The Chicago Artist Who’s Inspired By Landscapes As Seen From Above


Abstract painting with layers and squares in a palette of red, yellow, black and white

Abstract artist Erin Kaya is a prime example of why a creative pursuit, as hard as it may be, is worth pursuing if it’s your passion. Kaya started working in fashion retail and painting as a hobby, but slowly her art gained attention. It started with paintings in window displays at boutiques like Cynthia Rowley and grew to representation by gallerists like Thomas Masters. Today she works full time as an artist and sells her paintings through designers, galleries, Instagram and art consultants.

What’s your technique? I paint with acrylics and my style, which I describe as abstract expressionism, has always had squares. Some of my paintings have over 50 layers, and I use a technique where I flip the painting, so the paint drips in different directions. It’s a challenge with some of my larger commissions!

Where do you turn for inspiration? I love travel and I love culture. Everywhere I go, there are colors that reflect a country or the outdoors. I’m also inspired by flying and looking out the window at the ground and seeing squares of earth below. When you look at my work, I want you to relax and let your mind go someplace else. Maybe one piece takes you to Turkey or the beach; in another work, you may see a cityscape.

Any other big news? I’m working with a company called Area Environments that turns art into custom wallpaper. They commissioned four different paintings, all of which use metallics. It’s really exciting to see my pieces become wallcoverings.