Erin Lynne is a wonderful artist, a beautiful woman and one of the bravest person I’ve ever happened to meet.
She’s definitely part of my own path.
Between 2012 and 2014, I was a student at Wall Street Institute School of English.
My purpose was to improve my english enough so to publish proper english posts on this blog and be able to write professional english books’ drafts if I had too.
In Spring 2013, I happened to meet with Erin. She was one of my Wall Street Institute Learning Center’s teachers.
During the encounters I had with her, we rapidly talked about our personal projects and the vision we had about being citizen of the world in our modern age.
At that time, Erin told me she would one day write novels.
She wanted to be an author.
One day seems now to be an understatement since her novel is already available; less than one year after we just met.
‘What happened?’ may you ask.
Life. Just life.
During many months I didn’t happpen to meet with Erin because she had been victim of a terrible motorcycle accident in Summer 2013.
Hurt in her flesh, while others would have been overwhelmed by pain, sadness and wrath, she just stood up, kept her beautiful smile up and embraced her samurai’s destiny so to become the artist she’s always been.
In 2013, I offered her to post an interview of her on this very blog.
But we weren’t actually ready to do so.
Now we are.
And here she is.
Hi Erin, can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
It’s always a bit delicate to talk about oneself, not wanting to say too much or too little and certainly not wishing to bore anyone. If I had to say something about myself, I’d say that I hope to affect at least one person’s life each day in a positive way.
It seems you want to promote a lifestyle out of your art. What are the pillars of your vision and the activity you want to create?
One could imagine by looking at my paintings that I’m often sad. This is not the case. I just feel that we should be in communication with our feelings, understand them and express them with care. How can we expect anyone to understand how we’re feeling if we’re unable to comprehend it ourselves?
I don’t ever expect anyone to look at my art and think I’m an artist and my work is fantastic. I do it solely for myself. That might sound selfish, but it brings me so much joy to spend my time creating. So I don’t go at it with a specific vision in mind, and am always fascinated to know what others perceive. I suppose it’s more the idea of sharing a piece of myself to those I care about that interests me the most.
Samurais embraced an holistic approach so to live their warrior lives : they wouldn’t accept to be reduced as katana’s masters. They had to study philosophy, painting, poetry and literature. Their blows had to be loaded with any part of their learnings, culture, feelings and DNA. You seem to behave likewise, going from painting to writing. How would you describe yourself and how do you move to a writer mindset to a painter’s ?
It’s fundamental to study in order to build one’s mind and progress as a human being. In my opinion, it’s learning philosophy, painting, poetry and literature that opens that emotional passageway, which then allows one to focus on a situation more rationally. It does seem as though I would have been an excellent Samurais.
I actually began with writing and moved towards drawing and painting later. I read a book once on artists from the Italian Renaissance, including Leonardo Da Vinci. Da Vinci said that paintings were more valuable than any written work because we could truly capture an image as is. I still disagree with him—both hold equal significance, to me—, but it did open up my mind to the possibility of painting as a respected asset.
It never crossed my mind that I could paint the jacket of my novels. It just worked out that way. I am someone who despises waiting on anyone, and I also hate when others wait on me. So I’d rather do things myself. It’s more personal, too.
You’ve been through very hard times in 2013; you had to get in a battlefield you didn’t really choose. Would you want to tell us a bit about what happened to you and share the feelings you experienced?
Despite what others may say and think about the year 2013, I believe it was an exceptional year. I began completing my first year in the journalism master’s program fall 2012, but had to quit and find a job in order to pay rent. Following that decision—one of the best I’ve ever made—, I was quickly hired at the English institute.
The same day I was informed of my acceptance as a teacher there, the arrival of my first nephew was announced. It was a day to remember. I can still see my grey motorcycle parked outside the institute, the blue sky above and the passer-bys. Then I tempted what seemed impossible: a journalism internship, though I had quit the program. And there you go.
A few months before my accident, I started working at Virtual Expo as Secrétaire de Redaction-stagiere for their magazine. Oh, my mind kept budding—and still is. What an incredible experience. We interviewed architects like Rudy Ricciotti, and visited new structures like the FRAC in Marseille. They loved my work and asked me to stay full-time.
I awoke August 9 in the hospital, oblivious to my motorcycle accident. There I saw my parents by my side, and I smiled. Then my sister, and I understood. I’d had an accident with a police officer. Who was at fault? Someone ran a red light. Who? We don’t know. The investigation cannot prove who is at fault.
Then friends called and visited. So many people who I cherish sincerely showed concern. I felt truly loved. It was by far the most valuable experience of 2013, to feel so much love and kindness.
The situation is physically and psychologically challenging, but if all I need to do now is adjust to a new facial “look,” then I suppose I’m doing fine. I do, however, miss that little nose I once had.
In which way this events had an influence on your perception regarding life and how did it help you to actually become the artist you’ve always been ?
Most of all, it seems to have given me more time to create. It didn’t alter my perception regarding life, only reinforced it. I’ve always thought that moments with those we care about is the most important element of living. To share smiles, laughter, stories, sadness… For me, that is the reason to live. It did, though, give me the chance to witness so much kindness in people, both foreign and familiar. An absent quality in the character of many. I am convinced, now, that there are more kind individuals than I had believed possible.
Being a free artist can be rewarding in terms of creativity, freedom, challenges and lifestyle design . What are the best rewards you get from this status?
True. When the stress of selling one’s art is eliminated, all that’s left is the pleasure of creating. I have absolutely no desire to sell my paintings. They’re a part of me. The best reward, for me, would be looking at a painting I’ve completed that’s actually good and think, “Wow, I did that!”
As an artist, what are the bad emotions you have to deal with: frustration, fear ….? Whatever. Tell us about the personal fight you have to undergo to make your dreams come true.
Sometimes pieces don’t turn out exactly how I’d like, but it’s really okay. I suppose a part of me does hope that others will enjoy my art, so a fear of rejection could be an underlying emotion.
Could you tell us a bit about your forthcoming exhibition on 18th, June in Marseilles?
This is the very first time I’ll be holding an art expo. It’s actually to celebrate the publication of my first novel. When I was in the hospital—unable to eat anything solid since my jaw was wired shut—, all I could think about was having magret de canard aux figues at the Café des Arts restaurant in Vallon des Auffes, near where I live. As soon as I could finally eat real food—jaw free of wires—, I went there. And I went there over and over again to where the owners now know me personally. They saw my physical transition—and I’m still transitioning. It seemed right that I hold the expo there, and they were so kind to accept.
The art expo will be set up in the room upstairs, while the downstairs is designated for apéro and a buffet. I hope to create a space upstairs to revive a specific emotion in my guests. My goal is to celebrate Imperfections with those I appreciate, and those they appreciate, by generating a relaxed atmosphere in the restaurant area. It is such a beautiful restaurant.
You moved out from United States so to live in Marseille, France. Do you see yourself as an American, a citizen of the world or both?
I really love this question. It’s something I often think about. A friend once described herself as a nomad, belonging to many cultures. The expression “Home is where the heart is” sums it up for me. Wherever I go, I feel as though I belong there. It has taken me a lot of time to grasp the emotional feeling of being accustomed to life here. It was a struggle getting over the cultural humps, but I never felt I shouldn’t be here. I always held the idea that I simply needed to learn how to merge. Another expression “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” comes to mind.
If someone invites you to their house, it’s an honor. When you go to their house, you often adjust your habits to mingle with theirs, to show them respect. I suppose with this in mind you might think that makes me a long-term guest. While I feel that this is my home now, I must recognize that I am still a guest.
In which way moving out from America to France helped you to embrace your Artist status? Did that change anything?
Oh, I only began recognizing any artistic talent in 2009 while I was completing a TEFL course in Brittany, France. I had already moved to Marseille in 2008, but went for a diploma to teach English as a second language. Radical. I’ll never forget that. The teacher told us that we had to use flashcards with both a picture and a word, and that we had to do both ourselves. I was freaking out a bit, because at that point I had absolutely no drawing skills—that I knew of.
And if I hadn’t drawn Pink Panther exactly as he was in the image I was looking at, I would never have known.
As independant workers, we have to envision part of our future and sometimes we pray destiny for a bit of help. Hence, if you had one wish to formulate, what would you ask for yourself, your activity ?
Hmm. A friend once wrote, in describing my character, that I had no real plans for my future. Every time I re-read that, it makes me laugh. It’s true. I’m just having fun with life. But, if I had to ask for anything on a professional level, it’d be to succeed in writing and painting for the rest of my life, and to explore other materials.
What are you going to do for you next 35 years? What are your next moves as an artist or a citizen of the world ? Or at least, what kind of main lead are you going to follow?
As you can imagine from my previous response, I have no idea. Planning so far ahead seems pointless to me, since we don’t know how long we have here on this little planet of ours. It also makes me feel like I’m stuck in a box and can’t get out—I’m a tad claustrophobic.
However, I can say that I’ve already begun a second novel, and have intentions of publishing a book of short stories.
Please give your website, social networks so readers can contact you.
Thank you so much for this opportunity, Laurent. It was fun.
Thanks to you Erin.
See you soon for your first exhibition.