Eric McHenry

You have a few different diverse art styles. How do you decide which method you want to use? Do you go in phases?
It’s all the same thing. Sometimes telling my hand exactly what to do gets exhausting, especially with the drawings I’ve been doing recently, where I’m literally drawing on top of drawings on top of drawings, purposely exhausting. That’s where the machine came in, to remove the intention, or the leaving it more up to chance, less up to Eric. I’ve got some paintings that I haven’t show anyone, that are super graphic, that sort of look like they were made in Adobe Illustrator. I’ve been making video collages, I’ve been making canvases, I’ve been making small sculptures and incense burners. For the this show at the restaurant, I reached out to my friend Josh Pall, who makes frames, and he taught me that trade, so contrary to what one may think, framing, that’s a huge art.

 Tailored Union Eric McHenry Artwork

Where did you get the idea of using a machining tool to create some your pieces?
I was familiar with the tool. It’s a kid’s toy. I saw it at the art store by my studio and I remembered it from my childhood, I actually learned to draw Stars with it. I was drawing some subjective stuff, but it bored me and quickly started blacking out the whole page with it, which isn’t a new concept for me, I love the idea of drawing “nothing”. I drew rocks, or stones, because they are ignored and overlooked, basically nothing, for couple years, and then I started to “zoom in” on the rocks, leaving only a strange texture. So I was blacking out pages, and then I for some reason, drew a meridian on the page, and it somehow acted like a magnet, or a home base for me to rest this vibrating machine and the a pattern just started happening. Side A and Side B. It was never meant to be Rorschach-ish, but love that idea, it’s nothing, but everyone sees something.

Which type of style do you enjoy creating the most?
I enjoy the fact that I’m still learning, and that the learning/creating won’t end.

 Tailored Union Artist Feature Eric McHenry Portrait

You created a few different mustache items; T-shirt for Insight and also “Mustates,” a mustache map of the United States which was a hit at Urban Outfitters. I haven’t seen anything in mustache related in a while, why not? 
Damn, the internet is embarrassing, you’ve googled me. Over 10 years ago, a brand paid me 500 bucks for a drawing of just mustaches that I had drawn. I was drawing a lot of hair stuff back them. It was so long ago, I don’t think I could even grow a mustache, so maybe I was trying to draw my own into existence. Anyway, the shirt was sold at Urban outfitters for over a year. It was every store, on the mannequin in the window, on the cover of their magazine, psycho. The brand told me they sold more units of that shirt than any shirt, they’ve ever had. Shortly after the shirt was in store, you could buy mustache everything, socks, keychains, coffee mugs, total trash. Now, I’ve got a fine mustache, so no need to overcompensate. No need to dig up bones.

You’ve been skating for more that 20+ year, how have your skateboard designs evolved from when you began back in 1998?
It went 0-100 back to 0 real quick. I’ve only done one series of board graphics and that was somewhat recently. I hope there will be more board graphics. Skateboarding is for the youth, and it helped me a lot to get to where I’m at today.

 Tailored Union Artist Feature Eric McHenry Artwork

You’re friends via Instagram with some well-known skaters/photographers in the LA skate culture, how was it being the new guy coming from North Carolina? How have those relationships helped you within the art community? 
Sure, I “get by with a little help from my friends” Hahaha if we follow each other on insta, it’s probably because we’ve crossed paths and had a decent conversation or something in common. But it’s really just LA. Los Angeles is an amazing place. Also, no-one is really FROM here, so no one knows where I’m from, everyone is passing through, and a lot of people don’t last a long, but I’ve been here for 10 years. I also worked a skateboard magazine for 4 years.

Tell us about your exhibit at Burgerlords? I’ve never seen an art exhibit in a burger joint, how did that transpire and do you considerate it successful?
Burgerlords, is owned by two brothers, that I’d met in 2013, already restauranteurs, just as they were opening their first gallery, Slow Culture. I’d shown work there a couple of times, and I also did branding/creative for the gallery. I’ve stayed close friends with Fred and Max, and they needed some creative direction and graphics for their blooming restaurants, so I do all that for them. And being in the restaurant once a week, I saw an opportunity for me to exhibit some of the work I’ve been making, and I begged! I couldn’t be happier with the way that went. All of friends in one place, sharing an experience, eating a custom-made menu. It was beautiful to me.

Tailored Union Artist Feature Eric McHenry Men's Fendu Green/Brown

Do you have a preference on how you exhibit your work? What type of exhibits can we look forward to seeing in the future?
Absolutely. If free beer and neon vomit skulls is your vibe, say yes to the 25+ person group show, if it’s not, be true and stay away. Do a show at a vegan restaurant. Rent out a motel room and show your work in room 402. You don’t have to settle for the same shit. You’re in charge.  The future? Who knows? Probably the Guggenheim ;)

Tailored Union Artist Feature Eric McHenry Artwork

Tailored Union Artist Feature Eric McHenry Artwork

Photographed By: Amber Maalouf