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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Artist of the Month: A little girl’s dream comes true for Erin Berrett

Oct 04, 2018 12:57PM ● By Jana Klopsch

“Houseguest,” 10x8 oil on panel. (Courtesy of Erin Berrett)

By Lindsey Baxter | [email protected]

Erin Berrett grew up in nearby Cottonwood Heights. Berrett has been creating art her entire life and has been encouraged through her teachers to continue her artistic skills with how talented she was even at an early age. She often looks back on her life and realizes that she always knew she was going to be an artist — it was just in her soul and who she was meant to be. Berrett worked a job for a few years after college and realized she needed to do what she loved, and that meant dedicating her life to art. 

The Holladay Arts Council recently named Berrett its Artist of the Month. 

Erin Berrett (Courtesy of Erin Berrett)

 She started her art career by taking an entire year to just paint and get a large collection of work to start off with. After the year of painting, she started to show her artwork at any and all festivals and any way she could get her art out within the community. 

Berrett takes special requests throughout the entire year, but says right now is her busiest time of the year because she will be working on numerous special request pieces for Christmas gifts. Berrett sells her art within the community and also sells large pieces in a gallery in Palm Springs. 

Berrett works on at least four to eight paintings at one time. She says it helps her to not run out of ideas or sit and dig at one painting and possibly make bad decisions. 

Berrett has an ongoing list of inspiration she will use to paint unique paintings between painting special requests for other people. “It’s so fun for me because then it’s my story, but it’s their story, but they’ve brought me their thing but then it’s hanging on their wall, so they’re telling my story and I’m telling theirs, but it’s such a positive back and forth. When my painting connects to somebody that means a lot to both of us, which is pretty cool. It’s already special to sell something because someone likes your work, but when it means something to them too, I remember the stories from years ago,” she said.   

Berrett has an extremely strong work ethic and dedicates her life to her work. She works every day from 10–6 and if she misses any of that time during the week, she makes it up during the weekend. She believes that a large piece of her success is that this is not only her passion, but her career and she treats it that way. “It really is as fun as it sounds, and I’m living my dream,” she said.

She keeps stacks of art books around to always find new inspirations and continues to learn through workshops and classes. 

“Birds,” 24x24 each, oil on panel. (Courtesy of Erin Berrett)

 When asked about her favorite piece she has ever created, Berrett said, “That is a tricky question because it changes as soon as I finish one — it’s my all-time favorite and I’m never going to sell it and I’ve never done anything better — but then in six months, I have a new one.” She said she had a professor who said to “never sell the firstborn.” “In that he meant if something monumental happened, if something changed in a painting, you should keep that one and hang on to that one for a minute and remember it, because there is often that firstborn where you made a new mark or you made a new move or you thought about something differently and it affects how you paint from that point on. So those are my favorites, those that feel like the firstborn, where something feels like something special happens.”

Over the years, her artwork has moved from a darker look to a brighter look. She can even look at the style and strokes of her work over the years and see how much she has grown and changed. She states that when looking at her art and trying to determine when a piece is done or needs more work, she likes to walk away from it for a minute and when she comes back to it, she can determine whether it’s saying what she wants it to say.

Berrett is a delightful and positive woman with a true desire to bring joy to others lives. She loves spending time with her husband and her taking her dog Phoebe. She is extremely flattered to have earned Holladay’s Artist of the Month.

To nominate an artist of the month, email [email protected]