One to Watch

Erin Tengquist’s underwater portraits allow for reflection

Erin Tengquist views her underwater portraits as reflections of intimate moments and mortality. She enjoys the solitude she shares with her subjects underwater, often in swimming pools around Los Angeles, and is interested in exploring the female experience in this whimsical environment, aided by a play of light, shadow, and digital manipulation techniques.

Erin received a BA and BS in Digital Media from the Brooks Institute of Photography in Ventura, California. She’s exhibited her photographs in the US at galleries and fairs including Hive Gallery, I Love LA Gallery, Black Box Gallery, and Photo LA. Saatchi Art selected her works for our Cross Currents exhibition and California Girls exhibition in conjunction with the Jealous Curator. Erin’s works have also been featured in publications including The Jealous Curator and Unleashed Magazine.

What are the major themes you pursue in your work?

Magical realism juxtaposed with haunting reminders of mortality.

What was the best advice given to you as an artist?  

Always tell yourself you are genius.  Heart open, arms out, follow your intuition, and most importantly listen to yourself!  

Prefer to work with music or in silence?

I love the zen of silence and if you’re gonna play it, better play it loud!

If you could only have one piece of art in your life, what would it be?

Depends on if this is a piece of art that I always travel with, or if it’s in my imaginary mansion. Travel with always art piece: My Journal – it always brings me back to my soul.  My imaginary mansion :  I Thought I Would Find Love.  It’s absolutely stunning.

Who are your favorite writers?

I just finished Sally Mann’s memoir Hold Still and WOW – dare I say she’s just a good of a writer as a photographer.  Tom Robbins, Susan Sontag, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, early expedition sea novels, In Patagonia, Eat Pray Love, Adrienne Rich, Poetry glossaries. I go to the library a lot.  


About the Author

Jessica McQueen is Associate Curator at Saatchi Art. Need help finding art? Contact her via our free Art Advisory service at