By Bradley Maxwell Erin Mulligan is an artist in Canton.She has been showing her art in Stark County for the last few years. Erin’s work is often displayed at Cyrus Custom Framing and Art Gallery in Canton, where she offers some of her original pieces for sale. What type of artist would you say you are? It’s too hard to say really. I’m probably an illustrator because what I paint is not exactly realism, though the technique is realism. My subject matter is more story like. The things I normally paint, are kind of fantasy. It’s hard to classify myself because I’m not surrealist or realist. Why do you paint? It’s who I am. I know that’s so cliche. Other painters say, “I have to paint because it’s who I am”, but it really is that way. If you’re an artist, that’s the way your brain works. If you don’t create art, whether it’s painting, music, writing, whatever, then you get depressed. And it doesn’t have to be painting for me, or even visual art. It can even be messing around with a musical instrument. I’ve thought it would be so much fun to get in to theatre. I just need to express it. It’s like this feeling in your make-up that makes you need to create stuff. What inspires you? I know what it feels like but I don’t know exactly what it is. There’s nature and animals. There’s the way we feel as people, the way we live and the many different aspects of our lives which make us who we are. There’s all these different ideas that float around the Universe and Everything. You try and put all that in to one thing, the stuff that makes up everything about our lives. The ugliness, the beauty, the scariness, the appreciation of it all. That is what drives me. Who are some of your favorite painters? Hieronymus Bosch, he’s one of my favorites. I have lots of favorites. Do you know Diane Arbus? She was a photographer in NYC who died in 1971 around the same time as a lot of other geniuses. She took amazing photographs, most of the time of people. She would travel with sideshows and take pictures of different types of characters, such as transvestites and little people. She was an amazing artist. A genius. Of course I like people like Jim Morrison and Bob Dylan, too. There’s lots of them, really. There’s this French guy named Odilon Redon. Redon has this painting called the “Spirit of the Forest” with a little guy in a skeleton body with trees growing out of his head. It’s like the little guys I paint. Are there any habits that go along with your painting? Drugs? No. I drink sometimes. But when I paint, if I’m not totally there, I can’t concentrate. Some artists have asked me how I come up with this stuff, being a sober painter. However it’s hard enough to concentrate when I’m sober, so when I paint I listen to audiobooks and stuff. Audiobooks? Not music? Yeah, if I’m bored with my audiobook, I might put in some music. I listen to all kinds. I like weird, unique, experimental stuff. From accordian music, 30’s and 40’s jazz, opera, to classic and rock, just not top 40. Usually music gets boring, too. There’s so much boring music out there. I haven’t found my perfect genre yet. Where do you want to be in 5 years? I would love to be in national shows. I also would like to not have to do so much self marketing. That’s the part I really hate. I’d rather spend my time doing what I love, which is painting. I don’t want to create art for the sake of making money. I want to be able to do what I love without getting in to the mindset of “this is my job”, because sometimes you don’t notice when that mindset happens, but it’s scary when you do. I want to be making a living doing what I love, painting. Prints of Erin Mulligan’s work can be found either at Cyrus Custom Framing and Art Gallery or Acme Artists Gallery in downtown Canton. She also has some projects she will be involved in this coming spring and summer at Anderson Creative Studio. Erin will also be painting live at the Art is Alive event on April 9th and 10th at the Canton Cultural Center.