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Erin K. Nolan
Altgeld Hall NIU.jpg

Northern Illinois University

DeKalb, Illinois

Glad to meet you!

My work is primarily inspired by Door County, Wisconsin, USA. If you are familiar with the Great Lakes region, Door County is on the west side of Lake Michigan. It is the peninsula that juts out into the lake like a thumb. Because of its geographic locale, comprised of the Niagara Escarpment, it is filled with pristine arboreal forests, lakes, and wetlands. There is a rich biodiversity including plants, such as orchids and dragonflies, that are only found in this region. There are also amphibians, insects, and fungi that are extremely localized.

Although my work is nature-based, it has a deeper poetic meaning. I believe that nature illustrates lessons that God wants us to learn in the form of parables found in nature.


For instance, a cricket calling out into the night, alone, having faith that there are others to hear the song. Just this simple example shows loneliness, a longing for belonging, how art is made because that is what we are called to do, and more. There is a beauty beyond the physical. There is an intelligent organization where natural laws must be followed.

Some of my influences are the pen and ink drawings of Van Gogh: I love the flow, texture and energy that he creates with line. I enjoy work created by contemporary artists such as Andrea Starkie, all Oaxaca artists, Aboriginal artists from Australia, and Inuit artists from Alaska and Canada. Most things I enjoy possess strong narratives using bold, intricate patterning, and textures to show energy.

Some people hope to discover "their" style. The style that will ultimately make them stand out from other artists. In my case, and in the case of most artists I know, style isn't something external that a person can grab a hold of. It comes from inside the person and spills out.


It is an amalgamation of all the experiences, emotions, and physicality life has handed you. Since only you have all of these specific memories and since you have only your hands to work with, your "style" is developed by a continual doing, discovering, experimenting, and experiencing.

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