Eric Inkala

by

Energetic and vibrant, Eric Inkala’s distinctive paintings spill over with vigor and verve. Taking root in an early love for street art in his native Minneapolis, Inkala eventually moved his practice to Brooklyn, a storied creative hub brimming with urban inspiration. And it’s here in New York City where the artist continues to challenge himself, going even bigger and bolder.

We recently asked Inkala about what keeps him motivated, how he approaches the creative process, and to surprise us with a fascinating tidbit (which you don’t want to miss!). Read on to learn more about this fantastic talent and get inspired yourself. 

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Eric Inkala, “Rebirth #2” 2023


Kate Kelly: First, let’s start from the beginning. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a self-taught artist, born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve lived in New York for 14 years and I live and work in Brooklyn.

Eric Inkala: Were there any experiences, either in childhood or later in life, that let you know you wanted to be an artist? How has your lived experience influenced your work?

When I was a kid growing up I was always drawing, and it continued until I discovered graffiti around the train tracks where I grew up. It was then that I fully immersed myself in the graffiti world, and that informed my upbringing as an artist. For the last two years of high school I was accepted into an arts high school, and that shaped me deeply and made me realize how much I loved painting and that I could actually attempt to make it a career. My parents also really pushed me to do what I really wanted, which was to become an artist.    

KK: I’m curious about how you hope to connect with your audience. How do you aim to teach or touch them? What do you want them to take away from your art?

EI: I like to connect with my audience in any way possible. I don’t think I have any specific intent in regards to connecting, but I love to see how people interact with my murals and see what they take away from my paintings.   

Eric Inkal, “Mr. Squiggles in Hysteria” 2023

KK: When generating concepts for your work, are there ideas that don’t make the cut? How do you land on your final imagery, and why?

EI: Definitely, tons of ideas don’t make the cut. I am always drawing, so I have hundreds of drawings at a time that go into the queue. Then I bring them into the studio to study and see which want to be fully rendered.  

The way I land on final imagery is by picking the ones that have the best compositional qualities and want to be solved. But sometimes my paintings’ compositions are not built from one single drawing. Some of the larger works are upwards of 20 drawings chopped up, using bits and pieces to build the composition on the spot.   

Eric Inkal, “Northwoods” 2023

KK: How has Artrepreneur helped your business? Do you have any tips on how to best utilize our platform? 

EI: Artrepreneur has helped my business just in the way we’ve worked together on the projects we’ve done so far. It’s also good exposure and a great tool for artists. 

Eric Inkala, “Mr. Squiggles in Anx” 2023

KK: What’s next for you? What are some dream projects you’d love to manifest?

EI:I have some big shows coming up at Corridor Contemporary in Philly and Fort Works Art in Texas. I’m also trying to take the paintings to the next level by going way larger, and I’m starting to explore sculptural elements that will also end up larger than life in their full realization.  

KK: I always love to give the artist an opportunity to share something on their own…..anything you’d like! Is there anything you’d like us to know about you, take away, or think about more deeply? 

EI: Most people don’t know this about me but I am indeed colorblind.

To view more of Erik’s work please visit his Artrepreneur profile.