Artist’s Inspiration: Erika Ross
We invited local artists to respond to the theme Fresh as part of our Wall of Art series, a quarterly juried art show produced in partnership with Guelph Arts Council. The submissions received were incredibly varied, as each artist brought a truly unique perspective to the theme. For this blog series, we asked the artists to share their inspiration and the story that their piece tells.
Raindrops on Leaf, Ontario
Erika Ross is a painter/photographer living in Guelph who immigrated to Canada from New York in 1999. Her work is influenced by rural family farms and upstate New York landmarks such as the Seward Mansion, the Roosevelt Estate, and Olana, home of the Hudson River School’s Frederic Edwin Church. She has lived in Ontario for eighteen years, teaching art history and theory at the University of Toronto, the Ontario College of Art & Design, the University of Western Ontario, and the Royal Conservatory of Music.
Ross’s interest in colour and detail arise from her family’s experience with autism. Juxtaposition of colours, a focus on the sensory, and isolation of detail are ways of seeing inherent to this experience. Crayola 64 and Legos were important objects to Ross’s older sister, who communicates frequently using colour comparisons and scripts of 1970s American television. Ross is also the primary caregiver to a youth with Asperger’s, who has taught her much about finding joy in the details of everyday life.
Her piece “Raindrops on a Leaf, Ontario” was captured on Yarmouth Road in Toronto with a Panasonic Lumix LX7. While primarily a formal decision, lured by the sensory play of silver, magenta, and green, the piece perhaps suggests the current struggle of young Canadians to find a foothold in and around our larger cities, many moving to renew and revitalize 20th century industrial regions for a fresh start.