Archived Story

Courageous artist has special exhibit at art center

Published 7:40am Sunday, August 26, 2012

Column: Bev Jackson Cotter, Art Is…

I first met Eric Anfinson when my husband was to interview him on “Remember When,” Michael’s radio show. This good looking, young man in a wheelchair rolled toward the studio, and as he approached the narrow door, stated comfortably yet matter-of-factly, that his chair was too wide for the door. With the station staff scrambling to make the program work, Eric was escorted around to another area, another entrance and with minutes to spare, he was in the studio and the show went on as scheduled.

Bev Jackson Cotter

I was so impressed with his composure that day, and my admiration for him has never wavered.

Eric’s life changed instantly when, as a 16-year-old linebacker on the Austin High School varsity team, he tackled the opposing quarterback.

Most of us travel quite a journey trying to find our comfortable place. It may be through family or career or hobby or faith, and for some of us the journey is easy, a dream that we have known since childhood. For others, the trip is harder and covers many twists and turns. Eric’s life took this difficult course.

Almost 20 years have passed since that game, and he has found peace in his Key West, Fla., studio with his paints and canvases. His portraits tell a story, many seem to be a mirror of his own experiences. The viewer is drawn to the emotion in the expressions and eyes of his subjects, and one feels the need to pause and reflect at each canvas.

He was 30 years old when he visited the Louvre in Paris and began to understand the power of art in his own life. Then he states, “a Shaman in New Mexico helped me release my vision of who I believed I was supposed to be.” Inspired by Matisse, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Modigliani and other artists of Expressionism, his work draws the viewer inside, almost a spiritual experience.

Expressionism is described in the sixth edition of “Gardner’s Art Through the Ages” as “the artist’s presentation of his emotional reaction to the subject in the boldest color and strongest linear pattern is more important than any attempts at objective representation.”

Eric has recently published a book of his paintings called “Along the Edges of Beauty.” In it he states, “I believe the omission of art from my early life ultimately created the urgency in me to truly understand how precious time is. My ignorance was a blessing when it came to developing my own style. I painted what I was drawn to, with no heroes or influences. Technique can be taught; vision is another thing altogether.”

The Albert Lea Art Center is thrilled and honored to be able to present Eric’s work at a special exhibit showing this Tuesday through Sept. 15. The opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, and Eric will be there to greet visitors and to sign his books.


Bev Jackson Cotter is a member of the Albert Lea Art Center which presents “The Eric Anfinson Exhibit” Aug. 28 through Sept. 15, “Adventures in the Outdoors — Minnesota Style” through Sept. 22, Karl Haglund’s cityscapes and guitars in the art center’s store Art on Broadway, and the Riverland Community College Private Collection Exhibition at the Northbridge Mall through Sept. 22.