Eric Dolgas definitely has a style, or better yet, a freestyle. The go-with-the flow illustrator, painter and visual artist better known as E$ produces a distinct feel and flavor with every piece he touches, whether it be a personal project or a full-blown mural. While social distancing in his home during the DMV’s stay-at-home order, we caught up with Dolgas about his work, self-quarantine and a bunch of other things, rapid-fire style.
District Fray: Since Covid-19 essentially shut down the city, what have you been doing in social isolation? How is it affecting your art?
Eric Dolgas: I’ve been binging art a little bit. I’m working on a painting for the [District Fray] launch party, and I have a couple other collaborations that I’ve been working on. I went to my art store, and bought every art supply I would need for the next two months. I’ve been going on an art binge ever since.
What’s your relationship with plants?
I do not have a green thumb. I tried to grow a few bonsai trees from an Urban Outfitters DIY box. They ended up being duds.
You did an illustration revolving around cannabis for our issue on page 70. What’s your relationship to cannabis in D.C. as a consumer, activist, etc.?
I have always been a huge proponent of the legalization of marijuana and it’s very important to my art.
What are some of your favorite things to do outdoors around the D.C. area? Are there any places in nature that inspire your illustrations?
I have a little tree park next to my house in Fairfax if I want to clear my head and sit in nature. There’s also a running trail between my house and my parents’ house, and all you hear is nature sounds.
What put you on the map as an artist?
I do a lot of commissions. A lot of people end up finding me because I did a commercial for VICELAND, and I did a music video with Action Bronson.
First thought that comes to mind when you hear D.C.? Georgetown University, where I went to school. Favorite place to draw in the city? Home studio is where I’m comfortable. I don’t do a lot of outside-the-house drawing. When your friends come to D.C., where do you take them? To see a show at Songbyrd [Music House and Record Cafe], 9:30 Club or the Fillmore. Try to catch a game at Capital One Arena, whether it be Wizards, Georgetown or the Capitals. Go to the Hirshhorn, which is my favorite museum in the city. What aspect of D.C. is underrated? I think the art scene, really. I introduce so many people to different art shows. There are a lot of super talented people in the city. Overrated? My gut is just to say the monuments, but I grew up here, so you kind of take them for granted. What shows are you binging right now? I just finished Tiger King, which is crazy. I’m looking forward to Ozark, my favorite show on Netflix other than Narcos. Do you have any go-to movies? Interstellar, The Shawshank Redemption and Pineapple Express. What about the outside world do you miss most? I miss the gym the most. It’s kind of unique because it’s a tennis club and it’s never crowded. I’ve been working out there since 2004. I’ve seen employees grow up there. Least? Traffic. Go-to snack at home? Goldfish. I can crush a bag in one sitting. Best career advice you’ve gotten? [No Kings Collective’s] Peter Chang one time sat me down and explained scoping out murals and getting supplies, and all along I’ve been trying to get in the mural game. He schooled me to the game. What kind of work would you do for free? When my friends have babies, I typically do a nursery painting in the room. Favorite aspect of your job? I hate monotony. I’ve always been a freestyle artist, ad lib off the page. I just think [you should] find your own style and have everything be fresh. Least favorite? When I have a project I can’t get emotionally attached to. Which living person do you most look up to? My dad. He’s always been my hero. What is your most treasured possession? When I was in college, I painted a box of blunts. I used to have it on the wall at my parents’ house, but now I have it. What is the silliest thing you own? I have this little toy gun, and when you press the trigger, you get an electric jolt. People still pick it up and pull the trigger, and their reaction is priceless. What are you hoping to accomplish in the District this year? I have a couple small murals at Exiles Bar and Songbyrd. [I’m] hoping to extend to murals this year and get into [mural battle] Secret Walls.