10 Questions // Erin Colleen Williams : Philadelphia

1. What inspires you these days?

Lately it has been the stray cats living behind my house. There is a huge opossum too! It strikes me as amazing and crazy that these animals can survive in my alley in their own little ecosystem. I have been doing a lot of thinking on the interaction between humans and animals in the urban environment which is giving me a whole slew of ideas for a body of work. I have also been inspired by the Philadelphia community specially my time at my old studio in Kensington. It was such a strange mix of people from hipsters to Dominican immigrants to junkies, all trying to share the same neighborhood. While there, I was amazed with my own preconceived notions of safety and violence which I had never considered before. I have a very diverse history as far as living situations and home locations (I grew up in Alaska), so much of my understanding of safety is my experience with potentially dangerous wildlife like bears. My conceptualization of danger hasn’t changed, although the source has. This realization has been very inspiring.

2. Who are your heroes?

Hmm, it seems hard to find heroes these days, especially in the traditional sense. I suppose I would have to pick a more generic group of people and say I most look up to my few friends who are making a go, and finding some success, at the fine art career. I am moved by those who continue to work through discouragement and obstacles without being phased (or at least not on the surface). I also find people with eternal optimism quite inspiring. These are the people who will make the world a better place. I hope I can be one of them.

3. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A little house by the water in the Vermont. A donkey and an angora goat. Stability. Travel. Excitement. Oh, and I will be really really happy when Apple creates a device that can convert your thoughts to word.doc. That will be rad!

4. What scares the hell out of you?

The human centipede. I hate the idea! It gives me chills to think that someone can dream that up and make a movie out of it, and that people will want to see it (including myself). Is this what entertainment has come to? What happened to Alfred Hitchcock??

5. What makes you laugh hard?


6. Who are your favorite artists of all time?

All time is a long time! So I will list some of my favorite more recent artist, because otherwise you will get a lot of bad impressionists I was really into when I was 8. Tim Hawkinson, Lee Bontecou, Louise Bourgeois, Albert Paley, Jean Tinguely, Hieronymus Bosch, Kiki Smith, Richard Mawdsley, Jorge Luis Borges, Arthur Ganson, Heidi Schwegler, Nicholas Kahn and Richard Selesnick, Josiah McElheny, Debra Swann, Rosemarie Padovano, Niels Hansen Jacobsen, Leonard Baskin

7. What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Rammstein. I have 4 hours worth of Rammstein on my ipod. It is obscene.

8. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?

I would be a self-starter more than one day a week. I would love to change the amount of money in my bank account, but I suppose that doesn’t count.

9. What’s your favorite thing in the world?

75 degree days. And that moment right after you wake up but don’t have to get out of bed yet.

10. What comes to mind when you think of Brooklyn?

Since I don’t live in Brooklyn right now, it is a little harder to come up with something. But my most recent visit to Park Slope makes me think of yuppies, brownstones and really great trash picking. My time in Bed-Sty makes me think of diversity and dirty streets. Mostly, though, when I think of Brooklyn I think of the great people I know there (sappy answer), and the ridiculous amount in tolls I have to pay to get there
(practical answer).

/// See more of Erin’s work here.

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