I first met Eric Trine while working on the “Los Angeles, I’m Yours” art market last month. First introduced as a space/experience designer, he was going to be THE ONE that was going to pull off the crazy vision for the show. Crates, tents, trucks, dj booth, and art in unpredictable places… the more and more Bobby (of Kitsune Noir) and I wanted and dreamed of, the more he calmly and confidently said, “yes, that’s possible”. Give him vision and free reign, Eric can make and do just about anything…. and he does it with his unique style. As I got to know him more, I found that Eric is not only a designer, but an artist, dj, husband, and a really, really down to earth guy. Meet Eric Trine.
Artist, dj, and Designer. In what order is Eric Trine today? What is your favorite?
Right now, I’d say Designer. Though wedding season is upon us, so I’m doing a hefty amount of dj’ing over the next couple of months. With regards to art and design – I see art as creating problems, and I see design as problem solving. I’m definitely more interested in problem solving these days. Even with my artwork, I see ways in which I sabotage a piece in order to resolve it again. I think that’s also why I love working with found materials – the objects already exist and I try to find a way to make them work together.
You were integral in making “Los Angeles, I’m Yours” art show have the look and feel of an eclectic art market with all of the crates, tents, and random objects. Tell us a little about your studio in Long Beach, how do you have so much stuff, do you have the tools to create just about anything? What are you favorite tools and why?
Working on the LA I’m yours show was a dream! For the most part, I just transported a good percentage of the stuff in my studio into the gallery. I collect a lot of stuff. I find a lot of stuff on the street, but I also spend a lot of time at thrift stores, antique malls, and the flea markets. I have a lot of tools, but there are some bigger ones that I really want, and I’m saving up for. My favorite tool right now is my 4 1/2 inch Angle Grinder. I usually have it fitted with a 36 grit sanding disc, and I can do some serious sanding damage with that tool. It’s so fast! I also just got a chainsaw which I’m really excited to start experimenting with.
Just as I imagined, you have life threatening tools! I imagine your studio to be machines, art, raw materials, computers, etc. What is the first thing you do when you step into the studio?
No computers in my studio. Everything in there is usually covered in about fair amount of saw dust, so I try to keep the delicate equipment out of there. When I’m in the studio myself I don’t even listen to music because I always have protective earplugs on, I wouldn’t even be able to hear the music. The first thing I do in the studio is clean and move stuff around. I’m fairly strategic when I’m in work mode, so I’ll take time to set up all my tools in a way that makes my work flow as efficient as possible. I don’t really have the luxury of just working on one clean project at a time. I’m constantly juggling the various projects I have going, making sure I’m not creating a bunch of sawdust just after painting another piece.
You create furniture, displays, etc for boutique and large scale commercial projects. Tell me about some of your favorites and why.
I really love working on retail and commercial fixtures and displays. I guess it fits in with my problem solving mindset – give me a budget, a deadline, and a vibe, and I’ll turn the space into something amazing. For the most part, I’ve worked with some really great clients who have given me a lot of creative freedom. When I have that level of trust with a client I always do my best work, and I end up making a new friend too! Recently, I worked on a project called Market Hall in the city of Hercules in the Bay area. I was hired to make some giant lamp shades to hang in an outdoor barn structure.
You have a strong belief in community, collaboration, and creating shared experiences. How do those beliefs inhabit your art and design? Is the art you make for you or do you think about your audience?
Gosh, I’m not sure if those beliefs manifest directly through the work I produce inasmuch as they do through the culture I promote around the work. Simply put, I really like making stuff, and I’ve noticed that I’m just in a better mood when I get to do that. I’ve also become increasingly more comfortable with just making work that I like. Not having to fit my work into a specific genre, or construct an intellectual artist statement, has given me the space I need to just create. I already think way too much, I can’t shut my mind down – Making stuff is a form of rest for me; my mind can’t wander if I’m attentive to the task at hand.
As for community, I feel like art should function fundamentally on a principle of inclusivity. Art is for everyone. Collaboration is important because it confronts my ideas of what I think looks best. It keeps me humble; reminding me that the relationship with my collaborator is in fact more important than the work itself. When we create space for others in the process of making art, we invite the viewer to be part of that creative space too, as they interact and interpret the work. I have much more to say on that, but I’ll save it for another post…
When you are not working on projects, where can we find you? What is your love outside of the studio?
You can find me with my wife, Heather, in or around our home in Long Beach. We love finding new things for our house and backyard, and we love entertaining. All of our friends live within a few blocks of us, and we feel quite fortunate to live in such a great community of artists and musicians. On any given night there is some sort of event, either in someone’s home or studio – ranging from film screenings to paint a self portrait night! It’s really great. Speaking of studio party’s, I’m having an open studio party on Friday, June 4th at 8pm. Come see for yourself!
Look forward to it Eric, it’s been a pleasure.
More on Eric Trine, his art, design, and philosophical blogging at etrine.com
You can meet Eric as he’ll be opening up his studio that he has named, Bingo Foxtrot, in Long Beach this Friday, June 4th, 8p. 2370 Walnut Ave., Signal Hill, CA.