We had the good fortune of connecting with Erin Yoshi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Erin, how do you think about risk?
I believe in strategic risk taking, that you need to try different things to see what sticks, that thinking outside the box allows you to keep innovating. Sometimes, you learn to create a plane while flying. I’m more afraid of staying in the same place, than taking a leap of faith, because failure doesn’t scare me. I have failed a lot, but each time I learn. I think if you aren’t failing, then you aren’t trying. When you take a risk and you win, it’s so sweet, because you remember all the attempts and you worked so hard for it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a muralist and an Arts Based Cultural Strategist.
I utilize art to reimagine a future where ecology and culture thrive. Where living in balance with nature is a mainstream practice. Where diverse cultures are celebrated, histories honored, and people can live without fear of exploitation and violence
I am very proud of my current exhibition, the Land of We. A billboard exhibition across Los Angeles, featuring 10 billboards around the city. Each piece has a unique story highlighting culture and climate impact. It’s a unique exhibition showcasing work in an outdoor environment (due to Covid 19) and is accessible and free for the public to participate.
Because it is on the street, it allows for art lovers to tour all of them or for community members to just pass by on their daily commutes. That is what excites me, it allows for new people to engage with the art and are gifts to the community.
I have overcome challenges by creating new paths. As a women of color, there have often been few opportunities to showcase work, so I have learned to create my own. This has been the most transformation thing in my practice. When formal institutions wouldn’t show my work, I painted on the streets, when I couldn’t get into gallery exhibitions, I would curate my own. The skills I learned through this, have been invaluable to my practice today. Eventually, opportunities start to open up.
One lesson, I hold close is from mentor artist, Brett Cook. Being a creative isn’t about what you make, it’s about how you make your life. I think of that often as I work to create more balance in my life.
To learn more about my work go to: www.erinyoshi.com or find me @erinyoshi on social media.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Things to Do Recommendation:
Brunch: The Pantry and The Alcove
Lunch/Dinner: Merkato (Ethiopian), President Thai, Daikokuya, BCD Tofu House, Portos and El Tepeyac
Hang out: The beach (I love all of them, though each one is unique)
Biking, surfing, boogie boarding, hiking, I have been known to get friends to work out when we hang. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Shout outs to my collective, Trust Your Struggle. Some of us have been working together since 1998 when we were youth. I learned to paint, organize, curate and be a friend because of my experiences with them.
Mentors: Brett Cook, Juana Alicia, Judy Baca, Debra Padilla, and Kent Twitchell. I’m forever thankful to their lessons, example and guidance.
photographer: Carlos Sosa (description: Yoshi Painting the crane)