New artist to debut work at First Friday Artwalk |

New artist to debut work at First Friday Artwalk

New-to-town artist Jason Erwin focuses on music and famous singers as one of his main subject matters. (Photo by Sophie Dingle)

It was a love story that brought Jason Erwin to Steamboat Springs from Nashville, Tennessee.

“I dated a girl back in college, and then we went our separate ways,” he explained. “We crossed paths again about 11 months ago, and she was living in Steamboat, so I came out here.”

A painter for the past 30 years, Erwin ventured into the Depot Art Center to find out how he could get involved in Steamboat’s art community. When Barb King, visual arts coordinator for Steamboat Creates, saw his work, she immediately envisioned an exhibition.

That exhibition will open Friday at the Depot Art Center during the First Friday Artwalk, and it will be up until the end of May.

“(Erwin’s) focus on famous musicians and the rock scene is different from what we typically see in Steamboat,” said Dagny McKinley, development director of Steamboat Creates. “People can expect to see raw emotion. That’s one thing Jason captures beautifully. You see the grit, the power and story of a person in his work. I think one of the hardest things for an artist to do is capture emotion. Jason has that talent.”

Erwin’s paintings are easy to recognize with heavy brush strokes, lots of color and bold subject matter. He is heavily influenced by both music and sports.

“I feel like I can best convey how I feel through painting,” he said. “I try to be able to express the aggressiveness, the adrenaline of sports and that kind of rumbling, powerful feeling that you get when you’re watching a game or when you hear a song.”

He keeps his brush strokes noticeable on purpose.

“You can see the painting from afar, but when you get up close, you can really see the work that’s in it,” he explained. “The process is the best part of the painting. Each brush stroke is just one piece. I always try to keep that in mind.”

Erwin's distinctive style is recognizable with broad, heavy brush strokes. His exhibit “Come Together” will be on display at the Depot Art Center through May. (Photo by Sophie Dingle)

Erwin had been interested in art since he was a child and when it came time to choose a career — between becoming a doctor or artist — he chose artist. He went to graduate school in Savannah, Georgia, to get his master’s degree and has been working ever since.

“Sports, skateboarding and music — I made that my focus,” Erwin said. “I worked at it every day, all day for the past 30 years. Whatever you’re passionate about, put all of your effort into that.”

His first exhibit is called “Come Together” and features elements of both music and timing.

“These are things that are keeping us together throughout all these years,” he said.

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