Meet The Artist: Inka Essenhigh

  • INKA ESSENHIGH: Hi, my name is Inka Essenhigh, and this is my painting “Spring 2006.” It’s a depiction of spring that has happened so suddenly that it's happened instantaneously. This person who is walking through the forest is still wearing his winter coat and he's just whistling along.

    A lot of the time people say, “Oh, a lot of your work looks like it was made under water.” There are these flowing forms, and the people look like they’re flowing. They’re all, kind of, just a big ball of energy. It’s just because it literally started off with brushes that were just making this world that I was trying to fashion into, later was going to be fashioned into something. Then I just paint out of my head. I think that a lot of times the work looks like it was, that it’s related to fantasy art, because it is made up out of my head. I rarely went and looked at anything, what something actually looked like.

    This is also the beginnings of, you know, before with a lot of automatic painting, when I’m just coming up with forms, I would try to see them through to the end. Sometimes they would be like, they would be kind of ugly images that would pop out at you. Ugly little goblins that I would have to live with for a few months while I was painting them. I would say to myself, “This is our culture. This is the world I live in.” This is one of the beginnings of me realizing that maybe I don’t need to take whatever comes out of my imagination and be okay with that. In fact, maybe I can start to form the world that I want to live in.

    I think that my work is really approachable. It’s a direct experience and you don’t need to know anything about artwork, as you don’t any time that you walk into a gallery. It really is about an experience. I hope that you have a sense of pleasure. I hope that the viewer can take away is that they would actually find more magic in their own everyday life.

    Inka Essenhigh discusses her dreamlike landscape, Spring, the use of imagination in her practice, and how her fantastical creatures have a place in everyday life.

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