I have arrived.
Recently, I had the pleasure of reconnecting with a friend from my childhood days who has begun to bloom in a unique way. Ladies and Gentlemen, Erick Stow is a Canadian outsider art brut powerhouse. He has a message and a vision for the world. I’m excited enough to have already begun backing Erick in the small ways I can, and I want to introduce him to you for your mutual benefit. This man’s art helps me see.
Erick and I began chatting last month around the blockchain art scene that is exploding recently. I had the good fortune of catching up with Marjan Moghaddam last month, and decided to make it a point to become close friends with artists as a result of the connection we experienced.
Marjan’s aesthetic philosophy is profound; her art derives its value from the accuracy of this powerful philosophical vision. Erick’s work is much the same, but Erick has come up from the streets during Marjan’s tenure in High Art, lending him more of an outsider’s air of mystique that contrasts with Marjan’s comfortable philosophical expertise. You have to pay careful attention to Erick for a few minutes, but once you see what he’s up to it becomes incredibly compelling.
Erick has cultivated a powerful, unique ability to transcend and merge high and low art, sacrificing pretense afforded to him during residencies in order to better serve his peers and his patrons. This has resulted in a down-to-earth, approachable and social demeanor which Stow brings with him everywhere he goes, during the good times as well as the bad times.
From founding an Art Rag (literally, the name of his magazine is Art Rag) in university to touring the countryside and inventing a surreal, post impressionist, fourth dimensional expressionism style known as Motionism with strong hyperrealist cues to it which is beginning to symbolize the collapse of the hyperreal back into the real, Erick learned to believe in his artistic vision. From doing murals and installations to sleeping in a van and selling art to stay alive, Erick has learned to commit entirely to his artistic vision.
He explains: “Art comes from pain and shame.” I spend hours staring at his works and thinking through the resemblance that this has for me, a most-uncanny resemblance to the philosophical insights of existentialism and postmodernism. During our time together back when we were kids, I knew this mind.
I watch him carefully, but my conclusion is a foregone thing by now: my friend has completed the circle. He confronted his demons and has reached some important internal resolution. He is doing and saying things because he understands, not because he doesn’t. I sigh, relieved. I’m happy for my friend.
Erick has had the artist’s equivalent of the philosophical journey I’ve been on for the past twenty or so years.
Art comes from pain and shame.
The First Twitter-based Art Show
Back in January, Erick and I sat down to chat and catch up, and he pulled me into his art show by styling titles for some of the works he was creating after the direction of our conversation. This impressed me greatly, but I’ll let the tweets speak for themselves. There are many, and I even picked up a few from v.cent.co for my NFTweet collection.
A Truly Creative Resume
Even Erick’s most basic traditional documents bear the unique stamp of a master of the arts. His design thinking is vertically oriented throughout his life, and this structure enables him to reach remarkable heights of creativity in even the most mundane tasks.
Reactor Room: My Proudest NFT Art Purchase
Erick has begun to get to know the budding crypto art community and has been featured as a guest of Ezincrypto on Tokensmart. As a result of this engagement and the conversation surrounding it, Reactor Room has two proud new owners and many more of the 50 total prints are available at OpenSea.io if you’re curious or would like to own a limited edition print run of a massive work of art.
Erick’s Vision: Can You See It?
Erick is interested in vision in four dimensions. This is to say that he considers his art to be related to his destiny in a unique and remarkable way. He paints women and then meets them. Some of his stories are quite incredible, but coming at this from the standpoint of philosophy and words, I find myself surprised at the alignment between my more explicitly rationalist endeavors and Stow’s visions.
For example, take a look here at Lakshmi, perhaps a candidate for Masterpiece in the Stow catalogue. The work is gigantic and required an absurd amount of work to produce, but even its price is an experiment. Erick priced it on OpenSea at a price of (brush strokes * 20$)/ETH price the day it was listed, as an early statement about the power of quantification of work to ensure the fair compensation of artists for their time in creating world-changing masterpieces.
Erick’s portraiture eye is revealing and kind simultaneously, as his work reviews the innate flaws and weaknesses which ultimately comprise the healthiest human organisms among us. This, I learned during our chats as the NFTweet show continued, has a lot to do with his compassion for himself and others. My philosophical mind recognized another element of it, stunningly: courage.
This piece of art (and other Stow works purchased digitally) will come with a minted Certificate of Authenticity certifying full ownership rights to the Stow purchased at auction or on sale.
Erick was explaining to me the difference between calculation and intuition, with a strong eye toward intuition and a self-deprecation drive predicated upon education and openness to vulnerability rather than perfection and overachievement.
I was stunned to see how fluidly my old friend had learned to move between these forms and construct entire worlds with his art.
Seeing, his work seems to emphasize, is believing. For Erick Stow, the question is not whether the world is ready to appreciate his art (it does); but rather whether his audience can understand what he is or not. Facebook user and mutual friend Josh Quinn shared a Stow via the social media application and explained that Erick’s work was opening the door to understanding the value of blockchain technology.
This is a project I am centrally concerned with, this idea that the goal of everyone in crypto needs to have to do with bringing in new users and finding ways to deploy this tech. To see my old friend step into the spotlight and immediately be recognized by our community as a man whose work can help people explore the promise of new technology has been an amazing experience. I look forward to seeing my friend grow. I look forward to seeing new technologies rise up. There are a great many wonderful things afoot.
Follow Erick on Twitter via @somethingerick. His public Ethereum address is 0x096D22122236B3E62D934EC8354Ef37230F5C9E6.