Creative Guts

Eric Gold

Episode Summary

In this episode of Creative Guts, co-hosts Laura Harper Lake and Sarah Wrightsman sit down with artist and film editor Eric Gold. Eric explores collective consciousness in populations through the creation of art and community, by coordinating community-created portraits in the US and Canada. His most recent of these projects is Growing Up Portsmouth, a series of community-created portraits of people who are part of Portsmouth’s story from the past 50 years. This collection is on display at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC), in Portsmouth, NH, until April 19th. We discuss in this episode the logistics and spirit of community-created portraits and Eric’s upcoming work with Exeter High School students to create portraits of some local creatives who have worked with students in the past, and been on Creative Guts. Eric shares how he learned even more about Portsmouth’s history through the Growing Up Portsmouth series, his own history with Portsmouth, and how he sometimes feels like a therapist during the community-created paintings. Also, we say “monkey” more times than ever before on the podcast! Learn more about Eric Gold at and on Instagram at Listen to this episode wherever you listen to podcasts or on our website Be friends with us on Facebook at and Instagram at A special thank you to Art Up Front Street Studios and Gallery in Exeter for providing a space where Creative Guts can record! This episode is sponsored in part by the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts. Thank you to our friends in Rochester for their support of the show. If you love listening, consider making a donation to Creative Guts! Our budget is tiny, so donations of any size make a big difference. Learn more about us and make a tax deductible donation at

Episode Notes

In this episode of Creative Guts, co-hosts Laura Harper Lake and Sarah Wrightsman sit down with artist and film editor Eric Gold. Eric explores collective consciousness in populations through the creation of art and community, by coordinating community-created portraits in the US and Canada. His most recent of these projects is Growing Up Portsmouth, a series of community-created portraits of people who are part of Portsmouth’s story from the past 50 years. This collection is on display at the Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC), in Portsmouth, NH, until April 19th.

We discuss in this episode the logistics and spirit of community-created portraits and Eric’s upcoming work with Exeter High School students to create portraits of some local creatives who have worked with students in the past, and been on Creative Guts. Eric shares how he learned even more about Portsmouth’s history through the Growing Up Portsmouth series, his own history with Portsmouth, and how he sometimes feels like a therapist during the community-created paintings. Also, we say “monkey” more times than ever before on the podcast!

Learn more about Eric Gold at and on Instagram at

Listen to this episode wherever you listen to podcasts or on our website Be friends with us on Facebook at and Instagram at

A special thank you to Art Up Front Street Studios and Gallery in Exeter for providing a space where Creative Guts can record! This episode is sponsored in part by the Rochester Museum of Fine Arts. Thank you to our friends in Rochester for their support of the show.

If you love listening, consider making a donation to Creative Guts! Our budget is tiny, so donations of any size make a big difference. Learn more about us and make a tax deductible donation at


Episode Transcription



[0:00:00] LHL: I'm Laura Harper Lake.

[0:00:01] SW: And I'm Sarah Wrightsman.

[0:00:02] LHL & SW: And you're listening to Creative Guts.


[0:00:18] LHL: Hey, friends. Thanks for tuning in to Creative Guts.

[0:00:20] SW: On today's episode, we're talking with community artist, Eric Gold. Eric is going to be working with the students at Exeter High School in a few weeks, and we're lucky enough to join him and the students, but first, we're going to interview him. 

[0:00:32] LHL: Let's get right into this episode of Creative Guts with Eric Gold.


[0:00:40] LHL: Thank you so much for being on the podcast, Eric.

[0:00:42] EG: Thank you.

[0:00:44] SW: Yeah, we're really excited to chat with you today. 

[0:00:48] LHL: So for the listeners that know nothing about you, will you introduce yourself and share your background as a creative?

[0:00:54] EG: Okay. My name is Eric Gold, and I am an artist, and I've become a community artist. I'm also a film editor, TV and film editor.

[0:01:06] SW: Oh, cool. Can you tell us what it means to be a community artist?

[0:01:11] EG: I've developed a process where I open my paintings up to community. I allow people to paint with me on my paintings. It's something that I've developed over the past 10 years or so. Each of my paintings can and are usually made by a hundred different people.

[0:01:27] LHL: That's incredible. Can you tell us a little bit about why, or how that evolved, how that came to be, what motivated you to invite people in to help you paint?

[0:01:35] EG: Sure. I guess, it was about 10 years ago or so, I was working on a film. It was called The Science of the Soul, and it was about consciousness, and it was about the study of consciousness. This is a very complicated subject. Nobody really knows how consciousness works. As an editor, I'm trying to learn as much as I can about the subject. I'm doing a lot of research, and it's very challenging. While I'm doing this, I discovered this theory, this concept called the hundredth monkey theory, a hundredth monkey effect. It's something that happened in the 1950s in Japan. Primatologists there were studying macaque monkeys on this island in the very southern tip of Japan. They wanted to see what would happen if they provided food to the monkeys.

They threw buckets of sweet potatoes on the beach, and the macaques started eating them. One of them started washing them in the water. Then gradually, more and more of these monkeys, she taught other monkeys to do it. More and more over the years, they're categorizing them, they're watching them, and more and more. Then after several years, around a hundred monkeys were washing their potatoes. At that point, there was this shift. Suddenly, the elder monkeys who weren't washing them before, who hadn't learned, started washing them, and the young ones were just automatically washing them. It was like, there was this some kind of shift in consciousness.

This theory was written in the early 60s, I think. It really resonated with me. I thought it was really fascinating, and I wanted to explore it. At the same time, I'd been editing for maybe 10 years, and I hadn't been painting. I painted when I was a kid, but I wanted to get back into that. I decided to explore this idea through painting. I started painting this stuffed animal monkey that I had for my childhood. I would paint a hundred little portraits of this monkey to represent that idea of a hundred monkeys. I did about five or six of those, and they were very colorful and black and white.

[0:03:52] LHL: I'm sorry, does that mean you painted about 600 monkeys?

[0:03:54] EG: 600 little portraits of monkeys. Yeah.

[0:03:57] LHL: Okay. Just want to make sure I understood that. That's amazing.

[0:03:58] EG: Yeah. Actually, I think I painted around a thousand. I did it for a year.

[0:04:03] LHL: Cool.

[0:04:04] EG: At one point, I decided I'm going to do one face and split it into a hundred pieces. What that does is you explode this image and it detaches you from the subject, so you're starting to paint an abstract. It's hard to paint big. But when you take little pieces of that, it's not scary to paint a little piece of a face. I started painting these big faces of monkeys, again, the same monkey, but big images. It was great. I really liked it, so I continued. I did a bunch of monkeys, and then I had a show. Actually, back up. I decided to go to Japan. I flew from Toronto to Tokyo, and I took a train all the way to the southern tip of Japan. It took me a whole day to get from Tokyo to the island, Kojima Island. Took a cab from the train station. It took an hour to get to the beach.

Then I stood there at that beach, and I saw it. It's a national heritage site in Japan. Because of this shift, what happened was this one monkey trained this entire troop of monkeys how to wash their potatoes. It's very fascinating, and it's there. Because a lot of people think this theory is not true, it's pseudoscience. It may be. It may be pseudoscience. But for me, I'm pushing through. I'm interested in this, and I'm going forward. I took a bunch of pictures of monkeys that possibly are the ancestors of that original experiment. Then I came home and I did a series of paintings of those monkeys as well. Then I did a show of those.

Then around that time, there was this honeybee crisis. I wanted to continue in the same style, but I wanted to stop doing monkeys for a while and move on. I started doing bee paintings. I did a series of bees. I had a show. The whole idea was to raise awareness to this crisis, the hive collapsed crisis. Half of the bees were dying every year. It was very scary. It's one of those times when you feel like, there's nothing you can do about it, but I decided I'm going to do this. This is something that I can do, and maybe I can raise awareness.

I did these really intense close-up paintings of bees, and I had an exhibit in Toronto at Evergreen Brick Works. Yeah, a lot of people saw it, and I raised some awareness. It was a success. It's this thing that I've been following this trail and just moving forward with it. Then I decided to do animals, and animals that live in the city. I wanted to bring awareness to our neighbors in the city. Raccoons are very unpopular. I mean, some people really love them, but –

[0:06:47] LHL: My husband calls me one sometimes, and I think it's an adorable nickname.

[0:06:51] EG: I love raccoons. There was a lot of people complaining about raccoons in Toronto, because they made these garbage cans that lock, and they figured out a way to get in them anyway.

[0:07:01] LHL: Crafty.

[0:07:02] EG: People didn't like the raccoons. I was like, okay, I'm going to do a portrait of raccoons. But I had this idea, I'm going to allow the community to paint with me. I'm going to go to this place and let the public paint these little squares. It was great. The first one that I did was families, it was kids. People from Toronto is an incredibly diverse place. People from all over the world really painted. People were sitting together that didn't speak the same language, and were from opposite ends of the world, but they were being supportive. And it was working. It was like a little community of painters going on in these tables. It was really great. I loved it. I kept doing that, and I did a series of those. I did eight or so of those.

Then I continued with the pollinators. I did a series of pollinators for the city of Toronto. They decided they're going to have an official bee, the sweat bee. It's very colorful. They hired me to do these events. It allows people to participate in something. It's not just a pamphlet that says, “Help the bees.” It's like, it's getting people together to think about bees. It becomes a meditation in a way. They were very successful, those events as well.

[0:08:19] SW: Yeah. When people come in paint with you – I'm assuming, you're working in acrylics, which has a pretty low barrier to entry in terms of mediums.

[0:08:26] EG: Oh, yeah.

[0:08:26] SW: Are you teaching, or are you just letting them paint?

[0:08:29] EG: Both. Some people ask. And so, I'm helping people who need help and people who don't, I don't let them alone.

[0:08:37] LHL: Yeah. Is it my understanding, there's a mix of people who would consider themselves artists and a mix of people who maybe don't identify as an artist?

[0:08:44] EG: It's mostly the latter –

[0:08:46] LHL: Mostly that? Yeah.

[0:08:46] EG: Mostly people who don't. Kids all. Every kid identifies as an artist. They go up, and they're ready to go. It's the adults that are usually the difficult ones to coax into doing this.

[0:08:58] SW: Interesting. It's a grid, right? Everybody knows what their little square is supposed to look like, or what it should.

[0:09:03] EG: I give them a little photograph. They have a little piece of photographic paper, and then I give them a little piece of paper to paint on.

[0:09:10] SW: Super cool.

[0:09:11] LHL: Because it's abstracted, is there cases where sometimes someone gets a photograph and they don't even know –

[0:09:16] SW: What it is.

[0:09:16] LHL: Is it a cheek, or is it a chin?

[0:09:18] EG: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. They have no idea. Yeah.

[0:09:20] LHL: Wow. Unless, you get an iris, and then you're like –

[0:09:23] EG: Yeah. Yeah. There's a few that are recognizable, like a nostril, an iris, tooth.

[0:09:27] LHL: Has anyone ever said, “This is not the part I want”?

[0:09:31] EG: Not really.

[0:09:33] LHL: Wow. That is so fascinating. Now, a little bit more that we know about you in relation to the Seacoast area of New Hampshire is Growing Up Portsmouth, a series of this community created portraits of people who are a part of Portsmouth history. Can you share a bit more about how that project came into being, and how, or who decided to paint who?

[0:09:56] EG: Sure. The Growing Up Portsmouth Project, it's a continuation of I'm looking at collective consciousness and community is its collective experience. It's on the same strain. I did a similar series in Kittery several years ago called From Here, and it was about 30 portraits, but I painted them myself. It was meant to be a time capsule of this small Seacoast town. During this transitionary time in Kittery, it was very much a blue-collar town, and it has become a very exclusive place. This series of paintings captures the time, it’s the old garden, it's the new people coming in. That was interesting.

At one point, I decided, I would to do this in Portsmouth, Portsmouth celebrating his 400th anniversary. I grew up in Portsmouth. I grew up in a similar time. It was a time of transition in Portsmouth. When I first moved there, it was a very different place. It was a rougher town.

[0:11:02] LHL: A little more grit.

[0:11:03] EG: Yeah, it was gritty. My mom had a restaurant on State Street, and it was a European-style restaurant. It was pink, and it was a very artistic arts-oriented place. Next door, we had Wally’s, which was a biker bar. It was this incredible contrast.

[0:11:21] LHL: Oh, neat.

[0:11:22] EG: We got along fine. It was fine. It was great. At that time, Portsmouth was a place where you could try things. Rent was cheap. There was tons of artists. There was a lot of people trying businesses out, because you could rent a space for not that much money. I think what Portsmouth became now had to do a lot with what happened back then. All these artists came in, and they created a very special place. I wanted to look at that, look at this time of transition, and celebrate it as well. I was there. I was part of that whole thing. I pick people who I know, or people I knew at that time, except for JerriAnne Boggis, who works with the Black History Trail of New Hampshire.

She I added, because it's such an amazing thing that they're doing. They're actually changing the story of Portsmouth, a story that I didn't know growing up. I used to walk down that street. That is the burying ground. I had no idea. Just, when I saw that, it just blew my mind, and so I wanted to include someone who worked there as well.

[0:12:32] LHL: That's very meaningful.

[0:12:33] SW: It is.

[0:12:34] EG: Yeah. Yeah. I think it's really important what they're doing.

[0:12:37] SW: Absolutely. 

[0:12:38] LHL: Who are some of the names of some of the other folks?

[0:12:40] EG: There's TJ Wheeler, who was a musician; blues musician that used to play at my mother's restaurant in the back. I met him when I was probably 17, 16. He does amazing work. He's a teacher as well. He's traveled around the world giving lectures and workshops. I think he's been seen by a million people. That's very cool. Then there's Penny Brewster, who owns a Ceres Street Bakery.

[0:13:07] LHL: Okay. Yup.

[0:13:08] EG: That's where we used to get our bread at my mother's restaurant. Every time I go in there, it's like going back in time, because she still makes the same bread. I can go in and try it and it's amazing. Who else? Trevor Bartlett, who was a friend, who lived across the street. Very much involved with a lot of things in Portsmouth, with the parade and with the musical. He ran the film program there for many years. And Bruce Pingree, he ran The Press Room for a long time for –

[0:13:36] LHL: Oh, cool.

[0:13:38] EG: - for probably –

[0:13:39] LHL: Saw many shows there.

[0:13:40] EG: 35, 40 years. He's been there forever.

[0:13:43] SW: Were you going to do or have you done Russ?

[0:13:46] EG: Yeah, I did Russ. Russ Grazier. He was somebody, who I had, I think, my first sleepover with. We were neighbors in Portsmouth.

[0:13:53] LHL: Oh, cool.

[0:13:55] EG: We went to school together at Little Harbor School.

[0:13:57] LHL: We interviewed him last year on the show and he's just amazing. I am an avid reader of his blog.

[0:14:03] EG: Oh, yeah?

[0:14:04] LHL: Have you received it?

[0:14:04] EG: I didn't even know he had a blog.

[0:14:06] LHL: Oh, my gosh. Yeah. I get emails every once a week, or something about creativity and it's just mind blowing. It's such a beautiful work.

[0:14:12] EG: He’s very smart. Yeah.

[0:14:14] SW: I noticed, too, that one of these dates has a ‘in the future’. At your reception of this show, at PMAC, you're going to be painting Katie Grazier, who's the other founder of PMAC with Russ, which is –

[0:14:28] LHL: Oh, cool.

[0:14:29] SW: - really cool.

[0:14:30] EG: Actually, on Saturday. Then the day after, yeah.

[0:14:33] LHL: Okay. That's great. The folks that are participating in this are people that are just coming, or do you know who’s – do people have to sign up to be a part of something like this?

[0:14:43] EG: To be part of the events?

[0:14:44] LHL: Mm-hmm.

[0:14:46] EG: No. You just show up. Yeah.

[0:14:47] LHL: Neat. It's very cool. Wow.

[0:14:51] SW: You must overhear some really great, or wholesome, or interactions of people who are either meeting for the first time, or people who are just sitting together and painting together?

[0:15:00] EG: I've had some incredible conversations with people. Yes, I've overheard things. But in Toronto, I've had people come up to me and they're crying, because they haven't done this kind of thing since they were kids. It's just hit them in a really powerful way. Reconnecting with that time in their life, for whatever reason. I've had many people come up to me and say that they're going to get art supplies and they want to start making this part of their life.

[0:15:26] LHL: Oh. Love to hear that.

[0:15:28] SW: That makes Creative Guts very happy to hear.

[0:15:30] LHL: I'm curious. Is there ever any discourse that gets, I don't want to say confrontational, but that isn't so pleasant? Is there ever any challenges that arise with maybe people who have different points of view, or is it always just chill?

[0:15:44] EG: I've never had anything like that. No.

[0:15:45] LHL: That's really great.

[0:15:46] EG: I feel like, sometimes I become a therapist to some people who've had traumatic events in their life and this –

[0:15:53] LHL: Helps unlock.

[0:15:54] EG: Yeah. It brings stuff up. Got to be there for them.

[0:15:58] LHL: Oh, I understand that. That's amazing. What a great opportunity to get more people involved in art and then to be more aware of other people that made their community great, or a worthy cause, such as a lot of the animal series you've done.

[0:16:13] EG: Yeah. It was interesting, also, to make the jump from animals to human faces.

[0:16:17] SW: I bet.

[0:16:18] EG: Because it's much more challenging. I didn't think it could be done, really. If the eye is off just a little bit, then it's just, you know.

[0:16:27] LHL: Yeah. You're steering the ship. There's all these crew doing all these bits and everything. What happens when some stuff doesn't line up and – are you assembling all the pieces with everyone there still, or is that after?

[0:16:41] EG: I assembled the grid as their painting and then I glue it myself later.

[0:16:45] SW: Nice. Cool. Cool. How long have you been painting?

[0:16:49] EG: I've been painting since I was in high school. Yeah. So, like 40 years.

[0:16:56] LHL: Do you ever do solo stuff on your own? Yeah.

[0:16:59] EG: Yeah. Yeah. I do my own work as well. This is my work, but I do just personal work as well. This community stuff, the community work that I'm doing, it is part of the art for me. This is very much a part of that work. It's not just the painting.

[0:17:16] LHL: Right. It's not the product necessarily. It's almost temporal art, like in this just one moment in time with this recipe of people.

[0:17:23] EG: Yeah. It's very special.

[0:17:25] SW: What do you do with all the paintings?

[0:17:26] EG: Well, I have some of them and I've sold some of them. I have a collector who has a lot of them. But, yeah.

[0:17:35] LHL: One of the ways that we got connected with you is through Exeter High School, because they're going to be doing this with a lot of their high school students, which they're going to be doing – hi, kids who are listening, because you'll be doing this in a few weeks after this releases. I'm curious to know more about the difference between the youth that you've worked with, versus adults. It sounds like, kids dive right in. Are teenagers are a little bit in between that mix, or are they leaning one way?

[0:18:05] EG: I think high school kids are ready to do this and take it seriously. That's my experience. Junior high was iffy. Little kids are super into it, but it's not always a great painting, so that's challenging. Yeah. I mean, the nice thing about this is there's lots of different skill requirements for different pieces. Some of them are super easy. Just one color. Or some of them are an eye. I had a young student, a high school student this summer who painted one of the eyes in the show, and she spent an hour and a half painting this eye and it is beautiful. She did an incredible job.

[0:18:49] SW: That's amazing.

[0:18:50] LHL: That's so cool.

[0:18:51] SW: I feel like, what we know about these kids, some of them will be really into it.

[0:18:56] LHL: Oh, yeah. Right? Yeah.

[0:18:58] EG: Actually, the painting I did of JerriAnne Boggis, I did with a group of a hundred students from across the Seacoast and I gave a lecture and I told them about the history of my work, and then and I played a short film for them about her, that I interviewed her and I made a short film about what she does and the kids were super inspired by that. The painting was really beautiful. I feel like, they were painting with intention. The special thing about it was that it was a hundred kids at once. There's something very special about that, like this whole room and the energy and this, I don't know, it's different than this trickle list like, 10 people at a time. It's a different experience, and I think it makes for better work. Yeah.

[0:19:42] LHL: How long does one take? How long is a session of a hundred people working on these paintings together?

[0:19:47] EG: We did that one, I think it was an hour and a half.

[0:19:51] LHL: Oh, nice.

[0:19:52] EG: Otherwise, they can take a whole, or day two days sometimes.

[0:19:56] SW: Yeah. What happens if the event is over and it's not done yet? Do you have to go and just finish it?

[0:20:02] EG: Yeah. Or I’d get other people to help finish it.

[0:20:06] SW: I'm wondering, Laura, do you think that we should tell our listeners who the kids are painting at Exeter High School, or should we leave it a surprise?

[0:20:13] LHL: Ooh. Let's tell them.

[0:20:16] SW: Do you want to tell us who you're painting on April 17th and 18th with the students?

[0:20:21] EG: Well, I'm not sure who's first, or who's second, but the two musicians, Jon Nolan and Lindsay Garfield, are going to be in one painting, which is something that I've never done before.

[0:20:31] SW: Oh, cool.

[0:20:32] EG: Then Diannely Antigua, the Portsmouth Poet Laureate. Yeah. She's going to be one of the paintings. Then, I believe they're doing Gandhi.

[0:20:42] SW: Oh, cool.

[0:20:43] LHL: Oh, neat.

[0:20:44] EG: And Nelson Mandela, I believe.

[0:20:46] LHL: Very cool.

[0:20:47] EG: It's a very interesting mix.

[0:20:50] SW: Yeah. Some local figures and –

[0:20:52] EG: Some international. Yeah. Yeah, it's exciting. I think, I'm hoping that they had a good experience working with those other people and that they'll be invested in making these paintings.

[0:21:03] LHL: Yeah. Folks, if you have not listened to our interviews with the three creatives that we just mentioned, you should and then listen to this and it all folds together.

[0:21:13] EG: Yeah. They were fantastic, and the ones that I met. Great.

[0:21:18] LHL: Do you have a favorable, or big memory of a moment at a community created portrait event? Maybe one that stands out in particular, or that you always refer back to?

[0:21:32] EG: Yeah. Well, I think I told you. One of them was that that really touching moment where this woman came up to me and was in tears, and she just asked if she could just paint and not necessarily paint what was on my card. I just said, “Sure. Do whatever you need to do.” It's moments like that. I had a moment in the Growing Up Portsmouth program. I was working, it was right after the pandemic. It's very much on people's minds and there was a woman there who was a nurse and she had been through this really brutal couple of years.

[0:22:03] SW: Oh, yeah.

[0:22:04] EG: She came up to me and said, “Thank you. I haven't felt this kind of community experience in so long.” It meant a lot to her. That was very touching as well. That painting we did of JerriAnne was a huge one for me, because I've been going down this path of shared consciousness. For me, that was a success. That really worked. It was a 100 people painting at once and with intention and I feel like, we may have created a shift with that whole experience for some of those kids. Yeah. That's exciting.

[0:22:41] LHL:  Very powerful stuff.

[0:22:42] EG: Yeah. It was. Yeah. It's incredible. I did a similar project. I don't know how much time you want to hear me go on, but I did a project for the CBC, which is public TV in Canada.

[0:22:53] LHL: Okay. Yeah.

[0:22:54] EG: They wanted to promote inclusion in their organization. They talked to me about doing a series of paintings about people who came from underrepresented communities, about inclusion. I did eight paintings with 800 people.

[0:23:11] LHL: Wow.

[0:23:12] EG: Yeah. Flew across Canada and Yellowknife and Toronto and Montreal and Vancouver and all these little offices in the middle of nowhere. Got to be involved as well. Then we did a show. That was in a bunch of offices. That was another big moment for me.

[0:23:28] LHL: Very neat. 

[0:23:30] SW: That was so cool.

[0:23:32] EG: Yeah. It was cool. 

[0:23:33] LHL: You've mentioned film a bit, because you're – I'm going to shift gears here, because we're actually right now planning a film festival for Creative Guts.

[0:23:40] SW: Yes, we are.

[0:23:41] LHL: Up in Concord, New Hampshire at Red River Theatre. Deadline is April 30th, folks. I'd love to know more about your involvement as an editor in film.

[0:23:50] EG: Well, yeah. I started right out of university, and I lived in New York and LA and Toronto and I lived in London for a little while, working mostly on TV shows. I did things like, Intervention. You've heard of that?

[0:24:03] LHL: Yeah. Yeah.

[0:24:06] EG: Last year I finished a show called How I Got Here. It's a show about immigrants who have moved to North America and then bring their children back to where they came from.

[0:24:17] LHL: Oh, wow.

[0:24:18] EG: It's a very powerful, very touching show, because a lot of it was because of unrest. They escaped, like Cold War thing, or wars, or lots of unpleasant reasons. It's a very, very powerful show. As an editor, you're sitting in a room, in a dark room usually, and for months, listening to these really powerful stories. It takes a lot out of you. It's a very challenging thing, but it's very rewarding. It's like sculpture in my mind.

[0:24:48] LHL: Interesting.

[0:24:47] EG: You get hundreds of hours of material and then you sculpt it into a one-hour piece.

[0:24:55] LHL: Editing can make such a big difference. I think, I saw once there was a competition where a group of editors each get the same footage. Have you heard of this? They have to edit –

[0:25:06] EG: It's a great idea. Yeah.

[0:25:08] SW: I've seen this on TikTok.

[0:25:09] LHL: Yeah. Something like that.

[0:25:10] SW: Old photos.

[0:25:12] LHL: It's just so interesting, I think, because I think people don't understand all the elements of what it takes to put something, that kind of media together. Editing is just a huge component.

[0:25:23] EG: It really is. Yeah. The shows come together, especially documentary shows, they come together in the edit room. Absolutely. We do a lot more than – people did probably 30, 40, 50 years ago. We were in charge of sound effects and music and all that stuff, too. Mixing. It's a lot of work. It's exhausting. It was fun.

[0:25:44] SW: Was film editing your first love when you were deciding what you wanted to do when you grew up? Is that where you went first?

[0:25:50] EG: No. You know what? I knew that I wanted to go into film. I took classes, actually, at the museum school in Boston, and I took an editing class. I thought at the time, I wanted to be a cinematographer, but I was much better at editing, and I really enjoyed it. Film editing as well. It was really fun.

[0:26:07] LHL: Have you ever been in front of the lens? An actor?

[0:26:12] EG: No. Well, yeah, in school. But, yeah. Not really. Yeah.

[0:26:15] LHL: I like making short films just for fun, for myself, but I don't love being in front of the camera as much. Yes, I know some people that – we were just talking about a photographer, Lindsey McDougall, who is this brilliant photographer, and she's her own model, and a lot of folks do that just as a resource. I think it adds another layer, but it's also something that not everyone feels comfortable doing.

[0:26:37] EG: Yeah. I think, I've been a very shy person most of my life, and just doing this right now would have been very challenging for me maybe 20 years ago, but I've worked through some things.

[0:26:50] LHL: I understand that. We have to speak publicly, and we do these live interviews, especially in front of these high school students. Every time, I'm so nervous. I have wicked stage fright. Kids can be scary.

[0:27:02] SW: Yeah. I mean, high schoolers are – maybe middle schoolers are really scary, but high schoolers are kind of scary, too. But you're also wonderful. Thank you for listening to us, children.

[0:27:11] LHL: Yes, you are. You're the best. How do you define success as an artist?

[0:27:18] EG: Success, I think for me personally, I think, if I'm continuing to grow and that I'm happy doing what I'm doing, or anything else.

[0:27:28] LHL: Those are great things.

[0:27:30] EG: Yeah. I mean, it's not really – it's not about the money for me. I don't expect to make a living doing this, necessarily. I'm making more and more of a year. But the work that I'm doing is not really the work that shows at a gallery in New York, necessarily. It's not the business of art kind of.

[0:27:47] SW: It's not the commercial kind of, yeah.

[0:27:50] EG: Yeah. That's not really. What I've found is that there's a lot of people who want to do what I'm doing. I may be able to make a living being a community artist. I don't know. We'll see.

[0:27:59] LHL: I love that.

[0:28:00] EG: Yeah. I did the high school thing a couple of years ago, I’d say, last year and I've had three jobs come from that experience.

[0:28:09] SW: That's incredible. Yeah.

[0:28:10] LHL: Yeah. I mean, it must be a lot of word-of-mouth, people hear about you and invite you into their organization, or their school, or whatever.

[0:28:19] EG: Yeah. It's a profound experience. I think it's one that people should have in their lives. I think, yeah, a lot of people would benefit from this.

[0:28:27] SW: I feel really grateful that we get to be there and we get to witness it.

[0:28:30] LHL: I know. I know. I'm excited.

[0:28:32] SW: Yeah. Maybe they'll let us paint.

[0:28:35] LHL: I would love to.

[0:28:37] SW: I would like an easy square.

[0:28:39] LHL: Do you ever get quote unquote professional artists who are very perfectionists, or nitpicky? Because my first thought was, I'm going to be too precious with it.

[0:28:47] EG: Yeah. I have. I've gotten some professional artists, and some of them are really great. Then some of them –

[0:28:55] LHL: Are terrible.

[0:28:55] EG: Well, they take on some really challenging things. They’re like, “I'm a professional artist. I'll do this.” Then, they can't really do it. It's funny.

[0:29:06] LHL: It's so different to just do a tiny little centimeter of someone's cheekbone, or something.

[0:29:10] EG: Yeah, it’s different.

[0:29:11] SW: I imagine when all the squares get together, that none of the individual squares, like if it's the best one, or the worst one, that's not going to be what people notice.

[0:29:20] EG: No. No, it all becomes one piece.

[0:29:23] LHL: Do you always guide, or ask folks to try to paint it realistically? Or do you ever get some Picasso's in there?

[0:29:31] EG: I do. I never tell people to paint realistically. It's their interpretation of what they see. I mean, hopefully, it's a semblance, because I have to honor the subject as well.

[0:29:43] LHL: Somewhat representational, yeah.

[0:29:46] EG: Well, just, yeah, I want them to look good.

[0:29:49] SW: No. It'd be annoying if you got a portrait and there's some black hair, and somebody's like, “I'm going to draw a green alien in my black hair square.”

[0:29:56] EG: I've had those. I did a portrait of a raccoon and there was this little kid who drew a picture of himself under a tree with a sun and a bird, I think. I put it in. It's in that painting. No, it’s the beaver painting. Yeah. It looks great. You don't see it.

[0:30:16] SW: So cute.

[0:30:17] EG: But it's there.

[0:30:19] LHL: Oh, I love it. That's so great.

[0:30:20] SW: Scanning your website to see if I can find it.

[0:30:23] EG: They would be harder if it was someone's forehead.

[0:30:26] LHL: Right. Yeah.

[0:30:27] EG: But an animal’s face, it’s easier with the fur.

[0:30:29] LHL: Well, after students listen to this, it'll be really interesting to see what they do.

[0:30:32] EG: See what they do. Yeah. Absolutely.

[0:30:36] LHL: Oh, gosh. Well, I think it's time to now shift into our rapid-fire questions, which are quick questions, hopefully, with quick answers, which we, of course, edit. Don't feel pressured and there's no buzzer, or anything.

[0:30:50] EG: Okay, good.

[0:30:52] SW: What other artists has influenced you the most?

[0:30:54] EG: For my own personal work, I really liked the expressionist painters, like Edvard Munch. There is a painter in Portsmouth that I loved as a childhood and I still do. His name is Flynn Donovan, and his son Peter Donovan are excellent painters. Amazing. I'm inspired by their work. I take inspiration from everywhere. I'm not someone who has a specific painter that I love and I follow. A lot of people have asked me if I am inspired by Chuck Close, because my paintings are grids. I actually met – I met Chuck Close when I was younger. He’s a friend of my uncle. I do. I like his work, too. Yeah, it wasn't really the inspiration of my own work.

[0:31:32] SW: Are you familiar with Rick Fox?

[0:31:35] EG: No.

[0:31:35] SW: He's near you. I feel like, he's in Keri Point, or very nearby. He's a painter. His work is not squares necessarily, but it is very square, because of his method, his brush method, his brush strokes are very – they have edges. Your work doesn't necessarily remind me of his, but it definitely has some similarities, some same essence.

[0:31:56] EG: There's a pixelated quality.

[0:31:58] LHL: Yeah. It is a painting, I think, sometimes with the palette knife. It almost has an ensemble-age feel somehow and with somewhat muted colors. Yeah. I could see that.

[0:32:11] SW: You two should meet.

[0:32:12] EG: Yeah. Yeah.

[0:32:13] SW: We'll set that up.

[0:32:14] EG: That'd be great. I love the palette knife, too. I used to paint when I was young, I painted exclusively with a palette knife.

[0:32:20] SW: Really?

[0:32:21] EG: Yeah. It’s very expressive.

[0:32:21] LHL: I find that so difficult. I've tried to experiment with it and it just hasn't –

[0:32:25] EG: It's very hard to do with oil paint. With acrylic, it's a little easier, because it dries fast.

[0:32:32] LHL: Yeah. That makes sense.

[0:32:33] EG: Be a giant mess.

[0:32:35] LHL: What's your favorite comfy spot to hang out at in Portsmouth?

[0:32:40] EG: In Portsmouth. You know what? It's not really comfy, but I used to – I like to go down by the fairy landing and look at the tugboats. That's the place that I've gone back to since my youth. I used to go get ice cream and go sit in that area.

[0:32:55] SW: Very cool.

[0:32:56] LHL: I love the tugboats.

[0:32:57] SW: What's your favorite color?

[0:32:58] EG: Orange, definitely.

[0:33:00] LHL: Favorite scent.

[0:33:02] EG: Favorite scent. Lilac.

[0:33:04] LHL: Nice.

[0:33:05] SW: Favorite sound? 

[0:33:06] EG: I love the sound of the ocean. I love the sound of the waves hitting the sand. That's what brings me back to these parts. It's that sound. It's that like, going to a gunkwit and just hearing that sound and looking out at the ocean. It's grounding for me. It's like, I walk into the ocean and it feels like home. Yeah, that's probably it.

[0:33:30] LHL: What's your favorite texture to touch?

[0:33:33] EG: My favorite texture?

[0:33:35] SW: See, we're really stumping you now.

[0:33:37] EG: I didn't realize, this one is going to be so challenging.

[0:33:41] LHL: They don't have to be your forever answers. You can have a different ones later.

[0:33:46] EG: I really like velvet texture. Yeah.

[0:33:50] LHL: Velvet's really good.

[0:33:51] SW: Where is the most inspiring location you've traveled to?

[0:33:54] EG: I think Japan.

[0:33:55] SW: I had a feeling.

[0:33:58] EG: I was incredibly inspired by Japan. I've gone twice now. But just from an aesthetic point of view, it's so designed and the sidewalks and the grates around the trees and the sidewalks are so beautiful. Everything's so thoughtful. I went to a park and there was a tree that a branch was starting to break. Instead of chopping it off, they had bolstered it with wood and I couldn't believe it. They tied it up and they were – it was like, the tree broke its arm, we're going to put it in a cast.

[0:34:30] SW: Right. We're not going to amputate.

[0:34:32] EG: We're not going to cut it off. I feel like, it is a consciousness shift. It's a higher level of consciousness that we're really thinking about all this stuff. Yeah. I was incredibly inspired by that.

[0:34:46] LHL: Oof. That's awesome.

[0:34:47] SW: What's the last new thing you've learned?

[0:34:50] EG: During the pandemic, I picked up the guitar. I mean, I wouldn't say that I've learned it, but I know a few songs and I know a bunch of chords. My dad played guitar when I was a kid. He was a street musician and I used to sit out with him. I was very young. I was like, four-years-old or so, four or five. I would sit with hat and he would play guitar and people would throw money in the hat. It's a very fond memory. And so, I wanted to learn some of the songs that he used to play when he still plays, but I think that he played.

[0:35:21] LHL: I love it.

[0:35:22] SW: Oh, it's so sweet. This is our closing question. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your younger self?

[0:35:29] EG: It's funny. I was thinking about that today. I didn't realize that you could have an art career, until I was in my very final days of high school. I wish that I could go back in time and tell myself to pursue arts more aggressively during those years, because, yeah, it was a waste of time for me, otherwise, and music and arts, creative stuff. Yeah, it wasn't really pushed. I feel like, it's still within so much.

[0:35:59] SW: Yup, agree.

[0:36:01] LHL: Yes. Yeah. That can be rough. 

[0:36:01] SW: Thank you so much, Eric, for joining us.

[0:36:06] EG: Thank you.

[0:36:06] LHL: It was fascinating to hear about the process and it's doubly awesome for Sarah and I, because we're going to be able to witness it very soon.

[0:36:14] SW: Don't worry, listeners. We'll post lots of pictures.

[0:36:15] LHL: Do you film? Sorry, I'm asking more interview questions, but do you film the process ever?

[0:36:21] EG: I have. That's actually an interesting thing about the Growing Up Portsmouth project is that I interviewed every person.

[0:36:30] LHL: Oh, neat.

[0:36:31] EG: I've incorporated that and I feel like, my experience with the JerriAnne portrait, the narrative, the story of the subjects is really powerful and it helps elevate the whole experience for everybody. Yeah. I have audio clips on my website from all the people that I painted as well. This is the first time I've really used my skills as an editor and as filmmaker as part of my art process, my creative process.

[0:36:57] SW: I love that integration.

[0:36:58] LHL: Really cool. Yeah.

[0:36:59] SW: It's awesome. Also, a big advantage, because I feel like, that's the kind of skill that a lot of artists wish that they had, like editing, or filming, or whatever.

[0:37:07] EG: Yeah. I'm good at that. I'm not good at everything. I'm not good at social media stuff, that kind of thing.

[0:37:13] SW: That’s fair.

[0:37:15] EG: Yeah. I've got a few good things.

[0:37:16] SW: Oh, that's great.

[0:37:17] LHL: Awesome. Well, thank you again so much for being on the show.

[0:37:22] EG: Thank you.

[0:37:23] LHL: With that –

[0:37:24] EVERYONE: – show us your creative guts.


[0:37:30] LHL: Another huge thank you to Eric Gold for joining us on Creative Guts.

[0:37:37] SW: I feel like, we're so lucky that we're going to get to watch and observe his process and watch the Exeter High School kids get in there and do it. I think they're really going to like it.

[0:37:47] LHL: Yeah. I think the magic of it is the ‘in the moment’ is what he was saying. I feel like, that's why I'm interested to see a film of it. Then I'm like, “Oh, wait. I get to go see it.” I think that is so interesting that he has thought this out. It came from such a thoughtful place and then he thought it out very generously and with the higher purpose of the connecting of communities. It's not about the product. I mean, he has a product after. Yes. But it's really not about that for him, nor the people that are involved in it. I think that's what's beautiful about it.

[0:38:23] SW: I know. It's so cool. I can only imagine, like he told us about a couple, the like, hundreds of wholesome little moments of watching people, especially people who haven't painted in a long time, get to just paint their little square and contribute to this painting that really comes together in the end.

[0:38:39] LHL: To think of all the people from different backgrounds, different ages, different political beliefs, whatever it may be, but they're painting bumblebees, or people, or raccoons, or whatever it may be and there's just something so lovely in bringing it down to a level where we're all humans and we're all – let's work together on a project. That's a great stepping stone. That's a great starting place for seeing those members in your community that maybe you had differences with. You worked together on something. Now, maybe you'll be more open to talking to them about other things.

[0:39:15] SW: Yeah. I'm sure these people that are featured in this Portsmouth exhibition, if somebody told me that they were painting a painting of my face, I would be beyond flattered.

[0:39:25] LHL: I'd be terrified. You want an enlarged photo of me? I know. I actually, I forgot to ask that. I was going to ask, folks have to give permission, I would presume.

[0:39:36] SW: Oh, we should have asked them that. At the bare minimum, they must all know –

[0:39:40] LHL: I would think so.

[0:39:41] SW: – that they're in this show.

[0:39:41] LHL: Yes, I would imagine.

[0:39:43] SW: What if you didn't know and you just saw it?

[0:39:47] LHL: I mean, because you don't get a public figure’s permission. Ooh.

[0:39:51] SW: Right. I know.

[0:39:53] LHL: You know what? So lucky that we get to see him again in a few weeks, because we will be asking him this and maybe we'll include that in our follow-up episode. That's just really something to consider.

[0:40:04] SW: Yes. And if local folks, so this show that we're talking about is called Growing Up Portsmouth. If local folks want to see it, you will have, by the time this comes out, you'll have missed the art talk and the reception, but the exhibit is open at Portsmouth Music and Arts Center AKA PMAC, until April 19th. You have a little bit of time.

[0:40:22] LHL: Perfect. Go see it. It's going to be so incredible.

[0:40:25] SW: You'll see Russ Grazier, who we interviewed on the show. You'll see his portrait in it, which is really cool.

[0:40:32] LHL: Yeah. Definitely go check out Russ's blog. I know, I mentioned it in passing, but it really is just the most heartwarming, fantastic creative stuff.

[0:40:43] SW: It is.

[0:40:43] LHL: If you believe in creativity, Russ is speaking the truth.

[0:40:47] SW: It is. I read it every Friday. It's great. Yeah. This was really awesome. Our listeners will get a part two, because we're going to interview the students and talk to them about their experience and the whole thing's just going to be really cool. We're super excited.

[0:41:00] LHL: Yeah. It might be interesting for people to listen to it back-to-back. I wonder if some people will do that.

[0:41:06] SW: Yes, they should.

[0:41:06] LHL: That'll be cool.

[0:41:07] SW: If you want to check out Eric's work, you can find him on the web,

[0:41:12] LHL: As always, you can find that link and more in the episode description and on our website, You will find us on Facebook and Instagram, where our handle is @CreativeGutsPodcast.

[0:41:23] SW: This episode is brought to you by our friends at Exeter High School. We'll be back at Exeter High School talking with students in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned for a special episode featuring the students themselves.

[0:41:33] LHL: And a huge thank you to Art Up Front Street for providing a space where Creative Guts can record in.

[0:41:40] SW: If you love listening and want to support Creative Guts, you can make a donation, leave a review, interact with our content on social media, come to our programming, purchase some merch, whatever you're able to do, we appreciate you.

[0:41:50] LHL: Thank you for tuning in. We'll be back next Wednesday with another episode of Creative Guts.

[0:41:55] SW: Woohoo.