[ MAKERS ] INTERVIEW WITH ERIC TRINE, LEFT COAST VIBES

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INTERVIEW WITH  : ERIC TRINE of ERIC TRINE | Long Beach, CA

I have been following (and quite smitten with) Eric's work for some time now. It was a couple years ago that his lovely wife Heather and I started working for the same company  (Heather at that time in Portland, whilst I was in Seattle). Over time I have become known throughout as the girl who often wears the evidence of her latest project to work (read: showing up to work with hands stained indigo blue because you ran out of gloves, but didn't want to put your project on hold). So, you can only imagine my curiosity when told by shared staff members that  Eric arrived to pick Heather up one day, covered in saw dust, so much so, he unknowingly dragged it into their workspace. I was intrigued. A google search later, I was not only taken with his work but found myself drawn to his artist statement.  Over the last couple of years, I've enjoyed watching the evolution of Eric's work and am excited to share the below interview with you. 

[ Sanam Miremadi ]

Something that automatically comes to mind, when I think back, is the artist statement I read on your site shortly after hearing of your work. There was something in that statement that captured my attention, it was something to the effect of:  " ...I could never be an architect, because if I designed something i'd also have to be the contractor and carpenter." (I probably just butchered that). Can you clarify?

[ Eric Trine ]

I believe I said something to the effect of, "If I was an architect, I would have to be the builder too." I can't just design something without making it, because the opposite is true, I can't design without making. The making informs the design.

[ SM ]

Do you still feel the same way?

[ ET ]

I totally feel the same way. I couldn't imagine trying to design something by just thinking about it and then drawing it. I draw by making. When I first decided to make a chair, that's exactly what I did, I decided to make a chair. I didn't set out to design a chair, or solve the problem of sitting through the process of design, I just made a chair. I had some hex rod left over from another project, I got out the torch and bent the rod into the form of a frame and went from there. It starts as play. 

[ SM ]

Personally, I'm so driven by the curiosity and need to create and connect. What drives you? What are you inspired by? 

[ ET ]

I'm definitely driven to make stuff. I notice a serious impact on my mood/attitude if I don't get a chance to make something every day. I have a really hard time with weekends. 

I tend to shy away from the word 'inspiration'. I don't like to think about it. If I'm explicitly aware of what I'm inspired by, or what influences my work directly, it begins to lose power/energy for me. I prefer invisible muses. 

That being said, I'm certainly drawn to certain things that definitely impact my work. Right now, the big things are: church architecture, suburban landscaping, industrial/warehouse architecture, mid-century abstract painting. 

[ SM ]

How would you describe your design style?

[ ET ]

Simple yet generously tactile.

Modest in form, but playful, flamboyant even, in color.

Direct and engaging. 

[ SM ]

I'm trying to put my finger on it, you see I love how clean and minimal your work is... yet there is a sense of nostalgia that carries through, left cost vibes maybe? 

[ ET ]

Yes. I can see that, the nostalgia part. I think it has to do with the simplicity in form married with the directness of the material. Because I don't do anything crazy with the materials I use, I mean, they are off-the-shelf materials; metal, wood, leather. I'm not injection molding plastic using some half a million dollar machine. It's quite apparent how I put things together. Perhaps that connects with us in a nostalgic way because that's what we did as kids, at least that's what I did as a kid? A welding gun is just the pro version of a hot glue gun. A table saw is the big boy version of tools I borrowed from my Dad when I was 10. Bending pipe cleaners, and cutting foam core,  that's basically how I build my coffee tables.

[ SM ]

I also love your mix of medium; wood, leather, metal and the like. Do you make all aspects of your pieces? Have you a favorite medium?

[ ET ]

I make everything myself still. I like metal the best because it's fast. I can build something up really quickly with metal and it will be sturdy and strong. It's fun and immediate and I can make mistakes without any major consequences, like clay perhaps. If something falls off, I can just re-attach it. It's failure friendly. 

[ SM ]

It has been my experience in the act of experimenting that I often find beauty in some of my mistakes. Do any such happy accidents come to mind?

[ ET ]

Not so much happy accidents as much as unrealized potential. I make a lot of things during my play time and they just sit around for months and months, and then one day I wake up and I think "hey, this thing would make a great coat hook!" So I make a lot of things that would be great, unique, interesting products, but I never set out to make a product, it  just evolves that way. 

[ SM ]

What are you most looking forward to this year?

[ ET ]

Developing a product line. I primarily make a living doing custom work and I would much rather develop a product line. So that's happening. It's really hard, but it's a good challenge, both on the making side, but also the business development side.

[ SM ]

Next projects?

[ ET ]

Creating and sustaining the product line is the big thing, along with developing the online shop.

Gearing up for the Architectural Digest Home Show in March. 

 

www.ERICTRINE.com 

WORDS | Sanam Miremadi [ ChloeTouran ]

IMAGES | ERIC TRINE