Eric started oil painting at the age of seven painting en plein-air along with his father, Kent R. Wallis. Trekking through mountain forests and rural farmland, the two painted together, scenes of simple, quiet, yet soulful scenery. Eric became a child prodigy at the side of his experienced father.
Many awards followed through Eric’s school years as he continued to find voice in visual clarity. His impressionistic style continued to develop; color and texture the focus of the experience.
Eric received a music scholarship at Utah State University but after teaching a percussion class at a local middle school, he quickly changed direction and embarked upon an education in painting. Eric studied with Adrian Van Suchtelen, an extraordinary figurative artist with traditional discipline at hand. Glen Edwards from Art Center, also with a traditional approach, guided Eric in a loose, impressionistic style. Figure painting was the emphasis at USU. Eric received a BFA in painting in 1992.
In 1990 Eric embarked on a professional art career. He was accepted to hang in The Long Gallery of Scottsdale Arizona. Immediately it became a full time vocation so Eric worked to finish his junior and senior years at USU and devote himself to painting. For seventeen years Eric has been working 10 to 12 hour days to keep up with demand for his colorful, enjoyable paintings. His work has grown in popularity every year.
Eric has been asked to participate in many group shows including the prestigious Peppertree Art Show at the Peppertree Ranch in Santa Ynes California. Other group shows include the East Meets West show in Gaithersburg Maryland, the Tri-cities Art Show in Richland Washington, The Phippen Museum Art Show in Prescott Arizona, and the Celebration of Fine Art in Scottsdale Arizona.
Eric’s one-man exhibitions in the galleries number over twenty and continue each year. Galleries have found in Eric a prolific talent and continue to bring Wallis’ work to the forefront of public interest. As Eric paints over 200 paintings a year, galleries still seem to find more avenues of distribution and a growing clientele hungry for the work.
The popularity of Eric’s work hasn’t kept him from reaching. In 1997 he was selected to study with two of the finest artists in America, Richard Schmid and Burton Silverman in Loveland Colorado. More discipline and traditional technique was stressed and Eric began re-tooling skills to include drawing, value, and chiaroscuro. This emphasis, in addition to the color and texture of the impressionists, loft Eric’s paintings to higher levels of subjectivity and emotion. Now substantive, the work is being recognized by the finest collectors across the United States and reaching across oceans to England, Italy, Australia, and Turkey. Publishers are taking notice as well. Many of Eric’s paintings are scheduled for publication.
Eric’s career supports his family of five children and his wife of 17 years. The children all show artistic ability as one would expect. Eric’s wife Valerie is a fiber artist and published knitter, and a composer of children’s music. Valerie and Eric have successfully nursed a baby through cancer. The two continue to volunteer for childhood cancer research fundraisers. Valerie plays a major role in Eric’s business by taking care of bookkeeping, logistics, and support services.