Erika Huddleston is an Austin based artist whose work is a study of nature in urban settings that range from Shoal Creek Greenbelt in Austin to Central Park in New York City. It was New York City itself that kickstarted her interest and appreciation for inner city green spaces. Huddleston loved participating in community gardens and volunteered at the High Line for three years. It is Huddleston’s belief that cities are built in the wilderness and the remnant of these landscapes is important to recollect and engage with.
Interested in how the perceptions of nature and how the overall change of natural processes effects the human psychology, Huddleston always paints outdoors and all work is painted life-size. The act of painting for long hours in what Huddleston describes as “urban wilderness” allows her the opportunities of analysis and observation she needs that goes beyond brief walks or quick snapshots to be painted later in a studio setting. This is a recording of change which is usually considered difficult to render and allows a new sense of data-collecting that differs from the traditional use of technologies such as digital mappings of landscapes. Huddleston welcomes this face-to-face interaction with nature that breaks the habit of constant digital stimulation that looms over all of us daily. She begins each painting by walking the selected site for days and sometimes weeks without creating any preparatory drawings. After she has decided on a vantage point, she creates a sketch in pencil on her canvas. Directly after, Huddleston goes in with oil paint and begins her recording of information on the canvas.