You can’t deny people are awesome. Who doesn’t like sitting down with good friends to ask them interesting, insightful, and funny questions? That’s what 11 Questions is about. I’ll be featuring some friends I look up to as well as people within the community I’ve always wanted to get to know. As a bonus, I’ve updated some of the questions!



I was introduced to Ericka via Instagram as her paintings stopped me in my tracks. They’ve got a noir-like Southern Gothic feeling that I was immediately drawn to. After scrolling through her page for a bit I immediately reached out to see if she would want to be on 11 Questions.

Partly because I thought it would be fun to try and recreate one of her pieces (see below) but more so because I wanted to meet her and talk about art. And we did just that. She told me about her artistic journey and how her work has evolved, I shared my love for Arnold Newman, and we both agreed that photographer Gregory Crewdson is great. It was a joy getting to know her and I can’t wait to see how her career evolves.

Who do you look up to?

In general, people who stand up for what they think is right. Having the confidence to speak up for someone who doesn’t have a voice. Taking charge when no one else is stepping up to the plate. Those are the people I truly respect and admire.

Favorite book, album, musician?

I’m a fan of a variety of musical genres but Classical is one that I would never get bored of. In times of anxiety, stress, or even when I’m just working, I often listen to Mozart, Beethoven, Bach, or Chopin. Classical music is not only beautifully composed, but it’s something to get lost in. Classical music has so much variety and can be many things; melancholic, hopeful, loud, quiet, etc. and since most of it is non-lyrical, the mood is often open to interpretation; it’s personal, and yet it is accessible to everyone. I feel as though Classical music often tells a vague story, and it’s left to the audience to project their own narrative; something I strive to create within my own work.

Where’s your favorite place to eat in Orlando?

I’m definitely a fan of Asian Cuisine, and Orlando has plenty of delicious options, but I think Domu is probably my favorite place to eat in town. I like to order the Richie Rich Ramen bowl however the Tokyo Ramen is great too. Pair it with their chicken wings a.k.a. “Domu Wings.” You won’t be disappointed.

If you could mate two different species of animals what would they be?

I would create a CatDog. I consider myself both a “Cat-Person” and a “Dog-Person;” I love both animals but for some very different reasons, so I think having the best of both worlds would be magical.  The unconditional loyalty of a dog, mixed with the insight, beauty, and gracefulness of a cat; the ultimate companion! 

Who in your life has inspired you?

My mentors during my undergrad/graduate school. It’s hard being an art student with aspirations but no direction. I think it’s important for a young artist to find someone they can trust to help you navigate through the nuances of the art world because there aren’t many resources out there. It’s inspiring seeing my mentors in their element, where the studio comes first and everything else will fall into place. They know what they want, and they prioritize accordingly. That’s the life I strive to create.

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished so far in the early stages of my career– graduating with my Master’s Degree, being accepted into local, regional, national, international, and solo shows. I’m proud of being able to balance my own studio practice with freelance work, and in times of great stress and less than ideal circumstances, I’m proud I’m able to pick myself up and keep going.

What rejuvenates you?

Going to look at art! One of my favorite times of the year is Art Basel Miami in December– It’s the perfect time and place to see some really weird stuff. I feel so fortunate to be able to make a short trip down to the coast to experience one of the biggest art fairs in the world. There is so much to take in; the crowds, the artwork, and Miami itself. My favorite thing to do during my trips is seeking out some of my favorite artists’ work and really dissecting it. By the end of the trip, I honestly feel so refreshed and excited to jump back into my studio to work. 

There anything you haven’t done yet which you feel compelled to do or want to achieve in the future?

When the time is right to travel again, my husband and I are planning a trip to Japan for our (late) honeymoon. I am fascinated by Japan and have wanted to go for many years- the food, the culture, the architecture, the FOOD… we can’t wait!

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

This is a tough one because I am guilty of constantly thinking about making work. I’ll see something during my daily commute and start obsessing about it:  What would it look like if I did this? How does the message change if I manipulated that? Etc. I’ll spend hours playing with my reference photography, seeing what works and what doesn’t, trying to make the landscapes come to life. And when it comes to actually making the work, my schedule revolves around being in the studio. I’ve accepted that my personal & professional life intertwine. I think it’s very difficult to turn the creative part of your brain off, like you’ve clocked out for the day, because I don’t think you’re an artist only when you’re in the studio. Making work is like an itch that needs to be scratched. 

How do you hope to be remembered?

I want my legacy to center around my accomplishments as an artist and cement myself in the lineage of landscape painting. I hope my work ends up in a history book and/or in a museum one day and hopefully inspire the next generation of artists, like the artists before inspired me.

If you were to choose a different career what would it be?

Psychology. I’m fascinated by what drives people to make the decisions they do; the human mind is incredibly complex and I find it illuminating to dissect people’s motives, passions, tendencies, and points of view.  This all relates to my own work and how an individual’s past experiences formulate how certain symbols/motifs are digested to create meaning, so it’s something that I find extremely compelling.

Click HERE to read more “11 Questions” columns by Brian Carlson.

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