Art plays a part in Eric Anderson's style
From how he goes about his work to the artists who inspire him, Anderson's style is part of his life as an artist.
Until it was, Rochester was not on his palette of possible places to live and pursue an art and writing career, said Eric Anderson, who may be best known here for his interactive installations highlighting health. Yet, creating a life here over the last 10 years or so has proven the right move.
Anderson said his wife, Rose Anderson, moved here first to work at Mayo Clinic while he was finishing his undergraduate degree in Boston. He then commuted to Rochester before graduating from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.
What Anderson learned quickly is that Rochester offered great opportunity. Coming from Boston, he said, he found fewer barriers to realizing public art projects and to becoming a part of the artist community.
“I also really appreciate that Rochester, especially because of Mayo, brings in so many people from elsewhere. There are just so many people here with interesting backgrounds, ideas, ambitions," Anderson said. "There are a lot of unbelievable artists here. And the same is true for people working in the sciences and philosophy. It's just amazing to learn from some of the people here. I love that and I love making art that collaborates with people here.”
How do you describe your style?
Very functional now, especially after the pandemic. I used to have a studio that was in more of a public space and open. So I would dress differently. But now I'm in more of a warehouse space. And it's just me. And I’m doing a lot of experimenting. I do a lot of oil painting and building installations. And it's messy. So now I dress accordingly. …The term drip drip is used sometimes for fashionable clothing styles, so I thought, I could describe my mine as anti-drip drip – clothing that I wear while oil painting.
Where did your style originate?
Growing up, I was a military brat. My dad was in the Coast Guard, and we moved around a lot. I fell into skateboarding and listening to different styles of music that were kind of exploding at the time. And so really, I see a hodgepodge of those influences – huge skater pants that looked so ridiculous. I know that those funneled down into small influences that I bring into my wardrobe now.
Any artists or writers who you admire?
Yes, locally Sophia Chai. She has a studio and wears very functional clothing when she's building things. But she has an incredible style that you see at an art opening. She's just always very, very well dressed and forward thinking with her outfits.
Also Cecily Brown, a very, very famous abstract contemporary painter. She wears these huge painter outfits working on these massive paintings. She looks so comfortable, even cozy, and she's also covered in paint.
What do you wear to an opening?
Usually it’s something comfortable. I might throw on a blazer and some good shoes to look more like an adult. Sometimes I still worry that that I am dressing like a 14-year-old boy and I want to be conscious of how I present myself. But I can go in different directions.
About a year ago, there was an opening of a clothing designer at the Rochester Art Center. I went to Goodwill and I found this incredible outfit. It's a white with pastel leopard print onesie, like pajama that somehow fit me. And I found these huge purple designer boots that should have been expensive, but were maybe $10. It felt ridiculous for a second, but it was one of those times to have a little fun.
What do you hope your style communicates?
That I am approachable. I want to be someone people trust. I want people to know I’m not trying to put a different person than I really am in front of them. And I want what I wear to always be true to who I am even if I might end up being underdressed or overdressed at the time.
What is your most coveted wearable item?
It is a ring that my wife gave to me. It represents the Roman numeral five (the "V") and it was given to me for five years of sobriety. I’m now seven and a half years. I never want to be without it.
Favorite places in Rochester that you like to shop, in addition to Goodwill?
All the resale shops here are surprisingly stocked with very good stuff. And there are amazing prices on very good clothes. Then there are also the small artist shops that will have accessories jewelry. The Rochester Art Center gift shop is fantastic. And so are the galleries local galleries.
Do you like one Minnesota season or another style wise?
Yes, winter. Even though I grew up in Virginia, on a military base that was like tucked in a swamp. I thought I'd be fine with the humidity here. But it’s not comfortable for me so I do like the cooler months and being able to put some layers on and get cozy.
Anything especially Minnesota about your style?
My hair and beard that I guess give me a sort of lumberjack look. I always had short hair going back to high school but COVID changed that. I just stopped getting it cut.
We’re facing so many challenges on the local, regional and global levels; challenges that we have to live within and still be functional. Considering those, I would suggest not letting how you present yourself to create more stress and more anxiety. When it comes down to it, it's important to introduce and present yourself as you are in the conversation, but it is also important to not become obsessed over what you are wearing. There are other more important things today.
Do you know someone who has unique style? Send nominations to email@example.com with "Your Style" in the subject line.