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Artist finds venue for his work in new book

Symbolism as language

In just less than a decade, Austin native Eric Anfinson has painted between 300 and 400 original oil paintings. Starting today, a book highlighting his career is available on Amazon.com.

The book, "Along the Edges of Beauty," is a comprehensive guide of his paintings and features an interview with Anfinson about his work.

Anfinson, who now lives in Florida, graduated from Austin High School in 1987. Residents might remember how he was paralyzed during a Packers football game against Mason City in 1985. The name might also ring a bell, as his father, Jerry Anfinson, is a board member for the Hormel Foundation.

Eric Anfinson wrote fiction for a while and decided he needed to try something different, so he began to paint in his early 30s, and he has being doing so since. He never received any training and enjoys the use of symbolism in his work.

"Symbols are our oldest language," Anfinson said over the phone from Key West. "I developed a style from whatever struck my fancy."


Anfinson’s fancy is largely based around people, whether real, fictitious or a combination. Human figures, faces and people are prominent in his paintings. He also has a recurring theme of a red balloon, which is featured in the work gracing the cover of his book.

Some of Anfinson’s work features Austin landmarks, such as the water tower, the football field on which he was paralyzed and the bricks of Austin High School. A few years ago, the Hormel Institute commissioned a painting by Anfinson for its boardroom. The painting, "Sunflower Girl," weaves the symbolism Anfinson employs, both personally and in respect to the institute.

The painting features a girl, Anfinson’s niece, in a field of sunflowers. The sunflower directly in front of her is a different color than the rest, symbolizing the scientific research that goes on at the Hormel Institute.

"We find so many of our answers in nature," Anfinson said.

His book is largely without text, aside from the introduction and interview section, because Anfinson wants readers to have their own experience with his paintings. For him, the collection is a good way to mark time between one period to the next. Anfinson doesn’t know what the next period might entail, but he doesn’t rule out an exhibit in his hometown. As for his work, he will continue to evolve.

"The more I paint, the more I realize how far I can go," Anfinson said.

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