It all started with her aunt. “They would let my aunt watch me all the time. I would get into her craft room and just make a mess,” said Erin Gould, a graphic designer, and Hutchinson, KS native. This type of freedom very obviously gave her the go-ahead in life to hone in on her craft and do the kind of work she does today.
She grew up with one sister and they are both artistically minded but in different ways. “My sister is more nerdy and analytical about things,” Erin Gould says, “and I am the more loosely creative one.” She explained that she gets some of her artist characteristics from her father that attended architecture school. “He was a perfectionist, so I became a perfectionist.” With the idea of perfectionism being such an early influence in Erin’s life, one would assume that Erin’s thought process and lifestyle would be very structured. However, this turns out to not be the case.
When proposed the usual question, “What did you want to be when you grew up,” she paused for a moment and then explained, “I am very indecisive and my imaginary animal changed just about every day, as well as my career choice. Because of that, some days I had a pet giraffe and some days I had a pet tornado. Some days, I wanted to be an astronaut and then some days I wanted to be an architect.”
Despite the chaos in identity, she offered that she seriously wanted to be an artist fairly early on in life, even as early as grade school. However, in college, she experienced some inner turmoil with her mother in her ear. Erin’s mom would strongly urge her daughter to think logically and be financially stable before pursuing the “vagabond artists” lifestyle.
“I tried that out and hated it,” laments Erin. “I tried being a teacher for a semester. I tried taking a business class for one day before I went to my advisor and said, ‘No, accounting is not my thing’ and I never went back to that class.” Sometimes, in college, you have to find out what you hate before you can find out what you love. This was definitely Erin’s experience through her years at Emporia State University and Wichita State University.
She explained that through high school and college she sparked an interest in photography which kept her in the art field. “[This] is funny, because I do not really practice photography at all anymore.”
She finished with a Bachelors of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a focus in Communications and Marketing. She explained that she was enrolled in the Fine Arts program through Emporia State and then the photography teacher left. “I did not want a substitute teacher teaching me my college degree, so I switched over to Wichita State. I did fine arts for another semester, then thought logically and went the Communications route.”
She now works at Gregory Inc. in Buhler, KS. She started as a Communication and Marketing Specialist but has since been bumped up to Graphic Designer. She explained she likes to create elaborate e-mail blasts right now, “…[making] them a lot more intricate than they ever should be.”
The last big job she did was at the Hutchinson Sports Arena. “I did the big banner system that we put in for the volleyball and basketball tournaments, and also a banner system for the rest of the year.”
When asked about her long-term career goals, she kept it simple, “I just want to keep getting better.”
Ultimately though, she would like to get involved with a green company, stating, “One that is dedicated to minimizing our carbon footprint and do well for the environment, and also a place where I can be as creative as possible.” She said she also wants a place that can incorporate her drawing abilities as well. She would like to start selling bigger pieces and doing murals in the future.
Also aligning with her green principles, she said that her and her boyfriend, David, want to build and live in an “earth ship,” which is a house that is fully sustainable on its own. “With the way it is designed, you have a “greenhouse room” that heats the whole house. The room is underground so the cooling is perfect all year round.” Erin states that is basically like one big art project.
She also said she’d like to do some traveling in the future. “I definitely want to see New Zealand, for sure. I also need to go to some beaches. I just need to be warm and tropical.”
We went on to talk about music and its impact on her work. “I can not survive without music. It is soul-sucking to not have headphones in and music just such a big part of my life.” She talked about how she used to sing in school and was in the jazz ensemble at Hutchinson Community College. Ultimately, she would really like to get back to music in the future.
When asked about what she’s listening to right now she said, “I am getting into 90’s hip-hop lately. I like Ice Cube, and I am trying to learn all the words to ‘Check Yo Self.’ My goal is to learn all the words to that song and I have got about eighty percent right now.” Cardi B is her guilty pleasure, but she said her tastes are very broad. “I like a lot of the electronic dance music for studying and focusing as well as dancing of course. I mean I am all over the place. David and I have been listening to a lot of oldies lately. I am really into upbeat funky stuff right now.”
Now her main project outside of work is putting together a large portfolio of all her mandalas. She wants to eventually showcase them at Metropolitan Coffee, one of the few coffee shops in the town of Hutchinson. “Right now, there is a six-to-nine month waiting list. That gives me enough time to get everything together, make various different types of mandalas and see how my work evolves.” Currently, she is adding a floral element but she would like to move in a more psychedelic direction.
In addition to graphic design and drawing, she also has an interest in tattooing. She bent over and showcased a circle she did on herself. “I felt, ‘Okay if I am really going to get into this I need to be able to do a circle.” She is very interested in the pointillism style. She expressed interest in wanting to do a stick and poke Shel Silverstein-esque piece on her arm. She said before she does anyone else, she wants to get the depth down first, as she does not want to put anyone in pain.
She finds art to be a therapeutic outlet for her. “A lot of my influence stems from being outdoors and drawing the mandalas is basically like a meditation for me,” she said. She explained that whatever she creates, it is usually a direct correlation to how she is feeling. “If I am having a really shitty day, I am going to have some really jagged lines or if I am super vibing, it might be something really intricate.”
With all of her skills and different interests, it is hard to see exactly where the wind will blow her next. However, look for the name Erin Gould in the future, because she plans on doing something major.