Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Faraway Places Influence Artist's Unique Vision; the Middleburg Native Is Pursuing Studies about Her Tribal Ancestors

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Faraway Places Influence Artist's Unique Vision; the Middleburg Native Is Pursuing Studies about Her Tribal Ancestors

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY MARAGHY

Professional artist Erin Langley, who grew up in Middleburg, is so deep and different that she moved to the other side of the country to find others like herself.

Today the 1998 graduate of St. Johns Country Day School is working on a master's degree in Indigenous Mind, an anti-institutional program at Naropa University in Colorado, designed to help Westerners reconnect with their tribal ancestors' way of life.

It relates to connecting with nature, she said.

"Seeing myself in nature helps me see more clearly in general. Seeing clearly and rendering what I see is the key to good art," she said.

The title of her thesis is "Reinstating the role of community dreaming using traditional protocol and open source technology, a persuasive essay calling society to return to ancient practices of sharing their dreams and piecing them together to see whether or not a culture is balanced."

Told you she's deep.

Her parents knew this when she was a toddler making three-dimensional pop-up greeting cards and when she explained that she signed her name twice on her Noah's Ark painting because the animals entered two by two.

"I couldn't believe how she got her mind around it. I don't know how her mind works," said her mother, Judy Langley, who said she adores her daughter's artwork. "Her work is life-changing. I get most of it. Some people get it. Others don't."

Langley visited her parents' home in Middleburg recently after a three-month ancestral journey to Ireland to research her Celtic culture.

Celtic people, she said, were astronomers who devised amazing calendars. They were great craftsmen and warriors, fierce, brave and hot-headed, she said.

"I learned that I have a home and it is Ireland. It was a feeling as soon as I got off the plane," she said. "I felt like my bones were of the place."

While in Ireland, the owners of the hostel she stayed in hired her to paint a mural on a lodge wall. The map of historic places she painted was featured recently in the Drogheda Independent newspaper in County Meath.

Langley works as a commissioned artist in San Francisco, having trained under muralist Lynne Rutter, who was recently paid $35,000 to paint a powder room. …

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