Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique  discovering  thesis and processes behind the work.








Conversation between Erin Parish and Olivia Ramos.


Erin Parish

The Narcissism of Fire, 2015

Oil and Resin on Canvas

90 x 120 in.

RAMOS:  ‪hi Erin, thank you for joining me‬‬


PARISH:  ‪Thank you for the invitation‬‬


‪let's talk about the title of the piece‬‬


The title of the piece I am showing at Bustamante Studio is The Narcissism of Fire... all consuming


The Narcissism of Fire


is the title


‪for me, narcissism is a form of isolation‬‬


an extreme form


But not intentional and it needs to take place within the context of other people.‬‬




I don't know that one gets to choose to be narcissistic or not. One can modify the degree certainly.‬‬


‪i agree, although I think if we become aware of it, if that's possible, then we can simply see ourselves as equals to everyone else‬‬


that should diminish the degree of isolation


‪In the instance of this title it is all consuming, as it is fire, and has no freedom of choice. It is a fact.


Fire is so mesmerizing one cannot look away, you want to get nearer like the moth to the flame. Really charismatic people fascinate me and that is the experience one often has.‬‬


Jim Jones, Hitler, Charles Manson... plus the Dalai Lama... however, The evil examples are the most blatant as one witnesses people doing the unspeakable under their spell.‬‬


They consume and use people up like fire. This is a surprise that I am going on this line of thinking right now.


‪so then you are describing fire‬‬


with the title




‪fire as a narcissist or a narcissistic force‬‬


‪hmmm... I anthropomorphized fire, as I enjoy doing with things. Mr. Chair. Miss Cup. The rich life my paintings have together when I'm not there.‬‬


I so enjoy creating a different realm within which things live. Like they have a different clock and calendar.


A sloth must wonder how and why things move so fast.


fire is a narcissist


are you painting fire?‬‬


or the narcissist?


Fire. Who turned out to be one.‬‬


I use the elements in my paintings. Air and water are usually the subjects.


‪am I looking at fire or what fire seems to be consuming?‬‬


‪the sense of fire, what is being consumed is inconsequential, it may be taking place in a fire place... it probably is actually. It is not a painting about tragedy and loss, but attraction and charisma.‬‬


‪then what I am experiencing are components of fire, the components that make fire so attractive‬‬




without a sign of danger‬‬


you are painting the allure of fire


no present danger... it depends on how close one gets‬‬


yes the unending allure


‪then you are not painting the narcissistic component - that would mean both allure and destruction‬‬


there is no destruction here


‪it is underlying and implicit in the element its self. There is a possibility of destruction.‬‬


‪i was wondering why the dark portion of the painting was facing upward‬‬


and now it makes sense


It makes sense when you look at images of fire as ones' eyes dilate.


In terms of comfortable painting structure it isn't an easy one.‬‬


yes that makes sense too‬‬


‪I often find I must turn my paintings as the color weight makes more sense with gravity.


In my made up painting space land, gravity does exist. ‬‬


‪right that's why i was confused at first


i saw the darkness as heavier and therefore the painting seemed upside down‬‬


Some painter, like Agnes Martin said that she paints the world she would like to have.‬‬


I paint a world that exists in my head, I don't try to get involved too much in it being a paradise/eden. But sometimes it is.


do you feel you are painting the world as you would like it


in this piece?


‬‬No. I think it is more "factual" but also exposes something with my experience with people.


i agree and the more i look at it the more i enjoy it


‪as a representation of fire‬‬


There are specifically zero people in my paintings. No human presence.


‬‬humans have been consumed


As an annoyingly sensitive person I need my alone time as I become consumed in and then by people. It is an introvert thing, evidently.


or is it narcissistic‬‬


My husbands gains energy from people, and I loose it‬‬


to "vant to be alone"?


well.... i still don't see the narcissism component in the painting other than the fact that there is an allure‬‬


and without being over analytical since you named the painting


i wonder if you find narcissist alluring


and that's a personal thing


because i personally don't


‪fire only cares about fire, it dances and flickers and entices only to burn. I have a certain "pattern" of befriending people who have those tendencies.‬‬


‪in that sense, am attracted to fire because fire doesn't have a choice


i think people have a choice


even if it's not apparent


‪People have a choice, once they've been brought to the awareness.


Unfortunately through pain one gets the lessons. But these patterns are deeply written and take it takes a long time to uproot the brain from returning to the beaten path.‬‬


Funny, I find the wearing away of marble, as in an Italian church, to be one of the most incredible things. Thousands of people eventually wore away something so durable as marble just by walking on it.‬‬


what's your point?‬‬


Neural pathways worn in to the brain through repetition and then a physical manifestation of the same thing, both of which I an fascinated it.‬‬


‪right and you are claiming that a certain degree of awareness can break this pattern‬‬


i don't disagree


i just don't know how this awareness is acquired


‪It takes effort to break out. They say that naming something first is the first step, the first task.


And through this, one can have a shorthand of  a word or phrase to avoid the first hoops of experience and go through it all again.‬‬