When creating artwork, I find myself taking from my own experiences as well as the world we all inhabit. The connection between an individual and their surroundings interests me; they strongly influence each other. Idol is a good representation of this intersection. On the larger scale, it’s a response to the celebrity culture that we’re saturated in. I find the relationship between celebrities and their fans innately interesting, as those fans often develop an attachment to the celebrity and think of them as someone they may know well, while the celebrity often remains unattached and unknowing. I’m also guilty of being part of this dynamic, and I don’t view it necessarily as a negative thing. However, sometimes the attachment enters hero worship territory, and fans are willing to defend and rationalize many inexcusable actions or crimes a celebrity has done and may continue to do. This type of situation also creates an interesting dilemma of how we can recognize a celebrity’s talents and contributions after learning a major character flaw. Can repulsion and admiration be balanced? On the more personal scale, I do respect and admire many idols myself. I often think in very positively about those idols and I can’t say I feel the same way about myself. I can be very hard on myself at times. It’s important for my own mental health to realize that those who I admire greatly have flaws just like I do, and some the qualities I admire in them can be found in myself.
Lani Erker is a figurative artist interested in identity, mental health, social behaviors, and what it means to be human. Currently, she mainly creates with charcoal, oil paint, and digital drawing tools. She typically depicts herself as the subject in her work, as her art is intertwined with how she sees and interacts with the world, and vice versa. Lani uses her practice to explore the “multifaceted-self,” how one’s identity is a complex being. She sees self-portraits as an opportunity to reveal or tell about a side to oneself. She often uses surrealism, symbolism, or mysterious narratives to create these portrayals. She finds that exploring real problems and concepts through fantasy depictions allows her to better think about or confront reality, despite their seemingly escapist nature. When she was younger, Lani generally produced illustrative or stylized art. Upon entering university, she began to tamp down that side of herself, wanting to strive for improving her representational work. Recently she’s been interested in recapturing some of that illustrative quality and bring more abstraction to her work, whether it be in more subtle or extreme ways. Moving forward, she’ll continue to use her art to think about how we use identity to navigate the world, and fantasy to travel beyond it.