Eric Ernst was born in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1956 into a family of some notoriety
in the art world. Originally intent on avoiding any direct involvement in the arts himself, he graduated from George Washington University with a B.A. in Japanese Studies followed by an all-but-completed M.A. in the same subject from the University of Michigan (to this day he insists the actual writing of the master’s thesis should just be considered a minor formality).
In between these academic respites, he lived in Japan working as an apprentice
to a Japanese woodblock artist, studied Zen meditation, and was employed as a disc
jockey at a Tokyo radio station under the pseudonym of “Reckless Eric, The Mad Artist
of the Airwaves”. More importantly, his studies there were to later imbue his work with
varied elements of Japanese and Oriental aesthetics in terms of coloration and
concepts of rhythm and asymmetry in design.
Further incorporating aspects highlighting the geometric purity of the Russian
avant-garde and the later Bauhaus artists, he was also influenced by his father, Jimmy
Ernst’s, approach to crisp, linear compositional structure. In addition, the works are also
inspired by aspects of harmony and movement drawn from disparate musical sources
such as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Igor Stravinsky, and Frank Zappa.
Structurally arranging the works to be viewed as small scale architectonic
spaces, Ernst recently has begun incorporating elements of representational imagery
into his constructions. These serve to create an interaction of forms, shapes, and colors
that, mixed with musical and harmonic elements, conjure a more immediate narrative
and strive to transcend the limits of pure geometric abstraction.