Mural and decorative artist, Erik Schlake has been influenced over the years by traditional decorative art as well as contemporary street art. Erik was elated to be invited to participate in 2017, 2018 and 2019 Salon. The Salon is a world wide gathering of artist from different countries that exhibit their work, teach master classes and discuss old and new techniques.
Erik, a New York native, didn’t begin painting until he moved to St Louis at the age of 23. After studying fine art, he felt unsettled until discovering various forms of decorative arts. Becoming fascinated with the work of European decorative painters, he quickly moved his work in that direction. Erik has worked with numerous private and commercial clients, developing one of a kind murals and a multitude of decorative arts in both residences and businesses locations.
“I didn’t want to simply paint on canvas. There is something powerful about changing an entire environment through murals or decorative arts. In creating a new environment, you are not only able to transform the space, but how people view themselves in that space.”
I like to combine different styles in my work, creating something that is unique and infuses familiar elements, such as a classic painting or historic scene.The use of trompe l’oeil, grisaille, and other traditional decorative art forms blend perfectly with the values of street art, which is to engage and interact with the viewer with a more informal form of communication. It’s a style I like to refer to as “modern traditionalist”.
As a resident artist of Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, Erik coordinated with Hermitage to create a project to bring together 9 mural artists from all around the country to collaborate and educate.
From that experience, Erik found an inner calling and began working on small community murals and art projects. Working more with the Englewood community, he advised and demonstrated the process of creating a mural with 6 high school age participants. Under Erik’s direction, they painted a mural commemorating the work of Ken Mitchell, a local artist, whose work is in the Florida State collection.
Erik found that he enjoyed the interaction with the public and the collaborative element of other artists while participating multiple years in street art painting festivals like Sarasota Chalk Festival, Safety Harbor Bloomn’ Chalkfest, Ft Myers Art Fest, Lake Worth Street Painting Festival and Marietta Chalktoberfest, as well as participating in Naples Italy’s Corsico di Internazionalle de Madonnari in May.
During this time period, Erik began adding new elements to his work in an attempt to engage viewers in a new way. With attendance at festivals reaching tens of thousands of people per weekend, the interaction with the crowd gave insight to how people interacted with his art.
“People want to connect with art and through art. It’s not enough to just paint a pretty picture. People are looking to engage. There was a time when art was primarily about the artist and their ideas, but that time is passing. Art is now becoming more about finding ways for people to connect, not only with the art but each other. It’s our job as artists to become facilitators of those moments”
Erik works under the name Erik Schlake Murals LLC, a licensed and insured company in Florida.