Maker Spotlight: Muralist Eric Friedensohn
Tell us about your creative practice.
When strangers ask me what I do, I tell them I design and paint murals. That’s a simplified version of what I do – the truth is that my practice is very cross-disciplinary and I like to work on a variety of projects in the physical art world.
My background is in Graphic & Product Design. After graduating from design school, I focused for years to try and master hand lettering and typography. More recently I have expanded my practice to include illustration and abstract art/design.
Regardless of the type of art and the process I use to make it, the finished product is usually physical or tangible, and sometimes three-dimensional.
What’s your workspace like?
At home, I have a long wooden table for designing on my MacBook Pro + iPad, and a counter-height table for sketching on large sheets of paper. I keep my favorite analog tools (paint markers, pens) out on the table and accessible whenever I need them. I have had computer monitors in the past, and I might buy one soon. However, I like not having too many screens around.
I enjoy switching up my workspace and designing on the go. Especially with my mural projects, it helps that anywhere can become my office for the day.
Walk us through your daily routine.
My daily routine is about to change drastically because I recently left my full-time job to go back to full-time freelance. Previously I would need to commute about 45 minutes each way, but now I work from home or local spots.
Honestly, I don’t have a strong routine, and I like it that way. Some things that are fairly consistent are that I tend to focus best between 11am and 5pm. I also like to take breaks to walk or skate around and eat a delicious lunch with strong coffee.
How do you use both Astropad and Luna in your creative practice?
I use Astropad and Luna mainly when I am refining and finalizing artwork. This stage often has a lot of layers or color options, which is not easy to do in Procreate alone (my current go-to iPad drawing app). So I hook up my iPad to my MacBook and finish the work in Photoshop and/or Illustrator.
As a Muralist, how have digital tools improved your workflow?
My digital tools help me work faster and do things that are impossible with traditional media. A lot of times, I start analog, then go digital to refine it, then go back to analog for the final finish. That digital work in the middle really elevates the final work, as I can try as many variations as I want in a short amount of time. Remember, layers are free!
How do you brainstorm fresh ideas?
I love to sink my teeth into cultural movements and niche subjects. It could be as specific as a pre-Colombian textile that is inspiring to me, or sometimes it’s about a whole genre of music. That research – searching online, talking with different people, going to museums – helps me get fresh ideas and make interesting connections.
You mentioned how various things inspire you. Can you elaborate?
A lot of different things inspire me… I just heard this idea from Andy J. Miller from Creative Pep Talk about treating your inspiration like a “food pyramid”. Starting from the bottom, the pyramid has real-life experiences (e.g., traveling), other mediums, new stuff, old and obscure stuff, and, at the top, you have guilty pleasures. That pretty much covers all of it. I agree that we need a balance of different sources to stay fresh and inspired.
What’s your favorite thing about the work you do?
I love the state of flow that I step into when I’m doing my best work. I’m getting instant feedback from the process and it feels very intuitive. It’s easy to lose track of time.
What’s the hardest thing about the work you do?
Saying no and focusing on less has always been hard for me. I tend to take small steps forward on multiple projects/initiatives rather than taking a big step forward on one project.