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Erika Nelson is an independent artist and educator, exploring contemporary art forms in the public realm.
While living in a vehicle for two years, she explored the nooks and crannies of the United States seeking out the odd and unusual, gathering stories of people who build Outsider Art Environments, as well as Roadside Vernacular Architecture known as World’s Largest Things.
She developed her own traveling roadside attraction and museum featuring The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things, , settling in Lucas Kansas in a house adjacent to S.P. Dinsmoor’s visionary folk art site The Garden of Eden.
Her work manifests itself in a series of interesting, innovative, engaging public art projects that incorporate Art into the Everyman’s everyday experience.
Erika specializes in site specific temporary public art, engaging art activities for festivals, murals, and Art Car exhibitions. Activities are hands-on, and range from the silly to the serious. Past examples include: SPAM carving with community members and cookout, Fins Feathers and Furs native wildlife team mural making, Art Car creation, Superlative Sideshow Circus Wagon production and display, and the Joe Tinker Celebratory Mural. See linked artist website for details.
Exhibitions are tailored to size of institution, duration of event, and theme or community profile.
Erika’s community based projects involve research into the community itself, and/or input and participation by community members. Community members are encouraged to not only provide information, but visually contribute to final forms of murals, collaborative actions, or sculptural explorations. This community involvement is artist guided, with the goal of maximum inclusion without censorship. Most works take place in the public realm, sometimes in unexpected places, engaging public that may not traditionally participate in formal art activities.
Erika’s hands-on activities are geared towards middle school ages and up, with an emphasis on artist guided research and implementation of discoveries. Resulting sculptural work teach basic construction techniques, often with non-traditional materials, while two dimensional explorations explore alternative ways of seeing and translating traditional techniques.