“. . . these are the times of dreamy quietude, when beholding the tranquil beauty and brilliancy of the ocean’s skin, one forgets the tiger heart that pants beneath it; and would not willingly remember, that this velvet paw but conceals a remorseless fang.” ~ Herman Melville.

Eric Fortune’s work playfully revels in the tension between isolation and immersion. At once both achingly lonely and overwhelming submerged, Fortune pushes and pulls the gaze across each piece with the skillful hand of a master.

Receiving his BFA from Columbus College of Art and Design, Eric has since moved from an illustrious commercial career to a Fine Art practice. Granted only to those who have diligently refined their aesthetic over many years, there’s that uniqueness and a signature that is distinctly Fortune.  Soft, luminous, radiant, his figures look to be distilled in a fragment of focus. Created by patiently layering diluted acrylics on watercolour paper, Eric is refreshingly open about his techniques. (For the artists amongst you his process videos are a Godsend). Far from a hand that slaps you with it’s purpose, technique is the messenger that quietly invites you in. The muted colour palettes and aqueous textures submerge you gently.

One of Eric’s earliest influences was the movement and dynamism of anime. His pieces reflect that same cinematic quality of a moment caught in time. The world angles and whirls around the protagonist as we catch them right before they collide with the next hook in their story. Atmospheric lighting, distortion and blur ripple across each piece. Their sensuality cushions against a literal interpretation. Fortune himself has a vibrantly curious mind. One only need check out his Facebook page to see someone absorbed by politics, economics, psychology, sociology and science to name but a few. All of which feed into his work, resurfacing in their own elusive way.

There’s that adage of life imitating art and in Eric’s case perhaps it is more undulating and reciprocal. He mentions the isolation of a disciplined art practice. Yet he is also an artist deeply submerged in a cultural dialogue that radiates far beyond the sphere of contemporary art. Isolation and immersion seem to imbue both the life of the artist and the art.

We dive not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

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