Derek Erdman

The Creative Unconscious: What's your name, age, and professional title? Where are you currently employed?

Derek Erdman: Derek Erdman, 42, Office Manager, Sub Pop Records

TCU: What hobbies do you have outside of your professional field that keep you inspired and motivated to generate personal work? How do they inspire you?

DE: I reckon painting and making "art" is my hobby, as I have a four day a week office job, but also paint for 40 hours a week. I love the strict schedule of having an office job, and the social aspect, plus having a job and selling art means I can buy all sorts of stuff and have insurance. When I was just living off of art it was cool to say that I did that, but if I fell off of a ladder, I'd be totally fucked. I also really like running and playing tennis and taking baths. Those four things plus sleeping is really all that my life is comprised of, except for eating, which is very important to me.

TCU: Do you have a hard time balancing being a creative professional and generating personal work that you're proud of?

DE: That's not really something that I think much about. I've found that if I examine certain things (well, most things), I'll just think myself into a corner. I try to just make work that I like, give it to the world, and then get busy making the next thing. 

TCU: What time of day do you feel the most creative? What about the most productive?

DE: Mostly the evenings and the middle of the night. Unfortunately it's not very healthy to keep that schedule, so anytime becomes fine. It usually takes me 1-2 hours to get into it, but then I can go for extended periods. I'd keep working for as long as I could, but that doesn't happen much anymore. My girlfriend gets bored so we go for walks to get ice cream.

TCU: What are your creative goals for the future?

DE: I'd like to make a book, I guess. Probably half writing, half fiction, half non-fiction, some drawings, pranks, social interactions, interviews, telephone transcription. That sort of stuff.

TCU: Are you working on any personal projects right now? If so, can you share a little bit about your inspiration and your creative process?

DE: Right now just commissions, preparing for a show that is giant paintings of VHS tape covers from 2000 to 2009, mostly rom coms. When I'm not making anything in particular, I just re-make paintings that I've made in the past. I'm to the point where I usually have a commission to work on, so I guess that's a level of success to be proud of.

TCU: What scares you?

DE: Going crazy and not knowing it.

TCU: What does success mean to you?

DE: Having people say that they like the things I make is nice, having money in savings, living well, having a calm life. Parts of my life have been not calm, and I used to think that being wild was the only way to live life, but I don't think that's the case now. I don't want to yell things very much anymore. Saying them quietly and measured is nice.

TCU: Anything else you want to add?

DE: When I moved to Seattle I made a concerted effort to adopt a persona, similar to Shannon Kringen. I used to imagine that Shannon Kringen was was actually a high concept art piece (not that there's anything wrong with the actual Shannon Kringen, I like her a lot), imagine being another person so well! Unfortunately if you attempt that, there's a good chance that you'll get lost in it, or it'll get muddled. It's odd, but I feel like I've spent the last eight months tearing down a persona that I created when I moved to Seattle five years ago (a good time to create a persona!). It was a neat experiment, but it failed something fierce, so I'm going to move away in the next year. Seattle is a pretty good place to live, but it's also pretty awful.


Head on over to to see more of Derek's rad work and to learn more obout him.