Erin Hanson: American artist (1981-) | Biography
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Erin Hanson
American artist

Erin Hanson

Erin Hanson
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American artist
Is Painter
From United States of America
Field Arts
Gender female
Birth 1981, Portland, Multnomah County, Oregon, U.S.A.
Age 42 years
The details


Erin Hanson (born 1981) is a Los Angeles-based American contemporary landscape painter.

Early years

Hanson was born in Portland, Oregon and spent most of her childhood in Los Angeles, California as one of four children of Nancy and Mark Hanson. Her mother was a teacher and her father was a computer programmer. In interviews, Hanson has said that as a child, she developed an affinity for drawing and painting due, in part, to the fact that television viewing was not allowed inside the Hanson home. Her parents encouraged her to read books, play music and appreciate the outdoors. As a youth, Hanson spent summers hiking, camping and rock climbing. She studied bio-engineering at UC Berkeley. She turned to art full-time in 2007.

Open impressionism

Hanson has called her style of painting open impressionism, which she describes as a combination of impressionism and expressionism with abstract art elements. Hanson says her landscape paintings are characterized by colors not necessarily found in nature. “My goal as an artist is to bring the beauty of nature to the viewer,” she said. “I want to capture the emotional gradient of the landscape --- to dramatize it. Each painting is more of an emotion than a representation.” Hanson's use of a technique known as “ala prima” or “wet-on-wet” creates a texturized and stimulating motion across the canvas. An art critic notes, "The colors are unexpected but not unfamiliar, dancing within your eye and striking the imagination."

Work style

Hanson has said that her subjects usually come from photographs she’s taken during trips to the desert, mountains or open country. She has said in interviews that she does not thin her paints or practice layering, instead she uses large amounts of thick paint for each brush stroke. The artist said in an interview that she paints about 10 hours a day, seven days a week, while listening to audio books.


Hanson has cited Vincent Van Gogh as an early influence. At age 7, after seeing Van Gogh’s Irises, she decided to become an impressionist painter. In interviews, Hanson has also cited as an inspiration the Group of Seven, also known as the Algonquin School, a group of Canadian landscape painters from 1920 to 1933. Hanson has said rock climbing as a young adult brought her back to her artist roots and her love of the outdoors. While living in Las Vegas, Hanson became a skilled rock climber, often hiking in Red Rock Canyon. “Some might consider the desert to be drab and colorless with white granite rocks and scraggly trees, but I love to capture the moments when the early-morning light peeks through and lights everything up in sherbets, lavenders and ice cream colors. I want my collectors to experience the drama and excitement of the landscape like I do.”


Hanson has shown in several art galleries across the United States and internationally. She was Southwest Art Magazine's 2013 Artist to Watch. In late 2014, Hanson unveiled a nine-foot-long oil painting for the Torrance Memorial Hospital in Los Angeles. This painting captures the Madrona Marsh, a nearby nature preserve. In 2015, the Indian Wells Art Festival selected Hanson as the poster artist for the event. Art critic Delene Garbo has said that Hanson’s paintings offer a hint of plein-air style that “generates a more primal interpretation of the landscape.” Also in 2015, Hanson’s paintings were displayed in 15 wineries throughout Paso Robles as part of a special art and wine tour. Hayley Thomas, an art critic, said of Hanson’s wine country paintings, “her landscapes are loving swirls of electric light, always in ever changing motion...Graphic scenes emerge from shadows and brush. Ancient oak trees look more like peyote images or dancing spirits than trunks or branches.” Hanson operates her own gallery, The Erin Hanson Gallery, in Frogtown, a neighborhood in Los Angeles.

National Parks Tribute

On January 2016, the St. George Art Museum in Utah unveiled a solo exhibition of 42 works by Hanson entitled Painted Parks, which is part of a yearlong series of juried art shows celebrating the National Park Service Centennial. For her first solo show at an art museum, Hanson featured scenes from National Parks and Monuments around the West, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Glacier National Park, Cedar Breaks, Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. Southwest Art Magazine reported that Hanson donated a percentage of proceeds from the works sold to the National Park Service

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