Erin creates distinctive imagery examining and recording cultural and biological decline referencing traditional and contemporary symbolism, archetypes and anecdotes. For over ten years Erin has refined her practice working with a variety of mediums including oil painting, video, pigment liner and aerosol. An overview of her personal and commercial work reveals a dynamic visual dialogue, which when subjected to interpretation or inspection shifts, from satirical, to sardonic, to serious, and back again.

The reality of working full-time as a commercial illustrator and her growing interest in environmental concerns is reconciled in video works such as ‘Tarts’ and ‘Hysteria’ in which the artist plays herself. The role – a frustrated artist working in the confines of spaces accessible to her in a city caught in a sort of adolescent awkwardness, constructions sites, under-utilised spaces, claustrophobic private spaces shared with other frustrated artists (who sometimes also feature as themselves).

Similarly, her series of acrylic paintings accompanied by pre-recorded sound devices, EYESORE and follow up series of acrylic paintings and pigment liner illustrations EYESORE II - Sick Days, both emancipates and inexplicably binds her from/to audience misconceptions a self-taught commercial artist applying, cultural subtext and critique to structures borrowed from commercial/graphic art.

More recent works such as Sweet Enough signify a more expansive consideration cultural connections and social structures associated with the natural environment. The pastoral landscape is barren of endemic flora and fauna while fallen fence posts and coiling number 8 wire in the foreground may be a nod to the brambles that ensnared in Love and the Pilgrim (Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones, 1896) albeit a nod in jest. The pose of the central figure is borrowed from archetypes of New Zealand’s colonizing religion. The pattern which adorns her porcelain figure, Royal Doulton’s English Rose, suffers from crazing. Erin has painted her as if an effigy, seemingly indifferent to the greying sky enveloping her and the swarming wasps beginning to escape the canvas. It remains unclear if and what any interaction may be on the part of the figure in the environment. Is her ominous presence intended to signify intervention or passivity of the circumstances she is at once surrounded by and a part of?  


People talk:

“All that is candidly dark and goopy - booty cheese passion, the delicious and grotesque - come together in Erin’s chaotic visual repertoire.”
— Mahala Rose, Curation Redux
Erin Forsyth’s illustrative compositions have a limitless variety of subjects...subjects are treated to a level of draughtsmanship that is as fine as one may find anywhere”
— Matt Blomeley, Constant Practice
“A dark gem in Auckland’s art scene”
— Cleo Barnett, King Brown Magazine

Select Clients:

Panuku Development, Lion Breweries, Stolen Girlfriends Club, Jimmy D, Workshop Clothing, Jane Sutherland, Damaged Goods Magazine, Converse, Red Bull, Tiger Beer, Zora Boyd Bell Jewelry, Depot Artspace, Artweek Auckland, The Royal Society New Zealand, Meridian Energy, 1:12 records, Sound Recordings, The Raw Nerves, 95bFM, Insight clothing, The Periodic Journal, Holy Serpent, The Admiral, Empire Skate, The New Order Magazine, Auckland City Council