Florida artist Virginia Erdie

Okay, you can choose which artist's story to publish, they are both true but the first one is the bitter truth - after all, isn't this what partly makes an artist a real artist?

The truth unveiled:

I was born and raised on a farm in West Virginia. I was secluded from the world. I went to a two-room grade school that had outdoor toilets. I rode my pony bareback on our 150-acre farm. I watched the neighbor boys physically abuse animals. I heard the neighbor boys brag about raping their cousins or molesting their sisters or shooting at "coons" (black people). There was no law in that one-horse town. I was constantly astounded and disgusted by the stork's poor judgment in dropping me off in a reality so unrelated to my psyche. I relied heavily on the friendship of salamanders, turtles, dragon flies and preying mantis as gentle friends. I drew and wrote science fiction stories to escape reality. Years went by. Then my father died when I was 19 and his brother said, "...you should think about getting away from here for a while..." I gathered together my small portfolio of drawings and went to an interview at The Maryland Institute, College of Art. The rest is a journey in the making.

I continue to explore the unconscious and to go where no woman has gone before while maintaining an acceptable level of insanity.

The diplomatic truth:

Virginia Erdie was born in Fairmont, West Virginia, and lived on a semi-working farm for the first 14 years of her life. She was mostly isolated for these years with most time spent riding her pony bareback and constantly catching salamanders, turtles and the like to take home as company. She left Fairmont when she was 23 years old on scholarship to The Maryland Institute, College of Art and graduated with a BFA in 1986. She used her scholarship money to spend two trimesters at The Central School of Art & Design in London, England in 1984-1985. She went on to obtain her Master’s degree in Art Therapy from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989.

Her biggest influences are Dali, Kandinsky, Klee, Miro, Chagall, Bosch, Ernst, Gorky, and Magritte. She saw many of their paintings while she was visiting the great galleries in London, Washington, DC, New York, Amsterdam, Paris, St. Petersburg, Chicago and Baltimore.

Virginia exhibits frequently and has gained the attention of the more innovative Press for her unconventional and thought-provoking imagery. Her work has evolved from her studies of psychology, as she worked as an art therapist with the criminally insane for 6 years. Also inspiring her work are her concerns about humanity, as she feels that our time spent on this Earth should not be consumed by greed and power and the striving for material things which obstruct the natural process of individual evolution necessary to make a healthier humankind.

The colors of her work range from the stark black and white etchings done at The Maryland Institute, College of Art 20 years ago to the present day warm, vivid oil-based acrylics on canvas. Her charcoal drawings she considers “subtractive” drawings, imagery formed from the unconscious; they are dreamlike and fuzzy black and whites. She also has a small gallery of mixed media, where she sews into the canvas found objects and fabric. All the images are mostly organic in nature, curving, and playful. Some are barely recognizable of representational things, some are completely abstract. Even the charcoal drawing of a photograph of her mother (when her mother was a child) on her rocking horse is dreamlike and fuzzy in nature. Virginia really doesn’t see reality the way most of us do.