Meet our MAI ‘Wonder of the World’ video artist Erik Winkowski — a man dedicated to casting his gaze on the overlooked and unglamorous. We had a chat with him 8 months into his 12 month daily art challenge, where making art on the days that he really didn’t want to became the hardest hurdle to overcome. Having collaborated with brands like Prada, Gucci, Hermès and The New York Times – Winkowski proves that a video a day keeps creators block at bay. To find out more read on in our special MAI interview…
Hi, Erik. How would you best describe your work?
Video collage is probably the best way to describe my work. I use my Instagram like a sketchbook and each day I post a new video experiment. I’m interested in making work about things we look at each day but don’t really see, like traffic, clouds, weeds, and hands.
Take us through your daily studio grind from morning through to evening…
I usually wake up without an alarm clock around 6am and head downstairs to feed our cats. I meditate, drink a cup of tea, and spend some reading or writing. Then I’ll post my daily video to Instagram and try not to spend too much time looking at my phone. My wife, Gabrielle and I have breakfast together and then it’s off to work. I have a full-time job as an art director at an agency so from 9 to 5 I’m at the office. On my lunch hour I like to wander around the neighborhood looking for anything of interest: shadows, birds, houses, bugs … I’ve walked the same blocks hundreds of times but there’s always something new to see – if something catches my eye I’ll record it with my iPhone camera and figure out how to use it later. When it’s 5 o’clock I head home, Gabrielle and I have dinner, and then it’s time to make some art. If I didn’t get any interesting footage on my lunch break then I’ll shoot something in my home studio, which is just a desk with some lights and a tripod. Then I bring the footage on my computer and start working on it in After Effects. I usually have an idea in mind for a video but sometimes it doesn’t work and I’ll improvise something new – the goal is to surprise myself. Once the video is done I head to bed.
What was the biggest creative challenge you had to overcome in the past year?
I decided last May to work on a daily project for a full year. I’m about 8 months in and the biggest challenge has been making art on days when I really didn’t want to. In the past I made my work whenever the urge struck me which was often a few times a week but when I felt uninspired I could go weeks without making anything new. Now I make work every day whether I like it or not and the workload sometimes feels relentless but when I’m actually working it’s like I’m in a trance and time slips away. The daily practice has made me a little less precious with my work and better at finishing things.
Who would be more likely be your best friend: Mulder or Scully?
Oh man, that’s tricky. I guess Mulder, but they’re both super intense people. I’m more easygoing – I’d probably be best friends with a laid back alien.
Name one weird or defining thing that only where you live has?
New Orleans has a lot of weird and defining features – it’s hard to pick one. There’s a costumed dog parade during Mardi Gras called The Mystic Krewe of Barkus.