Enter the uncanny Californian valley with Erik Mark Sandberg’s LA-inspired paintings
Taking an interdisciplinary approach, the artist uses both analogue and digital methods to find the right “language” for each of his paintings.
California has long existed as a sort of inspiration-haven for artists, from David Hockney to Wayne Thiebaud, to name just two. The same can be said for Erik Mark Sandberg, an artist whose LA hometown provides the colour palette for his soft-hued works. “The California dreaming vibe has been a recurring character in my work over the past few years,” he tells us. “There is a visual comfort communicated with the light in Los Angeles and the soft figurative textures.”
But unlike the work of Hockney and Thiebaud, Erik’s pieces have a distinctly strange edge, which comes from his desire to fill his works with a certain ambiguity. Taking common themes like recreational activities, love in the modern age and the digital realm, and then recreating them with his hairy, soft figurative characters, his candy-colour works fast become alternate uncanny universes. Also influencing Erik’s surreal approach is art from the fringes. “I find outsider artists interesting because they work outside the cannons of the art world and their motivations are not usually commercially based,” Erik says. “Authenticity, along with innovation, holds much value.”
Erik Mark Sandberg: The Favourite (Copyright © Erik Mark Sandberg, 2022)
About the Author
Olivia (she/her) joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in November 2021 and soon became staff writer. A graduate of the University of Edinburgh with a degree in English literature and history, she’s particularly interested in photography, publications and type design.