Artist of the Week: Erin Wallace

Erin Wallace is a Chinese-American illustrator in the Seattle area.

Seattle Refined: How long have you been creating? What mediums do you work with?
Erin Wallace: I have been creating for my whole life! After going to school for art, I’ve been lucky enough to have been doing it professionally ever since. My medium for the last few years has been primarily digital, although I love getting to play with color and texture with watercolor, markers and other things on paper.

Can you tell us about your artistic process and how the different stages work into it?
I usually like to start everything on paper. Something about getting to sketch really loose at first brings a different energy than just diving in. From there, it depends if it’s a personal work or a commission. For commissioned work, I will present my sketches to my client, and move into a couple rounds of refinement, adding in detail and color along the way. Once we get to final, I am usually in Photoshop or Procreate making all the actual art! For a personal piece, I get to play client and that sometimes gets me in a little swirl of feedback with myself and I have to choose one direction and save the other notes for another piece.

Tell us about where your inspiration for your art comes from.
Inspiration comes from soooo many things. I collect children’s books, so other illustrators give me so much excitement. Lately I’ve been really loving looking at textile art — funky patchwork quilts have this amazing improvised energy that is mixed with a strong sense of intention. Things made by hand are always inspiring, clothes, ceramics, food!

Do you have a specific “beat” you like best – nature, food, profiles, etc.?
Nature is always somewhere I look to when I’m feeling drained. It’s so healing creatively and emotionally. But, beyond that, I love seeing how people interact with nature. Whether it’s houseplants or foraging, there’s a lot to glean from the earth.

Do you have one piece of art that means more to you or is extremely special to you?
Honestly, all the art I’ve collected over the years is so special to me. Sometimes I don’t know exactly why I buy something and it might remain in a flat file for months or even years, but every now and then I’ll rotate things out and give my space a refresh and come across something that I haven’ t seen in a while. I think my brain definitely functions in infinite tab mode so I like getting the chance to come back to something and remember why I loved it.

What experiences in your life have affected your art the most?
Deciding to go freelance has certainly changed my art the most. It was a real decision to fully meld my work into my life and I think I’m still learning all the nuance that goes into maintaining a healthy balance.

If we want to see more of your work, where should we go to find it?
My website is and I try and share as much as I can on IG @erinwallaceprint.

What’s next for you? Anything you’re working on right now that you’re really excited about?
I don’t know what’s next! I have some ongoing collaborations with local friends @thepastryproject__ that I’m always excited to share with the world!

[Read more: The Pastry Project: Sweet treats with an extra sweet mission]

Lastly, how do you take your coffee? (We ask everyone!)
Black and piping hot.

About ‘Artist of the Week’: This city is packed with artists we love to feature weekly on Seattle Refined! If you have a local artist in mind that you would like to see featured, let us know at [email protected]. And if you’re wondering just what constitutes art, that’s the beauty of it; it’s up to you! See all of our past Artists of the Week in our dedicated section.