5 minute read

Gone Country

Artist Erik Skoldberg continues to take Nashville and the art world by storm from his new country compound

Written by Melissa Mahanes / Photos by Danielle Del Valle

Many of you have heard about artist Erik Skoldberg and seen his former bespoke studio in The Gulch, where he hosted some of the best parties Nashville has ever seen. With Skoldberg, his art is the party. He has hosted elite athletes, musicians, and real estate moguls in the unexpected setting, offering tequila shots from his interactive paintings and hosting ping pong matches on his resin art table. Skoldberg knew he ultimately wanted the room to flex his creativity and some open spaces for his young family. With his wife, Kylie, pregnant with their second child, country life called their name. They just needed to find the perfect property to bring Erik’s vision to life. The answer was twelve bucolic acres on the Harpeth River in Kingston Springs, and “Camp Skoldberg” was born.

Every element of the property brings another unexpected experience. Upon arrival at the property, you are greeted by a champagne yurt inspired by the Veuve Clicquot Après Lounge at Montage Deer Valley. This was a must as Kylie is a loyal champagne drinker. Jump in his mule, covered in sheepskins, and visit the future site of Skoldberg’s luxury art barn under construction—a 5,000 square foot mix of showroom space, studio, and guest house for collectors looking to stay, and friends who won’t want to leave.

Their principal residence is centered on the property, and if you are lucky, you may meet their sons, one-year-old Max and new baby Oliver, everything with Erik centers around his young family. Beyond the pool is his current working studio, which will eventually become the car barn with all things motorcycle, a boat for the river, endless kayaks, and his Bronco.

While clearing the property, Skoldberg saw natural elements that many would have overlooked. An abandoned bus was among the many things hidden in his woods, and instead of hauling it away, he saw the potential for a tiki bar with a roof deck overlooking the river. When cutting down trees, he noticed a perfect circle that just had to surround the perfect bonfire.

You will have a chance to see Erik’s art featured at Steeplechase this year in the Sophisticated Living and Gus Mayer tent. Skoldberg loves the races and was the official artist for Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in 2014, where he met Kylie. Skoldberg, originally from San Diego, began painting with his mother, a production potter, muralist, and teacher. Growing up surfing on the La Jolla shores, much of his work is centered around the ocean and movement. He focuses on large-scale abstract work on both canvas and linen. His massive pieces have garnered the attention of real estate developers for office lobbies, hoteliers, and even DJ and record producer Zedd. When entering an office lobby, hotel, or the ultimate Beverly Hills home, his work makes a statement. He has painted works as large as 20x20 feet and has plans to go even bigger!

Erik is quite the collaborator. He has created custom shoes for Zedd featuring an array of neon and even glow-in-the-dark paint that could be seen from any seat in the nightclub or arena. Perfumier Erwin Creed appreciated Erik’s work and commissioned limited edition bottles (the first House of Creed collaboration they have ever done in 200 years) featured at Art Basel at their flagship location in the Miami Design District. The playful nature of his work is what struck Hermès, where he created a custom piece for their Palm Beach flagship. Many brands want to align with Skoldberg’s work, like Eleventy Milano, who features his work throughout their U.S. showrooms. Skoldberg has not taken the traditional gallery route but enjoys collaborating with individuals and brands that share his ethos.

Another aspect of Skoldberg’s work is wrapping objects such as cars, surfboards, and guitars with his signature colorful abstractions. Erik personally rides his Triumph motorcycle with its custom hydro-dipped tank—the ultimate functional (and promotional) art statement.

His ability to capture personality through his Icon Collection paintings led him to be the official artist for Adidas’ Superbowl LIV painting Patrick Mahomes, Aaron Rogers, and Von Miller. These pieces featured NFL footballs and even players’ helmets attached to the canvas. Additionally, Erik has incorporated everything from NHL hockey sticks and golf clubs, to Bronco grilles and Ferrari rims into his works, making them literally pop. He even incorporates details that even pour the perfect shot of tequila! Come enjoy a shot of Woodford Reserve at Steeplechase and try it for yourself.

One particular work from his Icon Collection has stolen the show here in Nashville. This issue’s cover photo captures Skoldberg with his original Dolly Parton icon painting in the entry of Nathan & Keri Lyons’ home in Belle Meade, built by Vintage South Development with interiors by Rachel Halvorson. Erik enjoys working closely with designers where he can intimately be a part of the process with his private collectors. It’s clear that Skoldberg has thoroughly embraced his new lifestyle and that this California boy has officially gone country.