Erin Wallace is a Seattle artist who grew up in the Central District. As a first-generation Chinese American, her work is heavily influenced by her cultural background and personal experiences and explores a whimsical world of fun, cheerful motifs. In our interview, we talk about cocktails, dancing, and butt-sniffing.
First things first; Let’s talk about cocktails. Favorite libations, places to enjoy... hit me.
If there is ever a mezcal cocktail on a menu, I will always start with that (and bonus if it’s spicy). I have so many favorite places with very different vibes. The Hideout is 100% the best place to get an amazing cocktail—you’ll also probably learn something and feel like you’re best friends with the bartender. Zig Zag is classic and is one of those places that feels like a timewarp (RIP Vito’s), such a good vibe (especially for being at Pike Place). And Harry’s on 15th is my neighborhood bar and it’s perfect because it smells like pizza and you get an Andes mint with your bill.
What was the most important thing you learned from attending school in Baltimore?
The most important thing I learned in Baltimore was… a lot of things? I learned to listen to and trust my instincts (socially and artistically). Every decision for a few years during that time seemed to hold so much weight—people were leaving, paths seemed to be forging for some, and I was pretty scared of making the wrong choice. Also, I learned how important it was to make a space your own and let your taste and style develop.
Did you consider staying in the Land of John Waters or was the PNW calling your name?
I didn’t really consider staying in Baltimore, despite getting to actually see John Waters at some of the clubs I went to (!!). I thought about moving to NYC, SF, or Minneapolis, but figured I could take some time in Seattle. This is where I grew up and some of my best friends were still living here at the time. I was also really excited to experience Seattle as an adult - something I fantasized about constantly while growing up.
Before I knew who you were, I’d purchased your “Oh! Hello!” dog butt-sniffing greeting card, which I love very much. Your Instagram says you miss printmaking, what’s holding you back?
Ah, that’s amazing! Literally nothing is holding me back from printmaking but myself! I currently have a studio space in Chinatown and there is a lot more room to play and experiment! I’ve been doing some Risograph printing, which is like if printmaking and a photocopier had a baby.
I love love love Risograph prints and especially riso-zines. What do you listen to when you want to get in the creative zone? And what gets you dancing?
Lately, I have been grooving to some cute sounds from Dana and Alden and it’s been putting me in some cool flowstates. Amaarae has been on most of my playlists for the last few months as well. And dancing! I love dancing to funk and soul and disco but, honestly, other people moving and vibing is what gets me happy dancing 100% (catch me at Dance Church!).