Erin Sayer: 100 Creatives


Number 89: Erin Sayer

City: MPLS

Years spent living in MN: All my life except the ten years from 18 to 28.

Artist and curator Erin Sayer has her hands in many creative projects. As the owner of Cult Status Gallery, she has curated a mind-boggling number of shows ranging in theme from pinups, to monsters, to the city of Duluth. Her paintings are equally varied in subject matter, featuring images of rock bands, movie stars, and creatures from horror flicks. And while the gallery had an auspicious start after some controversy over an exterior mural created by Deuce Seven (which was later painted over), Sayer hasn't let it get her down or stop her high speed trajectory. Her calendar certainly appears to be very full. The artist will be helping to create a mural at this weekend's WAMarchy! party at the Weisman, preparing pieces for an upcoming show at Gallery 13, plus curating several shows at her gallery space. It's going to be a busy winter for Erin Sayer.

[jump] Name three things that are inspiring your work right now:

  1. Street art


  2. Local musicians/artists/interesting people

  3. The energy in Whittier and Lyn-Lake

Name three things that inspired and/or motivated you as a budding creative type:

  1. Paint

  2. Paint

  3. Paint (in any capacity -- I loved having a brush in my hand and was unhappy if I was doing anything else)

What was your last big project?

In the curating realm: Cult Status Gallery's last show, "DULUTH! A Love Story."

In the painting realm: I just finished painting the set of You Can't Take it With You for BSM.

What do you have going on now or coming up in the near future that should be on our radar?

I'm producing a mural with several Cult Status Gallery artists at the Weisman for their event December 4; a dual show with Louisa Greenstock at Gallery 13 Saturday, December 11; co-curating the "MPLS" show with Mark Rivard at CSG Saturday, December 18; and preparing for the "graffiti freaks'' return late December (featuring Deuce Seven and Von Shank).

Creative/career high point (so far)?:

Aside from the Gallery 13 show (which hasn't happened yet), opening Cult Status is by far the most ambitious thing I've done.


What has been your biggest challenge as an artist?

Never being able to relax. The minute you finish one project, you immediately launch into the next, or face the risk of bankruptcy.

How has the local scene changed since you began your career?

The internet changed everything. I wasn't familiar with the scene here because I was in Chicago during my 20s. If only I had had the internet then, instead of searching for jobs in the Reader and schlepping my portfolio all over hell and back. Now it's easier to break the ice, to meet other gallery owners and artists, and to apply for shows and communicate with people who inspire you from across the globe. The community has become tinier, and much more vast at the same time! I am "friends" now with hundreds of artists around Minneapolis, as opposed to 2002 when I only knew my small core group of artist friends.

With a snap of your fingers your favorite movie will get a sequel. It's guaranteed to be a good. Which movie do you choose? Why?

JAWS!!!! As long as Spielberg directs it, and doesn't go overboard on the special effects, I think a modern version of Jaws would be amazing (as long as it's guaranteed to be good)!


You often use iconic characters and celebrities in your work. Do you have any particular favorites? Why do you think you are you drawn to them as subject matter?

I think celebrities and iconic people (or portraiture in general) suit the medium (sign paint on metal) better than non-subjective material. Also, I was always backstage painting rather than 'onstage,' so I suppose it is my wish to be like them in a way, and to archive a very tiny moment in a life. The second that the person looked that exact way in their entire lives seems to me tragic and haunting, rather than iconic or something to be worshipped. They are an homage to a life lived. My favorites include Nina Simone, Frida Kahlo, and Debbie Harry.

Do you have a suggestion for someone whose work we should be checking out? Feel free to leave your top picks in the comments.

Past creatives, so far:

100. Jennifer Davis

99. Sean Smuda

98. Chuck U



96. Amy Rice

95. Kara Hendershot