|Eric Straw at ToyTent.com
About the Artist
Eric Strawczynski, known to his friends as "Straw", was born during the period of WWII,
from a father who fought in the war and a very cultured French mother who was a teacher.
A first child born, he can remember this terrible period and probably developed his serious-humorous
way of thinking from that time.
Later he studied law, psychology and economics. He was a teacher and researcher at Poitiers University
in France, during ten (long) years. As a student in the 1970's, he earned a PhD in Political Science in Paris,
and received a Doctoctorate in Economics in 1974.
During this period, he remained devoted to Literature and Arts, well studied in Art History, and always a
subtle humorist. He may have seemed merely a distinguished amateur, but all this time he was quietly creating all sorts of art pieces.
Meanwhile he had a very interesting correspondence with well known creator of "Row Art" (Art Brut in French) Jean Dubuffet.
During the 1970's, after his term as "Doctor in Economics", he left dull University teaching and began to work.
Which is to say that like Jean Dubuffet, he chose to make his work in life the same as his joy. And so he became a
specialist in French antique dolls, recognized for his expert repair of dolls and puppets, and his work as "couturier".
In 1978 Eric introduced The Musiciens, his first collection of string Puppets in terracotta and papier mache.
There were around 30 pieces which sold very fast.
Inspired this he went on to explore new methods and techniques.
By 1983 Eric was creating numerous small sculptures in terracotta and bronze. Intended to reflect a personal history,
they appeared to speak to everyone. Whenever a pursuit seemed really interesting, Eric didn't stop exploring,
sensing something new coming on the horizon.
Beginning in 1984 Eric embarked on a huge satirical collection of more than 100 busts, called the "Comedie Humaine",
named after the French novelist Balzac. They were produced in great number from 1984 to 1990 and shown
at Paris' famous "Atelier d'Art" of the time. He produced busts all during this period, while also beginning to turn his hand to other things.
Following the lead of artist Jean Dubuffet, Eric was inspired to venture into a new field.
In 1988 Eric showed his new work, large shadow boxes, created as kind of tribute to American Joseph Cornell, whose work he
admired. At the same time he created a very original collection called "The Kings" in wood and terracotta. These works were shown only to a few
amateur artists. Starting at this time Eric began to accept commissions for "one of a kind" works only.
Then in 1994, following a difficult period in his private life, Eric showed a collection of black and white photos. The subjects were
mainly dolls, toys and familiar objects he knew so well. But he found he preferred working in structural forms. Curiously, at that time he
began collecting African masks, which was surprising as he had not been a collector before.
Suddenly, after years of creating works in many different media, he fell literally in love with cardboard and discovered his own unique,
original method. And that has lead to a growing collection of masks, in a distinctive style all his own. He named this style "New Tribal Art",
and it is Eric Straw's unique expression of the human being. Eric now continues in this line, extending the process to larger and larger pieces,
with great fun and enjoyment.
Recently meeting Karen and Dan Dozier, a fast friendship developed. Eric is pleased to have them show his work in the USA.
Copyright © ToyTent.com and Eric Strawczynski 2004