Eric White Drops Knowledge

December 18, 2012


We asked our “Artist of the Month” Eric White some very important questions about life, food, art, his sign, and the future. Read on and learn from the grandmasta killah himself. E.White is the man.

Cinders: if you could have any superpower what would it be?

These are cliché, but either invisibility or flying. Tough choice. I’ll get back to you…


How would you describe your process?

I do most of my sketching in Photoshop, though sometimes very preliminary work is still done on paper. I use a grid to transfer the sketch to canvas by hand, looking at reference on an inkjet printout and more recently on an iPad. I don’t really like to project, because I prefer to keep the thing alive and make mistakes and work things out as I go. It’s definitely more challenging and slower this way. And maybe stupid, because people probably assume I project anyway, or even print the comp on canvas and paint right over it, like a bunch o’ fools are doing these days…


When did you start making art?

As soon as I could hold a crayon I imagine. I drew Spiderman and Aquaman and Hulk obsessively until Star Wars came out. I studied Ed Emberly and built plastic monster models and made random shit and painted and drew constantly. At a certain age I settled into graphite on paper and didn’t paint seriously until College.


When did you know you wanted to make art for the rest of your life? or do you know that?

I thought I had to get a ‘real job’ and my parents agreed. But visiting RISD with my dad during high school left me with no question about where to go and what to do for a living. Before that I didn’t really see being an artist as a viable option.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

No Idea. I just hope there are more trees.

What is inspiring you these days?

Coffee. And old films. And music. And dreams. And weird metaphysical & spiritual books. And random internet searches.


Last good film you saw?

The Comedy with Tim Heidecker. Really well made, and his performance was incredible. It’s a unique, funny, dark film.


How the hell did you learn to paint so well?

Lots and lots of practice and self-discipline. I thought I was pretty good when I got out of school, but soon realized I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. I’m still learning and it’s still a struggle a lot of the time. I’m training myself to paint a little bit looser these days, and over the years I’ve built up a certain confidence in my ability.


Do you have any favorite quotes/mottos?

Here are a few:

A little paranoia is a good propeller.
—Captain Beefheart

If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.
—Marcus Aurelius

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.
—Plato (supposedly)

He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
—Martin Luther King, Jr

Infinity is boring.
—Jason Gandy

The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is given to the less talented as a consolation prize.
—Robert Hughes

Politics: The shadow cast on society by big business.
—John Dewey

The position of the artist is humble. He is essentially a channel.
—Piet Mondrian

I’m seeing the strawberries again.
—Dee Dee Ramone


What music are you listening to in the studio?

Lately I’ve been obsessed with this Jim Sullivan record U.F.O. that my friend Jenna introduced me to. It’s a really strange story—he put out two records and literally vanished in 1975. I somehow never get sick of it, I think it’s a perfect record. Death Grips, Daniel Rossen, Bert Jansch, Duke Ellington, Clams Casino, Sibylle Baier, Big Boys, MF Doom, Guided by Voices, Prince, and Neil Young have all been on heavy rotation recently.


What is your favorite spot in the world right now?

Well, my future favorite spot is Machu Picchu. But right now it’s still Muir Woods in Northern CA. City-wise, Firenze almost knocked Paris out of the box when I went for the first time last year… Almost.

Where do you feel at home?

At home with my cats, in the studio, and at my brother Justin’s house in San Francisco.


What are you currently working on?

I am working on two upcoming shows, a split solo in Copenhagen with Daniel Davidson, and one in Los Angeles at Martha Otero next year. I’m excited to finally be showing in LA again. There’s a video I shot with friends at the Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/Dunkin Donuts by my studio that needs editing, and Daniel and I have been ‘working’ on a science fiction movie for about five years…


Do you envision a positive future or do you think we are all fucked? apocalypse theories?

Both. Part of me has a very spiritual view of it all, and another part sees it in the most paranoid and alarmist way imaginable. I have thought for a while now that a lot of the things we’re up to as a society are not sustainable long-term, and a number of things seem to be coming to a head simultaneously—climate, endless war, economy, resources, blah blah blah. But ultimately I believe that what we consider reality is an illusion, so we’re all ok.


What is your spirit animal?

it’s Deer in Native American astrology, at least according to a book called Earth Medicine that my friend b. Mossman gave me. It is freakily accurate at describing my personality.

What astrological sign are you?

Super Gemini. I think I have The Twins in four houses. Extra schizo.


Who are some of your favorite artists right now?

Christian Marclay, Jonah Freeman & Justin Lowe, Peter Blume, Chris Johanson, Peter Saul, Kristin Schiele, Mike Kelley, Ed Ruscha.


What would be your last meal before execution?

It would definitely involve ice cream.


We have been releasing new drawings by Eric every week this month. Check them out HEEERREE.

Images List:
1. Eric White at his Johnathan Levine Show, photo by JL Schnabel for Hi-Fructose
2. 1973 Ford Pinto with Tanguy Sky (3 Women), 2011
3. Orgonomic Functionalism Conference 1973, 2003
4. Lets Rock, 2012
5. Stack Cabbge, 2009
6. 1971 Pontiac LeMans Hardtop Sedan (The French Connection) 2012
7. Collusion: Behemoth, 2007
8. Ascension, 2003
9. Eric with Jason Polan and Bill Thelen at Cinders, 2009?
10. Peabo Bryson, Ballpoint pen drawing for Move show at Cinders, 2007
11. No Neutral Thoughts, 2008
12. Divorce 2 (collaboration w/ Casey Gallagher, age 6) 2004
13. 1961 Ford Galaxie 500 Sunliner (Pierrot Le Fou), 2010
14. Too Much Content, 2009
15. Dadsville, 2003
16. Tim Biskup and Eric on the Tim and Eric Show