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Abstraction, Collage, and Colour Theory by Erin O'Brien

A mixed media collage with a central figure of a dogAccompaniment, mixed media collage

Erin O’Brien is an artist based in San Diego, California. In her current artistic practice, Erin uses mixed media to create complex abstracted works that utilize elements of abstraction, collage, and colour theory

A mixed media artwork with red and whiteOvercast, mixed media on canvas


Much of the artist’s portfolio feels like there is an emphasis on exploration -- even in works that are visually heavy, or dark, there’s a sense that Erin is having great fun creating them, and that this lighthearted approach allows her to push into more extreme visual aesthetics. The artist’s mixed media collages present an interesting blend of photographic materials and abstract painting. The artist often creates these works within an artistic journal, which allows for an interplay between works that face each other on either side of the book’s spine. 

A screen capture of Erin O'Brien's art portfolio


There’s a sense, in these mixed media works, that we are seeing the artist react to the visuals that she incorporates into each collage. The abstracted brush marks and planes of texture and colour that surround the occasional cut-out motifs recontextualize these images so that they appear as fragments of a continuous thought process.

A mixed media artwork with neutral tonesBoundaries, mixed media on board

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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