists and visionaries and people from across the political spectrum. I love his open mind and open heart.

His style reflects both the sacred portraits of the santeros of New Mexico and Eastern iconography.

She is working on her second commission for the Albuquerque Flamenco Festival. Currier also created the image used in the 2021 festival posters, banners and t-shirts.

She brings out the saint in everyone.

Currier’s work is in the permanent collections of the Harwood Museum in Taos, the New Mexico State Public Collection, and the University of Arizona Museum of Art, as well as the private collections of Bernardo Bertolucci. , Lisa Bonet, John Cusack, Whoopi Goldberg, Mel Gibson, Coretta Scott King, Julia Roberts, Carlos Santana and Martin Sheen.

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