Ingrid Erickson’s work in cut paper reflects the intersection of art and science. She explores the ornithology, botany, and ecology of ecosystems through the rendering of specific species. Each project involves extensive on-site research. She recently completed a course in Bird Biology from the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY, and is an active participant in Citizen Science projects, as well as a wildlife rehab volunteer at the NC Zoo. The recipient of a 2015 North Carolina Arts & Science Council Artist Project Grant, Erickson recently transformed 300 feet of paper into large-scale paper cuts featuring the 32 species of raptors being rehabilitated at the Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville, where she will be a bird care volunteer.
Erickson’s new large-scale series-in-progress features Whooping Crane biology: In 1942, there were only 16 Whooping Cranes left in the world; in 1967 the species was listed as endangered. In May 2017, Erickson spent 3 weeks as a guest artist at Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, MD, where she assisted the Crane Team as a chick-rearing volunteer. To prevent the chicks from imprinting on humans, biologists wear full-body costumes, complete with puppet heads worn on one arm, mesh face coverings, and knee-length black rubber boots for wading. A pocket in the front of the costume contains a voice recorder to play adult crane “purr calls” to encourage the young cranes to follow the costumed biologists as they learn to explore their marshy environment and receive swimming lessons. Favorite moments included seeing a chick hatch, monitoring and feeding newly-hatched chicks in the ICU (they spend their first 24 hours in an incubator), learning to weigh chicks for their twice daily health exam, caring for a pair of newly-hatched Florida Sandhill Cranes at the vet hospital, and soaking up knowledge from a deeply dedicated and knowledgeable body of experts who have made this their life’s work. Erickson came away with 2,000 photographs to work from at a later date, and sketchbooks bursting with drawings and watercolor studies of live birds, Sandhill and Whooping Crane eggs, radiographs, crane puppets, dummy eggs, skeletons, feathers, and wings.
Other recent partnerships and artist residencies include: The Jentel Foundation (Banner, WY), the “Owl’s Nest” cabin at Wildacres Retreat (Little Switzerland, NC), AZULE (Hotsprings, NC), The Grunewald Guild (Leavenworth, WA), and The Rensing Center (Pickens, SC). Erickson was an artist in residence at Penland School of Crafts in January 2016 and at the Vermont Studio Center in May 2016. She was a guest artist at the Field Museum in Chicago, which inspired herOsteology Series, including an installation of 300 cut paper bird skeletons.
Erickson has enjoyed working with students aged four to adult as an artist-in-residence and teacher in a variety of settings. These include NC and TX public and private schools, community college continuing education programs, museums, preschools, and programs for gifted and talented youth and the homeless. She recently served on the Salisbury Public Art Committee for the Salisbury Sculpture Show; and has juried several exhibitions of 2-D and 3-D work including the annual exhibition at Pfeiffer University. She has served as a fine arts panelist at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Erickson earned Studio Art/Art History degrees from Middlebury College in Vermont, a K-12 Art Education degree from the Maine College of Art in Portland, Maine, and taught in Asia for several years.
Artist: Ingrid Erickson
Residency: March 2018