Things I Make

Erin Murtha is an artist spun from the vibrant plains of South Dakota. Her work explores collective memory, social behavior, and spectacles of culture through a lens of childlike whimsy. Erin's concepts have been fleshed out in every format from digital to experiential, though she is most well-known for her work with textiles and embroidery, which incorporate distinct, yet familiar subject matter supplemented by evocative colors and patterns. Her pieces have won awards, appeared in galleries around the region, and even found esteem in faraway lands--specifically Denmark.Erin lives in Sioux Falls, SD with her husband, Sean, and her collection of Japanese dolls.

Picture of Erin Murtha , artist, in front of a unicorn backdrop she did not create

Some buttons to press:

Still hanging out? Want to learn more, maybe do a collaboration? Shoot an email over or join erin on social media.FAQ
is your art for children or adults? yes
where can I buy your art? start a conversation through email or on Instagram
did you paint the unicorn? no, it was a lucky fabric find
will you make me a custom piece? Possibly, let’s chat
can I have the thing for free? no
you do a lot of kind of gimmicky stuff. I don’t get it that’s ok
I heard you’re an influencer, is that true? see for yourself

Cake.
Cake, oh my gosh do I love cake. I don't even mean eating it necessarily, but the weight it carries. The celebration, the emotions... birthdays, weddings, graduations, funerals... cakes are a part of a lot of moments in our lives. A lot of big moments. Cake Parade, an art show at Ipso Gallery in downtown Sioux Falls, paired 5 bakers with 5 artists. These pairs came together to inspire each other to create an art piece to go with an edible work of art. For this series, I played with moments in our life when we might eat cake alone, or what it might look like if we did, but really... If you want to learn more, it's a piece/series best talked about - maybe over a tea and a slice of cake.
p.s. The baker I was paired with was the best in the world - my mother, Brenda Murtha. Our art was eerily similar.

Jello.
Like so many folks, I'm absolutely intrigued by 1950s (especially Midwest American) culture. Specifically, I wanted to delve deeper into the fascination with gelatin. Of the various fads and novelty crazes that have swept across America, aspics are possibly my favorite and every aspic has a story to tell.

Textile
My textile works are predominately an exploration into basic household goods and a personal interpretation on American culture. I typically choose fabric to work with so I can readily play on available textures and patterns and I just can't deny that deeper meaning that fabric has in American culture.

Here are some of my experiments in the digital world. These are where you'll probably see me at my most playful. I don't know if a week has ever gone by that I haven't drawn SOMETHING... often on napkins, coasters, post-it notes... A lot of time I get inspiration from these doodle drawlings. Not forgetting what it is like to have that childlike wonder and freedom of expression is important in my own artistic process and I'll typically work through and refine ideas for textile pieces.

Collaborations.
Sean Hartka (my husband and favorite human) and I have had the pleasure of co-creating a few live performance/installations.

Color Study was commentary on the Pantone colors of the year and a subtle hint to gender roles. This was an immersive installation complete with pink treats and blue treats for our guests. As a fun bonus I conducted a short musical social experiment to keep myself engaged. I do not have data on this.

Lucid Dreaming was a surprising and small dreamscape of a cat with big goals and even bigger adventures. When we went out to check out the space, we fell in love with this super boring room that had the most amazing cut out with a light inside and a little string to pull. Sean and I worked out one of our favorite concepts to date.

Again we fell in love with a small space and this time it was a closet. Chatroomwas a 100% independent team vision between Sean and me. We came up with the idea in the exact same moment and we knew we had to do it. Chatroom was an interactive experience hidden in a closet where we engaged in small talk and found (dis)comfort in strangers for a structured 7 minutes of small and big talk. A play off of the chat rooms of ye olden days, social media, IRL conversations, and a nod to the 7 minutes in heaven game of youth. (Haha)
Also, we brought snacks.

The clowns were a desktop project with my favorite sister, Mateya Murtha.
We also have a "band" together.
You haven’t heard the last from us.

Cake.
Cake, oh my gosh do I love cake. I don't even mean eating it necessarily, but the weight it carries. The celebration, the emotions... birthdays, weddings, graduations, funerals... cakes are a part of a lot of moments in our lives. A lot of big moments. Cake Parade, an art show at Ipso Gallery in downtown Sioux Falls, paired 5 bakers with 5 artists. These pairs came together to inspire each other to create an art piece to go with an edible work of art. For this series, I played with moments in our life when we might eat cake alone, or what it might look like if we did, but really... If you want to learn more, it's a piece/series best talked about - maybe over a tea and a slice of cake.

Jello.
Like so many folks, I'm absolutely intrigued by 1950s culture. Specifically, I wanted to delve deeper into the fascination with gelatin. Of the various fads and novelty crazes that have swept across America, aspics are possibly my favorite.

Textile
My textile works are predominately an exploration into basic household goods and a personal interpretation on American culture.

Digital
A play with the digital realm. This are where you'll probably see me at my very most playful. I don't know if a day has ever gone by that I haven't doodled SOMETHING... often on napkins, coasters, post-it notes... Some might say it's my ADD. They might not be wrong, but a lot of time I get inspiration just from my own miscellaneous doodle drawlings (as I like to call them). I think not forgetting what it is like to have that childlike wonder and freedom of expression is super important in my own artistic process and I'll typically work through and refine and polish a bit more for textile pieces.

Collaborations.
Sean Hartka (my husband and favorite human) and I have had the pleasure of co-creating a few live performance/installations.

Lucid Dreaming was a surprising and small dreamscape of a cat with big goals and even bigger adventures. When we went out to check out the space, we fell in love with this super boring room that had the most amazing cut out with a light inside and a little string to pull. Sean and I worked out one of our favorite concepts to date.

The clowns were a desktop project with my sister, Mateya Murtha.
We also have a "band" together.

If you made it here, then it means you made it to the end. If you want to see more, learn more, or just chat... hit me up. :)