Q & A with artist Erin J Coholan

Photo by: Erin J Coholan

Photo by: Erin J Coholan

I’ve always loved taking and looking at photos, ever since I was a kid and we’d get those disposable cameras. And after college the technical stuff was tackled and now I’m set for what I need to do which is basically all product shots, it’s not too fancy. 

Some people though, go beyond anything technical and make it more than just taking photos; their creativity makes it art- and these people inspire me and make me extremely envious. 

Erin J Coholan is, very much, one of these people. 

I will admit, in all honesty as I always do, that I had reached out to Erin after a few glasses of wine while browsing her Instagram. Here she is, only 20, from the same small town I am and killing it with her photos. I was beyond excited when she was just as enthused as I was about doing a little Q & A for the blog and here we are. 

What made you realize that you love photography? 

Hmm, I don’t think it ever was this defining moment, but I always knew I loved art and even at age 5 I carried around a polaroid everywhere I’d go.

Then as I got older I started to film everything I did. I’d set up mock reality shows and film musicals. Then it just started to progress and grow and I suppose when it became time to decide what to do with my life, that was the only thing I could ever see myself doing.

Erin's first photo at age 5

Erin’s first photo at age 5

How has your style changed over the years? What do you think causes it to change?

My style has changed so, so much, but I still tend to lean towards portraits – that’s one thing that has remained the same.

But honestly it’s changed based on the people around me, I am constantly surrounded by amazing art and amazing artists and it really does influence me and inspire me. Also, although I wouldn’t say post secondary has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me, it’s been challenging but it has taught me so much. I look back on the portfolio I sent in to Ryerson and then look at my current work, and it’s the only thing that makes me think to myself “Okay, see, you must have learnt something.” It’s made me more creative, and more willing to try new things.

Photo by: Erin J Coholan

Photo by: Erin J Coholan

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment so far?

I think getting accepted to Ryerson technically has been my biggest accomplishment, I had wanted to go to Ryerson my entire life and to get accepted was one of the best days.

But on a more personal level, I consider my greatest accomplishment just continuing to create and to stay interested and inspired. I have these creative blocks sometimes and pushing through them and not giving up has been extremely difficult.

It’s hard to know if what you’re doing is what you’re supposed to be doing, I often feel quite lost but I do it for myself and there’s nothing that makes me more excited really.

Sidenote: Below is Erin’s first short film The Golden Hour which she released on October 16. I’ve watched it a handful of times now, it is nothing short of stunning. The shots are beautiful and the story is painstakingly honest, and relatable. 

 How did you come up with the idea behind the video? 

I think I started to brainstorm ideas for the film this past winter. I was really bored and I was feeling really uninterested in my classes as well as super anxious for summer to begin. I think dreaming about summer while sitting in class during the middle of the the snowy gross winter I got really nostalgic. I think I just really wanted to do something with these memories I have and kind of recreate them but with a story or a purpose.

I knew I wanted it to be a love story but one that was real and relatable yet still romantic and dreamy. I think I wanted to show how delicate some relationships are and the nature of them when they are new territory. I definitely wanted the viewers to have that sense of heartbreak and emotional pain that is caused by love coming to an end.

What was, or even is, your favourite part of the creative process?

I really really loved the beginning stages, it made me so excited.

I just wrote down so much in my notebook, watched so many shorts, and made the playlist. Those were all really cool and kind of got me through last semester. But filming was fun, we goofed around so much, I looked forward to it on all of my days off this summer. Working with other people is why I’m so attracted to film as a different medium. I’ve never really been a one man show – collaborating is so important.

What’s coming up next for you?

As for photography, I’m going to be starting a project soon where I am recreating 80’s portraits. I think this will be really funny and my goal is to make it as tacky and comical as possible. It’s nice to give myself something a little less serious to work on.

And as for another possible film, I’m currently in the brainstorming phase once again and hoping to be working on something at Christmas, once again, with the theme of relationships.

If you want to see more of Erin’s work check out her blog here. She can also be found on Twitter & Instagram. 


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