Erick Stow in Montreal painting live during his residency at Peter Lee Studios in 2017.
A Saskatoon born artist has come from where he grew up in Texas to sell his mixed-media, one of a kind artwork back home in Canada, and he’s doing very well.
Erick Stow sells all of his one of a kind pieces at, according to what he knows of the industry, a fraction of the price to make a viable living. His pieces often sell for $5, $10, and $20 that, out of a studio or gallery, would cost upwards of $150 to $250.
“I’m definitely going to go to to every house in the interlake, so that everybody has an opportunity to purchase a piece,” Stow said with ambition.
He has donated to charities such as the Gimli Humane Society, and said he likes to give away his ink, acrylic and oil mixed media pioneered style, motionism, to clients as gifts for festive occasions.
“My goal is to put wealth in the community, and that’s why I do only original pieces,” he said of his work.
“The hope is to get commissions from people who buy my work. It works. I am making a living at it.” Stow said.
Stow is also sending out emails, tweets, and letters about his hard to execute style, in hopes of continuing his rising momentum.
His social disposition of being a Kenyan descendant left him feeling disadvantaged, socially, and throughout his life growing up in the US, being recognized by society as a “white brother”.
He moved to Texas when he was nine years old and said that he experienced “black denial” from living in the US until he was 31. He turned 33 in April.
After returning to Canada in 2012, Stow experienced depression for two years while living in Gimli. He then moved to Winnipeg, trying to build momentum, and then headed out to Calgary to work for a fashion company as a bespoke fashion tailor. He said he also worked the runway as a model.
When he was in Calgary, he got into a racism lawsuit.
“We ended up settling,” he said. “Let’s just forget about it so we don’t have to... add stress to one another’s life.”
The art was in his heart, so he left the job, the lawsuit and the City of Calgary for an artist residency in Montreal’s Peter Lee Studios, but then the studio closed. So, Stow came back to Gimli to stay with his aunt once again and focus on his art.
He used his training to promote and advertise himself and was discovered by a couple in the community that came to be very impressed with his artwork.
Michele Ann Matter, who works for the Interlake Eastern Health Authority, invited Stow to stay with her and her partner in September 2017 as an artist in residence after contracting him to paint a car for her 82 year old mother.
They have since decided to continue supporting his talent by inviting him to be their guest until the spring of this year and have subsequently invested about $10,000 into his talent with the purchase of his original art.
An online artist startup did an independent study of 1,533 artists to collect anonymous income data in the US and the UK from Nov. 1 to Nov. 23 last year.
The Artfinder’s Independent Art Market Report of 2017 concluded that the majority of independent artists do not make a full time living from their work, despite identifying themselves as full time artists.
According to the study, only three quarters of artists surveyed in the US made $10,000 or less per year from their art, and less than half of them never broke $5,000 per year.
“The people I met in university are part of... my middle class upbringing, so I started reflecting the prices... for an every-day-Jo, you know? What they could afford,” he said. “I have sold pieces for about $3.50 per square inch - and like $5 per square inch is the industry standard where a successful oil painter makes that, generally.”
Stow was highlighted, Feb. 16, at The Park Theatre in Winnipeg, painting a live musician known as Twichiit, for Pop Occulture.
Stow plans to be knocking on doors in the interlake, standing up for freedom of the arts and self-employment, while giving back to the community.
“I buy thrift store canvases and just prime over them, cut costs, and then maximize profit so that I can serve people,” said Stow.
To see more of his work or to order from him, online, find him on IG @erickstow - and check out his website: erickstowcollection.blogspot.