Bio & Artist Statement


Erika Rier is a fine artist and illustrator working mostly in inks and paints on paper in a style she calls folk surrealism. She has spent her life immersing herself in art and textiles. She spent many years oil painting and also as a clothing designer. Writing was her first love and she still secretly writes science fiction but never poetry anymore. Having lived in Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, NYC, and Arizona, and Washington state; Erika now resides in Portland, OR.  She also has one of each of the following: a husband, a daughter, and a cat.

Artist Statement

I seek to explore the inner life and turmoil of modern women by using imagery drawn from folk art, mythology, nightmares, and daily life. I seek to create pieces that draw viewers in with their bright colors and delicate line work but as a viewer delves deeper into the piece they will find themselves confronted with a complicated narrative to unravel.

Using ink, watercolor, gouache, and paper I create work in a style I call folk surrealism. I’m focused on developing a visual language which I have been building over the past decade, filled with pattern, color, and line. The narrative thread in my work is constantly evolving, each drawing is almost the next page in a wordless book.

The process of drawing for me is meditative. With pen in hand, I map the composition. I then focus on the main figure, always beginning with the eyes, working out from the central figure. Working in ink, I do make mistakes, and part of the process for me is figuring how to incorporate these errors into the composition. Once most of the ink is down I go in with gouache, watercolor, and graphite. I use these specific materials because of their history. The work created on paper and parchment through the ages, such as illuminated manuscripts or Hindu devotional paintings or Persian miniatures, hold a magic for me that I am seeking to bring into the modern world.