Day 113: Erin McCillen

When I was a young child, my bedroom shared a wall with my parent’s bedroom.  When I was six years old, my dad was diagnosed with cancer and over the next three years suffered.  Shortly after I turned nine, he died.  In the years that followed, my mother would cry herself to sleep every night and I could hear her in my room.  It was so painful to listen to that I would crawl into my closet, which was on the opposite wall, cuddle in amongst my stuffed animals that I had lined up neatly and draw to get my feelings out.  The walls were textured in my house.  Within the textures, I could see people, animals, faces etc.  I was always the kid seeing things that weren’t there.  Art was my escape from the pain of losing my dad.  Creating soon became my escape from all the pain of the world and culminated in my graduating from the Art Institute of Seattle with honors in 1994.  I never went into the field as a career option because my art was so personal to me that I could not separate it from my soul, so I went forward doing my art for myself and continuing to take ongoing workshops here and there to keep my skills up.  It was the combining of my formal education and these workshops that resulting in my backwards art style.

I do not create the standard way.  I randomly make a background in the style that I need to express that day.  If I am depressed, it is much waterier.  If I am energetic, more vibrant.  If I am sad, it may be dark.  These “blanks” as I call them then dry and I begin my real work- looking at them, looking for something, anything.  Once I see it, I “trace” what I see and bring it out in my very graphic style.  What is uncovered is what resides in my soul.  My style is very whimsical on purpose because I want to bring happiness to the viewer.  Most of my subject matter ends up being objects and people that have deep personal meanings to me, but my greatest hope is that they will bring joy to anyone that sees them.

I believe in art as therapy for the soul.  I believe art allows humans to express in such a way that they grow up healthier human beings.  If the world could experience art through my eyes, no art class would ever be cut from our school systems.  Art saved me.

Personal art:

My business: (my glass studio)

My facebook page is

Pups in Red Rocks
Happy Hounds


Polar Bear








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