Growing up on the beaches of California, Erik Skoldberg’s laid back surfer style reaches beyond the canvas as his vibrant use of color, interactive installations, and unique layering process offer a one-of-a-kind art experience. Skoldberg may be new to Nashville, but the creative mastermind is certainly not new to the art community as his iconic work is immensely popular in a number of luxury markets around the world. Mentored by his mother, who he credits as his greatest teacher and supporter, Skoldberg’s contemporary style has been embraced by impressive, elite clientele. He has quickly garnered attention and become one of the most highly sought after artists for brand collaborations including notable mentions Adidas, Goodlife, Casamigos, and British Customs for Triumph Motorcycles. We had the opportunity to check out his uber-cool Nashville studio to learn a little bit more about this down-to-earth, talented newcomer. Greeted by an interactive canvas dispensing Casamigos tequila shots (a must-see), we discussed his career, what he loves about the Nashville community, and what is in store next.

Behind the Canvas

TNE: Describe your typical day.

ES: Meditation, coffee with my wife, a run with my golden retriever, Home Depot, and then into the studio. I often break for a workout during the day at BOOTHCAMP. I tend to paint late into the evening unless a friend or client swings by for some Casamigos Tequila…

TNE: What is something most people don’t know about you?

ES: I am a pretty open book.

TNE: Three things on your wish list right now?

ES: An art barn, a Bronco, and unlimited Golden Paints.

TNE: How do you cure a creative block? 

ES: I build a lot of blank canvases and waste a lot of paint!

TNE: What is your golden rule?

ES: Give people the benefit of the doubt.

TNE: Most memorable meal? 

ES: Uni in Croatia.

TNE: What career would you have chosen if you didn’t pursue art?

ES: Finance.

TNE: What is on your current playlist?

ES: Zedd, X Ambassadors, Cole Swindell, and Morgan Wallen.

TNE: Last Netflix Binge or current box set favorite?

ES: Vikings on History Channel.

TNE: What is your pet peeve?

ES: People who do not follow through.

TNE: Where have you traveled that inspired you most?

ES: Croatia, Costa Rica, Fiji, and Bali.

TNE: One invention that would improve your life?

ES: More than 24 hours in a day.

TNE: What do you wear most often in your wardrobe? 

ES: My typical uniform…Vuori black pants and a black t-shirt.  If I am going out, Eleventy Milano. Always Adidas shoes!

A Vibrant Career

TNE: You seem to be an all-around “guy’s guy,” with a love for surfing, golf, and cars. How did you grow to love these things and how do these interests get incorporated and showcased in your work? 

ES: Growing up in San Diego with an artist mother, I was actually doing needlepoint and crafting. However, my dad was a World Champion skateboarder and avid surfer. My dad was very involved with Rusty surfboards- I have surfed as long as I can remember. My dad and I spend a lot of time on our Harleys as well. This is what I have always known. I draw a lot of inspiration from those experiences and how a painting can capture the thrill of so many sports.

TNE: What factors influenced your development in terms of how you arrived at your painting style? 

ES: My mother had a paintbrush in my hand at a young age. She taught the master’s program for Fine Art at SDSU. She was a huge influence in developing my style and embracing my mistakes as “happy little accidents.”

TNE: Who was the first artist that really blew your mind?

ES: Gerhard Richter. I was blown away by his scale and use of color. His pieces are massive.

TNE: Do you have any rituals before creating a piece?

ES: I tend to create best after a workout and meditation. I need complete privacy and a really good playlist. My best work is created late at night and I also feel most inspired when I am left alone to create.

TNE: What is the biggest challenge in your career? 

ES: Having just one me.

TNE: What has been your favorite commissioned piece?

ES:  I recently completed a Kobe Bryant piece, and while it was not commissioned, it was the most emotional piece I have ever created and one that I am incredibly proud of. I feel like I was able to honor him and his spirit through my icon collection.

TNE: What do you do when you need a break from creating art? 

ES: Working out is my medicine. For my daily meditation, I have started practicing the Wim Hof Method.

TNE: What is something you would like to do as an artist but haven’t yet?

ES: I would like to work on more corporate hotel projects with large scale installations across the globe and also create a home line.

TNE: What do you consider your greatest career achievement thus far?

ES: This past year I was the official artist for Adidas Super Bowl LIV.

TNE: It has been said your work is heavily influenced by your own experiences, what is currently inspiring your work?

ES: I have painted everything from motorcycles to sports cars to professional athletes and musicians. I am currently influenced by my surroundings- just driving down Old Hillsboro Road to Leiper’s on a Sunday afternoon has heavily expanded my use of color and scale. More nature around me leads to expanding my use of colors. I grew up on the beach in San Diego and tended to feel safe using blues, while my time in Miami focused on more neon’s- but I now feel myself diving into more earth tones.

TNE: Who are some of your dream collaborators?

ES: PXG, Louis Vuitton, and Richard Mille.

Life in Nashville 

TNE: You and your wife, Kylie recently relocated to Nashville from San Diego. What made you want to relocate?

ES: I started working with the Discovery Land Company on Troubadour and various other projects with the Endeavor group, such as the new 1200 Broadway building. These projects really opened my eyes to the incredible business opportunity in the community. My wife and I fell in love with Nashville on our first visit. Something about the energy here immediately felt like home.

TNE: I know we don’t have an ocean or a beach– how are you and your wife liking life in Nashville? What are your go-to spots and hangouts? 

ES: We have found ourselves eating our way through Nashville. From the country fried steak at Husk to the Kayne Prime sushi roll at Virago. On a Sunday you can find us walking our dogs around McCabe Golf Course or taking the motorcycle out to Leiper’s Fork for lunch at 1892.

TNE: Food in San Diego vs. food in Nashville…What is your verdict? 

ES: San Diego has a lot more clean eating options when we are feeling healthy but the food in Nashville is incredible.

TNE: The best thing (so far) about living in Music City?

ES: The people, hands down.

TNE: What causes/charities are important to you and closest to your heart?

ES: I have always been drawn to children’s charities such as Make a Wish, Autism Speaks, and Best Buddies. My wife and I have recently become involved with Vanderbilt Children’s hospital.

TNE: What is up next? 

ES: Everything. A lot of corporate commissions in the works, notably 1200 Broadway and Troubadour Golf & Field Club who recently opened their downtown lounge at my studio.

Keep up with Erik on Instagram @erikskoldberg or visit his showroom in The Gulch!