This year, Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) named PNCA Alum Eric Stotik ’85 as their 2011 Fellow in Visual Arts. The prestigious fellowship includes an award of $20,000.
“It’s a huge, super honor,” said Stotik. “It’s a huge responsibility, a heavy weight.”
Stotik plans to use his award monies to rent a studio and work on some large-scale artwork, perhaps on giant rolls of paper, beginning at one end and working his way through the year to the other end. Stotik’s work is usually small, and is meticulously painted. Seen in person, his paintings almost glow, so masterfully does Stotik manipulate his materials.
His work is a dark exploration of the human form and pathos that borders modern surrealism. Despite the fantastical nature of his paintings, his inspiration arises from nonfiction books, photos and old etchings rather than dreams. Stotik uses contemporary events as a narrative thread through his paintings, which often explore themes of identity, loss, war, interconnection and the human condition.
“Eric Stotik is one of our community’s most extraordinary artists,” said Eloise Damrosch, executive director of RACC in the press release. “His unique paintings are compelling because they are intelligent and mysterious. We are delighted to extend Eric this recognition and we thank him for his contributions to the visual arts in Portland.”
The RACC fellowship is one of the largest and most prestigious grants to be awarded to individual artists in the Pacific Northwest. The prize rotates between four artistic disciplines: Performing Arts, Media Arts, Literature and Visual Arts. To qualify, artists must have been practicing their craft for ten years and have spent the past five years in the Portland area. Stotik, who moved to Portland when he started at PNCA, is part of a rich community of artists in town and has been represented over the years by such galleries as PDX Contemporary and the Jamison-Thomas Gallery. He is currently represented by Laura Russo Gallery in Northwest Portland.
When asked what experiences or resources he draws on most from his time at PNCA, Stotik instantly responded: “Friends. There’s a high attrition rate [in the visual arts]. It’s important to surround yourself by supportive people.”
In being named RACC’s 2011 Fellow in Visual Arts, Stotik joins the ranks of such Portland luminaries as Michael Brophy, Judy Cooke, Henk Pander and former PNCA writer-in-residence, Kim Stafford.
Stotik is currently working on a December show for Laura Russo Gallery.