What is your name: Erik Von Ploennies

Do you have a formal art education or are you a self taught artist:
I am a self-taught artist. My education & work experience are in electrical engineering.

What is the style of your pieces:
I like to call it Modern Primitive Expressionism.

What is the medium in which you work:
Mixed media paintings on wood. I typically use acrylic, colored pencils, charcoal pencils, oil pastels, and the Brooklyn Rail newspaper for collage material.
What started you on your path as an artist: In 2004, I visited New York City and on my first day, went to the Guggenheim Museum. There was this unbelievable painting by Vasily Kandinsky called “Painting With White Border”. When I returned home, I purchased some pencils and paper, and that was the beginning of my art adventures.
In 2007, my wife and I moved to Brooklyn, New York and within a few months I was participating in group exhibitions.

What is one of the most important things that art has brought to your life:
Painting is my creative outlet and an economical form of mental therapy. It relaxes my mind by temporarily escaping to a different world, that I create.

What is your favorite genre of art besides the one you work in:
Children’s art is my favorite genre. Looking at the drawings and paintings on the walls of a preschool classroom is often more satisfying than visiting a museum.

Do you have art showings, and if so what are they typically like:
I participate in group exhibitions whenever I can find them. They are typically in small venues. My most memorable exhibition took place at the Gaga Arts Center, New York. It was a large group exhibition called “Outside In” that was a mix of Outsider Art and self-taught artists.

Do you have a certain set of clothes you make art in:
My wife makes me wear old t-shirts because I tend to get paint on them.

What has been the most frustrating part of being an artist?
Hitting a lengthy creative block and the struggle to get out of it. It can be quite frustrating, but getting through it generally produces some kind of breakthrough and a new direction to head in. I don’t have any techniques other than being patient and working through it.

What is your favorite sandwich of all time:
New York style Italian.
Has this year brought about any changes in your work, and if so what are they: It’s been slowly evolving for the past two years, but story telling and poetry are now an integrated part of my paintings. The poetry is created from the text of the Brooklyn Rail newspaper collage material. After the painting is complete, I try to figure out what it’s about, and that’s where the creative storytelling comes in.

Who is your favorite artist alive or dead:
Paul Klee


What is the most moving piece of artwork that you have seen in person:
Considering that Kandinsky’s “Painting With White Border” made me want to be an artist, have to go with that.

Do you have any animals, and what do they think of your work:
I used to have a red tailed boa. She liked all my paintings with snakes.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions you would like to share with us:
No exhibitions scheduled at this time, but expect to have something scheduled later in the year for New York City.

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