Jeff Erwin, MFA
How did you first discover Western?
A good friend in high school grew up in Gunnison and told me stories of the Gunnison country that always piqued my interest. My high school art teaching also told me how awesome the Art Department is here and encouraged me to attend. I am now lucky enough to return and teach here. After having attended a larger research institution for graduate school I wanted to return to a school that values the connection between students and faculty. I also find ample opportunity for collaboration at a school this size, which is how I prefer to work and why I value a liberal arts education.
What are some of the highlights of your career?
Having the opportunity to collaborate with artists and researchers both locally and internationally is a really interesting way to work and create what I like to think of as a 'third perspective'. Currently, I’m working towards an exhibition at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and I continually feel inspired by the places that my work takes me.
What most excites you about your field?
Contemporary Art has no clear definition and incredible diversity of work types. I find this liberating because of the opportunity it allows to push existing fields of thought. I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to be working in a relatively new and rapidly expanding field of interdisciplinary research art/science. Academia is also increasingly recognizing that interdisciplinary thought is an asset to each field, which is why I firmly believe in a liberal arts education. As an artist, I have the opportunity to work from and be inspired by science without being bound to the scientific method or a desire for quantifiable results. Rather, I use my tools as an artist, a creative problem solver, to find new ways of understanding scientific concepts as they relate to culture. These are the conversations I find most fruitful and from my experience have scientists saying, “I haven’t thought about it like that,” or “I would have never had this conversation in my department." I believe it is essential to challenge our assumptions and push the limits of any given field and find new ways to understand it. The fact that my artistic practice brings this question to the forefront of my work is an incredible privilege.
What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?
Aside from the obvious grandeur of the landscape, quality of climbing in the Taylor and Black Canyons, and the laundry list of recreational opportunities, I absolutely love the Gunnison Community. Gunnison is a place that truly cares about one another. From your neighborhood to the local shops. Gunnison has its own character and personality. The people who live and work here make it more than a college town or a resort town, which is uniquely Gunnison.
- Introduction to Art
- Introduction to Ceramics
- Introduction to Drawing
- Intermediate Sculpture
Carrier Pigeon: Volume II, Issue IV
External Professional Affiliatons
- New Mexico State University 2014 - 2017
- Ongoing collaborator with Tim Fitzpatrick at the University of St.Andrews