IT’S JUST NATURE
Inquisitively driven to expose the truth of imperfection as it exists in the world, Brooklyn designer Eric Slayton uses furniture as his medium to not only express the raw beauty in his work but expose this truth of nature. Born to be innately curious, Slayton’s exploration of nature as a child has molded his adult relationship with the natural world. Nature serves as his mentor. In the most respectful way his furniture serves as a tangible example of this relationship.
Who are you and what do you do?
I am a curious renaissance type of person who is fascinated as much about science and natural sciences as I am about art and design. I studied conservation biology, natural sciences and ornithology in college. It is my innate need to be curious and studious with the natural world along with my previous time spent in Shelter Island that has encouraged me to use furniture and design as my medium to explore this curiosity.
Where is your workspace?
My current workspace is in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. My studio is a quick bike ride from my home, which helps nurture the spontaneity that I have coming and going from the studio and home. It allows me to maintain the quality of life I need and not ever feel a burden around my work.
What’s your relationship with nature?
Climbing trees or chasing frogs as a kid was a huge passion of mine. My inquisitive nature about the natural world is something I never grew out of. I have spent my life up to my knees in muck, scratched by branches, and bitten by mosquitos. I look at structure of life forms and how inherently beautiful those structures are. My relationship with nature is curious, respectful, healing, hungry and full of desire. The natural world was not meant for our pleasure. It was not meant to be gawked at but sure enough we are. No matter what incredible objects we are creating as a species it is hard to match the natural world as it continues to create from the cellular world up. I have a passion that focuses on beauty, inspiration, and mystique around the fundamental life forms that we live in.
My work is very intentional. What is there is there and what is not is not. It has a modernist sensibility with a very strong dose of Wabi-sabi. In the same way the natural world provides, I am inspired to expose the natural truth that nothing is perfect and there is beauty in that fact. That all things are imperfect and all things will change. The more they change the more powerful they become and the more integrity they hold.
Tell us about the materials you work with. How do they inform your design?
The material palette I use are materials that interact, are sensitive to change, and sensitive to the fact that they are alive. They are not sterile as they do not stay the same. Working with materials such as wood, concrete, steel, brass, bronze, aluminum, and animal hides provide a time marinated, mature component that not only show that life is alive but ever changing as well. I stay away from materials that resist the inevitable course of change such as resins. I am not trying to recreate the beauty found in nature but rather use them as mentors as they guide my work. My work is informed by reflecting those fundamentals, those principals, and those desires directly into my objects. Objects that are inherently alive.
Is there a difference for you between art + design? How does one inform the other?
I am more passionate as an artist than a designer but I know my work really falls into the design category. It really comes down to the academics of art and design and I don’t necessarily have to live there to be who I want to be. For me the passion is the passion and the result is the result. I realize some of my pieces are impractical and in the impracticality they can serve as a function of art.