In the digital age we find ourselves glued to our screens, scrolling past the many videos, photos, and graphic arts created with the aid of computers or other technological devices - often forgetting the painstaking traditions of hand crafted arts, such as weaving or embroidery. But, artists from around the world continue to create these handmade labors of love, connecting the past with the present in new and sometimes unexpected ways.
Brooklyn based artist Erin M. Riley is the most notable example of a weaver who connects the traditional weaving methods of times past with her experiences a person raised in the digital age (or “as a queer human who grew up in chat rooms” as she puts it).
Some of her work expresses imagery that many people may find disturbingly personal or compromising - such as masturbation or the tweezing of nipple hairs, as well as woven depictions of pornhub screenshots. Then of course there are her mirror selfies (inclusive of her colorful body art) and still life depictions of items and photos which tell her story - a tribute to personal growth. What we find most interesting from Riley's vast body of work are the sociopolitical commentaries which are portrayed through woven imagery - statements about drug use or alcoholism, police brutality, the gap between classes of people, women's rights, etc.
Her skill as an artist is evident through the details of her work, as is the strength of her convictions and her understanding of the world around her.
To see more of Erin's incredible work check out her instagram page.
All images ©Erin M. Riley.