We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Mack and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Eric, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
I feel like I pursued an artistic career because I grew up in supportive and creative household that nurtured my ideas. Both of my parents provided the resources that I needed to explore all avenues of artistic expression. I’ve always visualized ideas in my mind, and had the ability to bring them to life. As a third grader, the hip hop culture was very influential in the early days of my creative growth. The hip hop sound flashed like fireworks in my mind. I also delved into the Breakdancing trend that was spreading like wildfire. All the kids in school were into it, and I would sell drawings of “breakers” in a variety of dance poses. I’d sell them for twenty five cents and with each purchase my classmates made, my confidence rose. This early venture planted the seed of realizing that I could make and sell work that people desired. In fifth grade, I also created my own blueprints for skateboard ramps, and build them with my father. We lived on two acres of land, and I had plenty of space to build my ramps. There was a launch, quarter pipe, and a six foot mini half pipe with PVC coping that I would ride with other “skate rats” in my community. In high school, I started designing my classmates’ names in graffiti styles, and creating other iconic imagery on their denim pants and jackets. By the time I started thinking about college, it was clear that I wanted to go to art school. I applied to The Atlanta College of Art, and it was actually the only school that I applied to. Thankfully, I was accepted, and once I got there I realized that the small artistic community was exactly what I needed to push all levels of artistic exploration. As I think back, although there have been many influences on the decision to pursue art as a career, I have to give credit to a book from my childhood that was most likely a major catalyst in my development as creative thinker. The book was called “Make and Do” by Childcraft Books, and we had the entire set. I probably completed all of the projects in that book twenty times over. I made everything from figurative sculptures, boats, rockets, paintings, funny hats, puppets, and mosaics and loved every minute of it! In fact, I’ve just ordered a copy of the very same book for my two year old in hopes that it may inspire her, as well.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

The work that I create explores shapes, patterns, and forms that are the basis of the world in which we live. I feel that I was able to reach where I am today by never letting the creative flame die out. Staying active in the studio even when there is not an exhibition to prepare for is also key. Early on in my career, there were many opportunities that were shown to me by simply being assertive. The best networking methods were always face to face. I would never rely on emails to make my introductions. Whenever possible, making personal connections have always made the difference for me. Even while living in Munich, Germany this approach served me well. I was able to secure a city sponsored studio by meeting the director of the program. This journey has not been easy, but I will say that when you do things that you love it’s never really a struggle. I overcome challenges by continuing to look for inspiration at every turn. There are always new bits of stimulation to keep my mind in motion. Lessons that I have learned are to be optimistic, treat people how you want to be treated, stay positive, and always remind myself that things can always be worse. When I’m reminded of this it shows me that things are always good! In terms of my artwork, I have always stayed true to the vision that I’ve had for my work. I do not create work that is expected of me, or to simply sell. I create for my own personal enjoyment.

 My solo exhibition titled “Of Stone and Stem” opens at Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia on March 13- April 24, 2021. Opening Reception: Saturday, March 13th from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate this shout out to my parents Arthur & Betty. I also to want to give thanks to a very influential friend and professor, the late Charles Nelson Jr., artist Sara Sze, and architect Zaha Hadid, and The Bones Brigade of Powell Peralta Skateboards. Shout to some of my favorite musical influences:  Pizzacato Five, Stereolab, Steely Dan, Currensy, George Clanton, Negative Gemini, Afriqua, Joe Jackson, Chick Correa, Weather Report, Felix Da Housecat, Ladytron, Tame Impala, Phoenix, M.I.A., Romeo Void, Santigold, Surfing, Ultramagnetic MC’s, The XX.

Website: www.ericmack.com

Instagram: @emack76

Image Credits
Image Credit: Christian Kaufman

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