Erin McLoughlin was a little girl, growing up in Anthem, when she saw Norman Rockwell paintings for the first time.
She admired his portraits with exaggerated emotions, she says. McLoughlin did her best to replicate his works, and now the 2017 Boulder Creek High School graduate is a highly sought-after artist.
“My mom and grandmother had a book by him laying around,” she says. “It was a gallery of all his work. I went through all the pages and tried to replicate them. It’s crazy. I can’t believe how it’s gone from there.”
McLoughlin’s subjects have included Devin Booker, Tom Brady and golfer Rickie Fowler for the Arizona Cancer Foundation for Children, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman, Golden State Warriors and ex-Phoenix Suns baller Kelly Oubre Jr., Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.
“Julian Edelman was a commissioned piece,” she says. “He saw it on Twitter, which was pretty cool. Kelly Oubre Jr.’s was auctioned for the Suns. He saw it and signed the painting. I’ve done a few Kobe paintings, too.”
She painted Booker after her high school friend referred the basketball player’s personal chef to her.
“He was looking for a Christmas present for him,” she says. “He had this photo of him, and he commissioned me to do a painting for him. I never met him personally, but he has one of my paintings.”
Since the day she was introduced to Rockwell’s paintings, she has been interested in realism.
“I’ve always loved drawing portraits and people. I guess it’s just because everybody’s different. Every single painting I do is different. It keeps it entertaining for me. I never get bored of it. That’s why I paint people. I enjoy the realism, and I add little impressionism in it. That’s why you can see some brush strokes in there.”
If Instagram says anything, McLoughlin has 43,300 followers on her artwork page and 11,100 on her personal one.
“I’m inspired by a lot of different people I see on social media,” she says. “I got on TikTok a lot and see artists on there. I started using these gold pieces in the background after seeing it on TikTok.”
McLoughlin was born on Staten Island and moved to Arizona at 6 years old. She is a senior at the University of Arizona, where she is studying psychological science and public health. McLoughlin’s goal is to work as a physician’s assistant.
“I’ve been drawn to art, though, since I was in the second grade,” she says. “I just started drawing, and I’ve been doing it ever since. My senior year in high school I got into painting. I didn’t really take it seriously until college. I’ve been doing it on the side, all through college.”
McLoughlin is approached so frequently for commissioned work that she can pick and choose what she wants to do. She charges “a few thousand,” depending on the size of the canvas and the image.
“I charge a lot now that the demand’s kind of higher,” McLoughlin says.
McLoughlin is getting ready to graduate from UA. She’s hoping to move to Scottsdale and further her studies in the Valley.
“I hope I can get a place big enough to have a studio so I can take it more seriously,” she says. “I want a room dedicated to art.”