Eryn Lougheed cites social media as being the medium through which she was first exposed to the majority of illustration’s different forms and possibilities. The Ontario College of Art and Design University second year is part of a wave of students who are wasting no time in investigating and realising the scope of their practice and the impact it can have through these platforms.
Having become fascinated with illustration due to its experimental, personal and often surreal nature, Eryn decided to move more than two thousand miles across the country from Victoria BC to Toronto, attracted by the work coming out of the illustration faculty at OCAD. Her first time living in a major city, Eryn feels that “its chaos challenges, accosts, excites and accepts”, yet overall finds studying and living in the centre of downtown Toronto “incredibly motivating”. “The comic and art communities here are a treat” she beams, “there’s so much exciting work being made and shared”.
Although she’s starting to create more of her work through digital processes, Eryn’s practice typically begins with her sketchbook and is followed by several stages of tests and planning. “I like to let my hand flow the way it wants to, and to allow for mistakes and wonkiness, even when working digitally” she explains. “Some of my personal or abstract work follows a more intuitive path; I find embracing the unknown and working loosely important for me and each project calls for a different process”.
Lately Eryn’s work has been influenced by the DIY ethos of drag queens and the cowboy aesthetic of her west coast hometown. This runs parallel to a focus on music and photography made by women in the 70’s and 80’s and comes together in her recent zine ‘Who Invented the Typical Girl?’ which lends it’s title from The Slits’ song Typical Girls. “I was thinking a lot about the cyclical relationship between subcultures and the dominant culture.” Eryn remarks, “the way this engages with capitalism, and the role of marginalised voices within subcultures”. They’re themes and ideas that she is just getting started on but is determined to continue to explore and understand.
Eryn’s determination to push her boundaries is clear and great to see at her age. She actively practices photography and collage, borrowing aspects of character, colour, form and pattern from these mediums to inform and create a dialogue within her illustration work. Eryn’s appetite and excitement to consistently create new work and use her surroundings as stimulus create a solid foundation to her ambitious plans. “I want to stretch my vulnerability muscle and make work that is more explicitly personal”, she reveals. “After my undergrad, I’ll probably part with Toronto and am aiming to dedicate myself to art full time. It’s a beautiful question mark at the moment”. A question mark it may be, but there’s a lot of evidence to already suggest that Eryn has the drive and dexterity to make that wish come true.