They applied. They were awesome. They became Redbubble Artists-in-Residence.
Entirely self-taught via online tutorials, one-off painting classes and just staring especially closely at her favourite paintings on the gallery wall – she honed her craft. First with pencils, then watercolours, then acrylics and now oil colours. Erika learned best from doing things with her hands and making mistakes – of which she has gathered quite the impressive collection.
Read on to find out about the latest Artist in Residence – Art-by-Miss-E.
Born in Melbourne in 1989, Erika has been an artist her whole life. As a child, she was far too pragmatic to have considered a career as an artist. Floating through her schooling with ease and a loose direction, she ended up studying Advertising at RMIT. Thinking this would be a ‘creative’ field to nurture her love of drawing and her interest in psychology, she ended up working in the industry for a couple of years. Feeling the pull of art on the outskirts of her soul, she took up a daily drawing challenge. Then, a weekend art class. Eventually, it became obvious to her that she needed to leave her career in advertising to pursue art. Ever heard that expression, don’t quit your day job? Well, she did. Even when everyone told her not to.
Describe your work in 7 words or less.
If I had to describe my work in seven words or less: feminine, vulnerable, dreamy, galactic, strong, peaceful, vibrant.
Tell us about the project you will be working on while in the RB residency program? How AMAZING is this residency? I’m absolutely stoked to be a part of it. There were so many ideas in my noggin’ about what I could do with this opportunity. One of the biggest gaps in my skill set as an artist is marketing and sales. Hilarious, because I studied and worked in advertising for years before becoming an artist. I left the industry about seven years ago to pursue my passion for art, and low and behold all this time later, it’s all come back around to marketing and sales. Go figure. Anyway, my residency focus is learning how to turn my lil art thing into a profitable income for myself. Super keen to figure it all out.
A definite career highlight for me was one of my first ever group exhibitions. I’d been invited to participate in gallery shows before, and turned them down due to crippling self-doubt. For some reason, I just thought I wasn’t good enough. My artwork would be laughed off the wall at a gallery! Eventually, I summoned the courage and said ‘yep!’ to this one show in particular. All of my favourite artists have paintings on exhibit. I felt unworthy, even though I was proud of the piece I had created. When I first laid eyes on my painting on the wall, side-by-side with my idols… it felt right. Slight relief from my agonising discomfort washed over me. It doesn’t look too out of place!
What role does art history play in your creative process?
You mean there’s been other artists creating work for hundreds, thousands of years? Who knew! I distinctly remember being bored to the brink of insanity during the history and theoretical parts of art class. It never really made sense to me, why do I have to learn this to make my art? Teenagers! They think they know everything. Nowadays, I at least feign interest when my peers discuss art movements and their favourite artists through the ages. Words are just words. Discussing history can be quite meaningless to me. Put me in a gallery in front of a painting and then I’ll tell you what I think.
Advice for aspiring artists?
Don’t worry, be happy. Cliché but accurate. Let the joy of creating fill you up and everything else you can figure out along the way. Nobody starts out knowing everything, we all have a journey of growth and discovery. It’s not a competition either. Everyone’s journey is different, there’s so much we can learn from each other. Build a community around yourself, whether it’s through visiting galleries in your local area or interacting with artists online. Support from like-minded peers will build you up and get you further than anywhere you could reach alone.
See more of Art-by-Miss-E’s designs and residency experience by visiting her Redbubble shop.