Sweeping Landscapes Painted On A High School Teacher’s White Board

Gregory Euclide’s latest paintings were destroyed after his 25-minute lunch break. Luckily, he took photos.

We all have different ways of coping with the boredom that comes with a daily routine. Some of us take to YouTube, others smoke. When Gregory Euclide gets restless, he draws.


The Minnesota-by-way-of-Wisconsin artist, who has exhibited at Mass MoCA and MAD, teaches high schoolers outside of Minneapolis. His relentless schedule (”38 students an hour, five hours a day, for 8 months”) spurred him to start using drawing as an at-work stress release. “During my lunch break I would start these drawings on the white board,” explains Euclide. “I would give myself 25 minutes to finish something.”

Euclide is well known for his intricate landscape paintings, which often pour out of the frame and onto the gallery floor. Laid Down & Wiped Away is instantly recognizable, despite being two-dimensional: richly detailed and bleak at the same time, weaving industrial wreckage and infrastructure into sweeping Minnesotan forest scenes. Using Sumi ink and a few simple tools found in his classroom, Euclide treats the board like a true canvas. A plastic spray bottle affects ink washes, while a dry eraser works for creating relief.

After every lunch period, Euclide would unceremoniously wipe away his paintings–much to the horror of his students. “In our culture, there is a strong emphasis on reproduction and the original seems less important,” he says in a press release. “My students were shocked when I would erase the original, because they saw it firsthand, and they were disturbed that it was destroyed. People who do not see the original have no problem only looking at it on a screen or as a print, but once you see the original it is hard to let it go or believe that it could be destroyed.”

You’ve probably already seen Euclide’s work, even if you’re not familiar with his name. He created the cover art for fellow Wisconsinite Bon Iver’s self-titled 2011 album. In fact, an early YouTube leak of a few seconds of the album was set to a detailed shot of the piece, linking the music to the art in the minds of many listeners.

While the original pieces from Laid Down & Washed Away may be gone forever, the artist and his representing gallery are selling 16×20 prints on his website for a limited time. Check it out here.

[Images courtesy of the artist; h/t Creative Boom]

About the author

Kelsey Campbell-Dollaghan is Co.Design's deputy editor.