Erick Jantzen is a visual artist from Victoria, BC.
His artwork aims to spark conversation around ecological literacy, conceptions of reality, and our relationship to environment.
He studies Fine Arts at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, and holds a BSc in Biology from the University of Victoria.
Recently my practice has integrated my passion for art-making with my deep curiosity for the nature of reality, particularly the ecological world. Global environmental crises represent arguably the most complex and existential threats in history, and addressing them requires not only collective change but fundamental re-examination of our relationship to nature. Thus, the intersections between nature and aesthetics are not only creatively inspiring spaces for me, they also pose questions essential to addressing social and environmental injustice.
I am fascinated by living systems. I value the complexity and diversity in ecological systems both for their exquisite beauty and for their role in sustaining our lives. Curiosity is what compels me to memorize bird species but also draw the gesture of their flight. By engaging my curiosity through art-making, I hope to capture this wonder and inspire others to appreciate the natural world around us.
My curiosity has also prompted me to ask questions about the nature of art, its ethics, and how it informs the way we perceive our world. This has prompted my art to explore epistemology and phenomenology, interrogating the relationships between aesthetics, perception and our relationship with environment. Using this conceptual lens has also provided opportunities to share my work academically and to collaborate across disciplines.
While I believe conceptual and ethical bases for art-making are important, I resist the notion that art must be serious to be meaningful. Embracing the playful, speculative nature of art-making not only brings joy back into my practice, but it also seems to captivate others most. I am particularly enamored with creating speculative spaces to explore future possibilities for radical sustainability. A playful, post-industrial world-building exercise I affectionately call Permapunk (a portmanteau of permaculture and punk) not only offers a hopeful vision of the future during these heavy times, it has become a space for lively conversation and collaboration. This work is greatly influenced by connections with critical design and speculative design at Emily Carr University.
Sustainable material practice
Recently my speculative work has begun infiltrating my actual material practice. By embodying the radically sustainable mindset of the Permapunk ethos, I have begun reforming how I source and use materials, allowing invention and eccentricity to replace practicality and convention. By challenging the givenness of current practices, I hope to signal alternative ways of relating to the natural world that sustains us.