Wood-burning artist Eric Swesey's has a way of refurbishing old furniture pieces and parts and bringing them back to life. Be sure to see his unique works at the next San Diego showcase at the Se Hotel on Friday, July 30th!

Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in San Diego, CA, graduate of the prestigious Art Institute with a Bachelor's in Advertising.  

How did you first get started making art? 
I have always been drawing and making stuff for as long as I can remember. 

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Old, I don't know. I like to make stuff look antique, maybe I should start making fake historical documents, there might be more money in it. 

From where do you draw inspiration for your work?
I have found that Kobey's Swap Meet can provide inspiration, I like to go there and look for the craziest ship wrecked looking people selling awesome treasures to burn. Other than that, I get a lot of inspiration at Ponces Restaurant on Adams ave. I have been eating there for 26 years and the restaurant walls are covered in paintings of Mexican women.

What do you love most about what you do?
Most of the stuff I wood burn is either an old piece of furniture or torn off cabinet door, that was on its last limb heading to the trash, so I like being able to refurbish almost dead things. Oh and the chicks are great. 

Do you engage in, or draw inspiration from, any other forms of art?
Really good food, it makes me want to make money so I can eat it more often. 

From start to finish, explain your process; what does a typical art-making day look like for you? 
The tables and furniture I refurbish and burn have years of wear and tear and varnish and stain that has to be sanded off before anything else. So that usually takes along time. I typically have just a theme or idea picked out for a piece, but have no idea what it is going to look like until I am done. I piece them together one at a time. After I have everything burned on, I go in and stain certain areas for the look I am trying to achieve and then put a few coats of varnish to seal the stain and art work. 

Are there any artists or art movements, past or present, that strongly inform and influence your work? 
Tattoo artists like Milford Barnes, Tyler James Densley, Jacek Minkowski and Painters like Mike Maxwell 

Any previous exhibitions/collaborations that you are particularly proud of? 
I used to live in Hawaii for a few years and took some classes at Kapi'Olani community college on Diamond Head, I took an art history class and painted something for an assignment that ended up going in a student galley on campus. It was the ugliest thing in there.

Any accomplishments/goals you hope to achieve as an artist in the future?
To be self employed. 

Favorite thing to do outside of your craft?
Urban camping, surfing and going to other people's BBQ's.