Erica Steiner And Critical Buzz
It's always interesting to follow those folks who you worked with in
your past to see where they ended up and what they pursued. But it's a
pleasure to see them go on to do wonderful things. The problem is that
it's not always easy to track old colleagues and old friends. This, of course, is why Facebook is such a wonderful tool and why you so often see written on the Walls of Facebook users something like, "I can't believe we reconnected here on Facebook", or something to that effect.
I recently reconnected, via Facebook, with a woman who worked for me at Wark Communications for a short time and was pleased to discover she has gone on to do remarkable things.
Erica Steiner is an artist. I don't know if she was always an artist, but I do know she was always an excellent writer, a person who wore her heart on her sleeve and someone capable of thinking both deeply and emotionally. I'm not so surprises she turned to artistic pursuits, but I am happy she did.
It turns out that Erica comes from a former Sonoma County wine family. So in that respect, it turns out she is actually doing much the same thing as her family did from the 1970s to the 1990s: Creating artistic objects that fill an emotional need in people. It turns out also that the marketing requirements that drove her family's wine business are very similar to the marketing requirements of an artist.
Fine wine, art, perfume, jewelry…these are the things we acquire to fill that higher need for self actualization and, hence, they are products quite different from houses, tomatoes, mattresses, gym memberships and automobiles, which fulfill more base need. And so they are marketed different too.
As Erica recently explained it to me recently in a Facebook chat session late one night, "the same kind of critical buzz necessary for a winery to get launched is necessary for artists too. The right review in the right publication or the right art patron purchasing your work will launch you to a new level."
It turns out that even when we see a piece of art or hear of a particular wine or put our nose close to an aroma strip at the perfume counter of Macy's and realize we like these things, that they speak to us and who we think we are and that they help us define ourselves, we still often need a third party endorsement in order to acquire them so that we can have them in our lives. Not quite so with Tomatoes and gym memberships.
Erica's works primarily in oils and gold leaf on canvas and it turns out her works touch me. If I dug down deep I suppose I could find the words to explain why they do. While some of my attraction to her art surely has to do with the fact that I know the artist, there really must be more to it since I've known other "artists" who's works made me question why art ought to have such a broad definition to include what they produced. Suffice to say, Erica's works fall well into the center of the definition of art rather
than wavering on the edge of the definition's outer reaches. It's downright beautiful and evocative and tethered to familiar themes, artistic genre and craft movements to which I am also attracted.
So, down the road I'll need to acquire an "Erica Steiner" or two to have close to me in my home, to brighten my sense of self, and to remind me of this lovely woman who I worked with for a short time and never stopped liking, even though it took Facebook to reconnect with her. But I also hope that, just as her family's wines were eventually lauded by all the important wine critics and launched into the pantheon of great American wines, she too will get that important critical push over the edge that helps those who need a third party endorsement to confirm their suspicions about her talent and gives them the impetus to bring an authentic "Erica Steiner" into their home and life.