Eric Leffler

Eric Leffler

In my work I like to experiment with different ways of representing the urban landscape, which I use as the basis for combining my formal interests in color and design with my conceptual interests in politics, religion, and capitalism. The key elements of my paintings are architectural forms, colors, and patterns and how they contradict, relate, and interact with those of nature. These interests are superficial, but out of that superficiality emerge words and messages covering the surfaces of everything that immerses us in our capitalist society. I find these words to be fascinating, things like storefront and restaurant signs, publicity, remnants of wheat-pasted flyers, and deteriorated billboards, all of which tell a history of subliminal consumer brainwashing. These words function as short, efficient corporate slogans or representations of ideals, principles, or styles that these institutions want to transmit to the public.

These words have found their way into my work, usually making some sort of art historical reference or allusion to literary characters, ancient mythology, or psychological concepts. The words provide clues as to what those ideas or references are, beyond the colorful, geometric landscapes. I also use them as a means of incorporating elements of typography into the paintings, and I try to experiment as much as I can with collage and printmaking in order to avoid repetitive mark-making and flat surfaces, with which I am constantly battling. In the collages I like to use Sudoku and crossword puzzles and discarded Bingo cards as a template for color and compositional experiments which often inform my paintings, and they also introduce an element of chance to the work, diminishing my role in its creation.

In the paintings, the landscapes tend not to have any figures, but rather the buildings and constructions take on that role, serving as stand-ins for the characters involved, and the words indicate the existence of some form of life, whether it be past or present. I try to achieve an apparent element of irony in the way that the serious ideas behind the paintings are represented in bright colors and rendered in an almost childlike fashion. I have always had an affinity for artists who had a satirical touch, or had a tongue-in-cheek manner of representing the values and politics of their times. I attempt to approach my subjects with humor, because I believe that humor is the strongest form of criticism, or at least fomenting critical thought. For me the humor in these particular subjects has to do with the characters involved and their massive egos, which are represented in the architecture of their institutions. One of my primary goals with the paintings is to use the physical structures of these institutions as a representation of their own often antiquated ideologies, observing the overwhelming presence of these constructions, slogans, and icons that have endured through the centuries.

Artist Biography

I currently teach Drawing and Painting classes at Coastline Community College’s beautiful Newport Beach campus. I have a Master’s degree in Fine Arts (MFA) from the Universidad de Vigo (Pontevedra), Spain. After achieving my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (BFA) in Painting and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Spanish from Indiana University-Bloomington, I moved to Vigo, Spain for three years, thanks to some generous funding from the Spanish Ministry of Education. That is where I met the lady with whom I would eventually get married, and since 2014 we have lived happily in Long Beach, CA.

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