Everyday saints: Artist canonizes working class to show ‘beauty’ and ‘light’

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Erin Currier stands in front of her art.  (Alex De Core)

Erin Currier is not the pope and doesn’t work for the Vatican, but through her artistry, she canonizes everyday people, bringing out their inner saint. 

The 47-year-old Sante Fe painter has gained notoriety for her angelic portraits of people from all walks of life, whom she met while traveling the world. Her art depicts janitors, maids, shoe shiners, musicians and community activists all with halos to symbolize their humanity. 

She features her paintings on her website and Instagram pages. She also has an upcoming show at the Blue Rain Gallery in Santa Fe on June 24.  

"I found that most people, overwhelmingly, are good and kind," Currier told FOX Television Stations. "And I wanted to highlight and illuminate that through my work."

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"In pretty much in every religion and spiritual tradition, the purpose of the saint is to embody those virtues," she continued. 

Currier said she's inspired to learn more about hardworking, everyday citizens who may be overlooked in society.

"They have some child they love...or parent..or some family that they’re taking care of," she continued. "I found it admirable to do that labor day in and day out."

But she also features more well-known citizens such as poets and athletes, admiring their "dedication" and "unbelievable courage," acknowledging many give back to their communities. 

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"I also try to bring out just the beauty in the light in each person," she continued. 

Currier is also an environmentalist. She collects and embeds pieces of trash in her painting, such as wrappers and packets. The idea came to her when she was younger. 

"I was blown away by how much we threw out and how aesthetic it was," she added. 

Currier said she hopes her artwork shines a light on positivity others may miss. 

"There’s so many elements in our society and culture that are divisive, but I hope through my art, that it’s unifying," she said. 

This story was reported from Los Angeles.