Eric was born in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1983 to Jim and Narda Wilcox. They have owned a gallery, the Wilcox Gallery, in Jackson since 1969. Jim Wilcox is a well-known landscape artist, with a lot of recognition and awards throughout his career. He is most well known for his breathtaking paintings of the Grand Teton range. Despite his upbringing, Eric was slow to develop his love for art, constantly trying to keep his parents out of art galleries and in toy shops where he preferred to spend time.
Somewhere around the age of 7, Eric was with his parents at an art show where an artist by the name of Joe Halko, was demonstrating. Eric, not being the shy type, asked Joe if he would sculpt something for him. Joe was kind enough to take time out of his demonstration and sculpt a bunny out of clay that he let Eric take home. At this point, art started to make a home in his heart.
During High School, Eric began working in the family gallery business. This started as doing odd jobs like mowing the lawn, watering plants, or cleaning the gallery—basically anything that needed extra attention. While working in the gallery, he would hear others talking about art and started to have a greater understanding of it all. Gaining this knowledge gave Eric the confidence to eventually start covering the gallery when needed. At the young age of 20, Eric started managing a gallery.
Eric had been surrounded by great art his whole life but hadn't developed any artistic talent. With his Dad being a successful artist, Eric dabbled with painting but never with great results. He decided to give up even trying and just sell the art. At least that would keep him in the environment that he had grown to love.
Eight years of managing a gallery later, a sculptor by the name of Tim Whitworth came to the gallery to demonstrate during the Fall Arts Festival. In a break between customers, Eric walked over to Tim's table, borrowed some clay, and decided to sculpt a bear. In about 10 minutes he had sculpted a bear that actually looked decent! Maybe this was just a fluke, he thought. He kept the bear but still wasn't to the point where he decided to pursue sculpting.
The next summer another sculptor, by the name of Rip Caswell, came into the gallery. In talking with Rip, Eric learned that he had a foundry in Oregon. He had wanted to have his little bear cast in bronze so he could give them to his kids, so he asked Rip what the cost would be to have it done. Rip very kindly said he would do it for free, which was no small gift. Rip returned to Jackson that fall with 2 bronze bears as a gift. This was Eric's first bronze!
That same fall, Tim Whitworth arrived to demonstrate for the Fall Arts Festival and once again Eric “borrowed” some of his clay. This time he was determined to spend more time on it and see what he was really capable of. With a few tips from Tim and the use of one of his handmade sculpting tools, he sculpted a bison, once again surprising even himself with what he had done. He worked on it from time to time, before he decided it was ready to be cast. He experimented with some bold patina choices, because at this point Eric was just doing this to have something to give to his children and parents.
When the Bison were finished and they arrived in the mail, Eric finally knew his new calling. It was to be a sculptor! The Bison, cast in bronze and with their colorful patinas , had really surpassed his expectations! He now knew that he did have some artistic ability, but he had been looking toward painting when it was sculpting that he should be doing.
Eric still runs the Wilcox Gallery and sculpts, while raising a family in one of the most beautiful places on Earth. He is currently working on a series of small bronzes that showcase the variety of wildlife found in the Teton area. He is so grateful to have had such great influences and knows he would not be doing what he loves if it weren't for the help of so many amazing people. He can now say that he has followed in his fathers footsteps. Now his goal is to become better and push forward as an artist, while hopefully inspiring others to do what they love.