Erica Steiner Artist Interview

“Whether this impulse is made manifest in the form of an everyday act like putting on jewelry, or in an overt act of ritual, such as the adornment of a religious icon with flower garlands, we as humans are ubiquitously driven to decorate our world, to sanctify it, and to beautify it with ornament.”


Erica Steiner’s amazingly detailed oil paintings serve as a merging point for many freestanding design styles. A heavy focus on nature and landscapes come into play, but don’t expect any static paintings here. Steiner’s works ripple with waves of decorated gold leaf, Victorian-inspired florals, nearly psychedelic coloring, and detailed ornamentation. Her newest paintings, shown here, are called Reverie: Meditations on an Ornamental World, and the name cannot be more suitable. “Whether this impulse is made manifest in the form of an everyday act like putting on jewelry, or in an overt act of ritual, such as the adornment of a religious icon with flower garlands, we as humans are ubiquitously driven to decorate our world, to sanctify it, and to beautify it with ornament,” Steiner says, explaining the idea behind this body of work. Where Chinese and Japanese landscape painting, Tibetan Buddhist textiles, and medieval Catholic illumination manuscripts may sound a little dated, Steiner manages to incorporate these ancient, ornate styles into something refreshing for the modern age.

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www.ericasteiner.com

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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