How would you describe your art?

Unique, playful, vibrant, and awesome! Haha. I have always admired graffiti and cartoons/illustrations. Those styles are very prevalent in my work. The bold black line work and vibrant colors.

What medium/materials do you prefer to work with?

I mainly use acrylics: acrylic paint, paint pens, and airbrush.

How and when did you begin to create?

I have been creating ever since I could hold a pencil really. My grandmother was a very talented and successful artist. She would give me art lessons all the time. I went on to study illustration at Jacksonville University. Now I do commission work, murals, live art, anything to get my name out there.

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What is your creative process?

This is hard to describe, I never really think about it just go into autopilot and don’t stop. Art is a natural high for me. I can go all day and never stop, never eat, my brain shuts everything off. When I finish my body crashes, its addicting feeling the way I do when I am painting.

You have an obvious connection with the ocean and sea life, that is apparent in your art, where did this connection derive from?

I grew up here in Jacksonville on the St John’s River and we would vacation at our beach house in CT. So no matter where I was I was always in the water fishing, boating, surfing, any and every water activity you can think of.

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Describe some of the projects you have worked on, ie: working with Clay Bennett, Bangarang, etc?

Working in a shaping factory was a dream I had since I was a kid. I always wanted to mix my love of surfing and art. Clay taught me a lot and always gave me artistic freedom, which was a lot of fun for me. I would love to get back in one, so any shapers looking for an artist? And Bangarang…well that’s just an experience, it’s a great gig. I went to school with Mason, he called one day and asked if I’d like to try it out. After my first night I was hooked, the energy from the crowd is awesome and fuels me. I normally paint really large murals so it takes a lot out of me. I am always tired as hell when I get home at 4 a.m. but couldn’t be happier.

Advice to young, aspiring artists?

There are two kinds of artists: those that do it as a hobby, a way to spend their Sunday, and those that want to make art their career and their life. No matter which one you are, keep creating and do what you enjoy, don’t do what you think you should because of others. For those looking to make art their career, you need to have the guts to get out there. But most of all have fun with it and love it.

Shameless plug?

I’d like to thank anyone that has ever helped me or given me an opportunity. I am truly grateful. You can find more of my work at erichnegaard.com, on Facebook at Erich Negaard’s Art, at Greenroom Brewery, or at the Downtown Art Walk.

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