Erik Drudwyn


Erik Drudwyn was born in 1968 in Fort Collins, Colorado and raised in Wyoming where he recalls first drawing seriously at the age of thirteen. “My mother is an artist so I was exposed to art at an early age. I did quite a lot of drawing before thirteen but it never really meant anything to me. It was just something to do when there wasn't anything else to do. Then one day it went from 'something to do' to 'something I had to do.' I wanted to draw people, especially girls. I wanted to be able to make the beauty that I was beginning to see. The thought of being able to 'make beauty' was very exciting. It's still what drives me to do artwork today and oddly enough, with every work I've ever done, I feel like I haven't achieved this goal. I spent a great deal of time at the library reading books about the masters and becoming further inspired by their work. Growing up in Wyoming had its drawbacks for a young artist with such inspirations; it seemed somewhat taboo to draw nudes. For this reason, I spent much of my early years limited to drawing from whatever popular adult publications I could find and from my sister's fashion magazines left about. It also meant that I spent a lot of time, in classes and for family, drawing things that I didn't wish to be drawing.”

Erik enrolled at the Colorado Institute of Art in 1987. It was at the institute that he would finally get the chance to draw from live models: “I probably learned more in the first six months at the Institute than I did in my whole life previous to that time. Before we were able to draw from an actual model, we spent many sessions drawing nothing but skeletons. I remember being somewhat discouraged and started to feel like I was wasting my time with drawing nothing but bones. Then when we began working with live models, the benefits of understanding the model from a working perspective made all those previous hours very much worth every second.”

Erik received his degree from the Institute in the summer of 1989. "I was very anxious to start living and working as an artist when I graduated. I recall searching for available art positions only to find, time after time, only a few positions available with countless applicants. Needless to say, after a few years of working in restaurants watching my artwork pile up without any interested galleries or buyers, I became very depressed with my course in life and decided one day that I would just join the Marine Corps.”

Erik continued to paint in his spare time when he was in the service, but for all practical purposes he felt that he had no future in art and it would remain a hobby for him. Ironically it was in the service that his art career received its biggest boost: "A fellow Marine had liked my work and asked if I would do a commission for him. I was somewhat surprised that someone would want to pay me for my art so I gladly accepted. It was my first commission so I worked quite hard at making sure everything was just right. He was pleased with the finished work and to my surprise he was apparently pleased enough to show the work around the base. Within a relatively short time period, I went from doing a little painting to spending all of my spare time doing commissions for people who had seen and liked my work.”

After his time in the service, Erik moved back to Wyoming: “Quite a few years went by were I seemed to have lost interest in art. I bought a good mountain bike and spent most of my available hours riding around the hillsides of Colorado and Wyoming. But as it turns out, I couldn’t stay away from my passions forever. In 1998, I started back up with a new fervor to 'make beauty' and I have no plans of stopping ever again.