UW-Stout alumna has moment to remember after artwork shown at Oscars

Published: Feb. 14, 2020 at 2:47 PM CST
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Erin Goedtel, a 2003 UW-Stout graduate, is no stranger to artistic achievements. In the past, her artwork was featured in a music video for Prince’s “Cinnamon Girl,” but her career reached new heights at Feb. 9’s Oscars, according to UW-Stout. At the 92nd Academy Awards, Goedtel’s artwork was featured during Elton John’s performance of his Best Original Song “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” from the award-winning biopic “Rocketman.” Her artwork was displayed as John sang, seen by Hollywood stars and a worldwide TV audience of 26 million.

While the feature was a defining moment for Goedtel, UW-Stout says it wasn’t a complete surprise. Goedtel had created two pieces of art for the song’s official music video, which was released alongside “Rocketman” in 2019, and one of those pieces was chosen for the Oscars. During the show, Goedtel says she was on a flight, and upon landing, text messages came in congratulating her. “I was afraid airport security would drag me away because I was jumping up and down and having quite a moment in the (airport) arrivals area at 1 in the morning,” Goedtel said.

Goedtel says she met Los Angeles art director Kii Arens after graduating from UW-Stout in 2003 with a degree in studio art, and the two have collaborated on and off in the years since their meeting. This long association is what led to this moment.

As a self-proclaimed “huge Elton John fan,” Goedtel said she and Arens wanted to “encapsulate that groovy feel of ‘70s bold lines, simplistic/to-the-point imagery, bright colors and with a hint of psychedelia.” The duo also wanted to portray the glam rock spirit in their art as well.

Goedtel earned her Master of Fine Arts in painting at Indiana University in 2011 after graduating from UW-Stout. She has taught at several colleges and universities, but is now a full-time artist. Her art has also been exhibited in Los Angeles, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, England and South Korea.