Who is Erik Sommer?
Erik Sommer is an artist, curator and founder of the Mott Project.
Erik lives and works in New York City.
His paintings, sculptures and cement installations are influenced by abandoned buildings, eroded stone and eerie silences.
In his work he attempts to capture and freeze the effects of time.
We connected with Erik because not only are we fans of his work as an artist, but also respect his work as curator and as founder of the Mott Project, a space where he promotes fellow artists.
I took an interest in art during college.
I have always been into music, and made a living as a musician for a few years after college, but around my early 20’s I realized the artist-alone-in-the-studio sensibility suited me much more than the musician-who-has-to-perform-at-9pm.
I could return to it the next day to experience it again. So, when I turned 25 I decided to be a painter.
My early interest in art was very much focused on painting, mostly because of the abstract expressionists.
I spent a lot of time studying art, going to the library and reading everything I could about movements, artists, important pieces, and artist stories.
Pollock and de Kooning led me to Basquiat, with me still thinking that art equals a painting on a wall, until one day I saw a photograph of Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s Valley Curtain .
That totally changed everything for me, and allowed me to work large and not be confined to a canvas.
I like to have numerous pieces going on at once.
In my studio at any given time there will be several canvases, some sculptures, and plans for new cement installations.
The installations are a little different in that they are created on-site, but everything else I work on in my studio.
Mott Projects began in 2019 as a way to document and help promote my friends’ work.
A lot of us have shown or been associated with Deli Grocery, an incredible space run by Paul Cooley in Brooklyn.
I used the Mott Projects moniker to help promote the exhibitions that were being shown there, but once it got a bit of traction I knew I wanted it to be more than just an Instagram feed.
It now features 26 artist interviews, as well as monthly international exhibition news.
I toyed with allowing writers to submit work, an idea I still might come back to, but the next big step will be hosting 2 or 3 exhibitions per year.
When younger artists reach out to me my advice is always to be patient and to remain true to themselves.
Success means different things to different people. Some artists are in it for the money and glory, while other artists just need to make art regardless if it sells.
My goal has always been to support myself through my art, and to find like minded people who get it and have similar tastes and goals.
Instagram has been extremely useful in bringing together artists, with the flip side being that some artists are just chasing the ‘likes’.
The art world can be tricky and confusing and unbelievably fickle so a solid group of friends is a must.
Like most everything, I found that success came to me after I quit agonizing over it and just let it happen.
I love living in the digital age. The internet is sort of my favorite thing, and like most everyone I am now on-line unless I am asleep.
I love having the world’s knowledge in my phone, and try not to take for granted that there are video tutorials for literally anything you want to learn.
I should mention that I was a librarian for 15 years, so this is probably just my geekiness showing through.
b. 1978 Duluth, MN
A few things in the works that haven’t been announced yet. Stay tuned!
Group: 2020 2020, The Finale – Warburton Galerie– New York
Pandemic Blowout – Plank Road – New York
Household Intimacies – PAD – New York
overlooked, forgotten, beautiful, silent, reflection, decay, urban, cement
Contact and links
Mott Projects: mottprojects.com
Big thank you to Erik for allowing us to feature him and his work, it was especially fun since he too features and promotes his artist friends.
Now it is his turn.