We’re back with our creative interview series, Makers to Note with Portland based artist, Erika Lee Sears.
Erika, is a self-taught oil painter that we quickly fell in love with, not just for her talented abilities but also for her determination to make art every day! EVERY. DAY. Y’all. Check out her blog and/or Instagram and you can see where she post her new painting each day.
And did we mention she also has two kids and a husband. (how does she find the time?!) Where there is a will there is a way. That is how. So proud and inspired by this talented artist.
It was a complete joy to get to learn more about Erika and her journey as an artist. Check out her interview below!
- Tells us a bit about your background…where did you grow up? Were you creative as a child? Did your upbringing encourage or delay your creative endeavors? etc.
I am born and raised in Portland, Oregon. I was extremely creative as a child, but my parents are very conservative. I went to college for business and didn’t think or know that art could be a career possibility. Both of my parents are very hard workers but they wanted me to choose a career that would grant me traditional affordances such as a retirement plan, a desk, and a generous vacation package. I worked in finance for about six years before I realized that I really wanted to pursue art full-time. I was painting at night and showing my art around town, but I realized I wanted something different out of my life. So, I quit my corporate day job to make art as my career and I have never looked back.
- Did you go to any type of schooling for your craft or are you self-taught?
No, I did not! I am 100% self-taught.
- Where are you based?
- Where do you create? At home? In a studio etc.
I have a dedicated studio space in my home.
- Are you full time with your craft? Part time/side gig? Is it your goal to ever be full time?
I am full-time artist.
- What is your elevator pitch? How do you quickly describe what you do to people?
My name is Erika and I am an oil painter from Portland, Oregon. You can find my work on the show Portlandia, the first season of Significant Mother, and the Brooklyn Art Library. I have collaborated with brands such as Adams Peanut Butter, Target, HTC-one, and Titlenine.
- What inspires you + motivates you to keep perusing creative endeavors?
I deeply believe that I have so much more art to bring out into the world and that my time is limited, so I have to take full advantage of it. I’ve barely scratched the surface of my potential and I pursue that by branching out and learning new things as often as I can. I just want to show up every day and make my mark to the best of my abilities.
- What are your essentials when creating?
I’m an oil painter, so oil paint, wood, and paper.
- Do you listen to anything while you work? Tv? music? podcast? if so, what?!
Sometimes I watch shows on Netflix. I’m currently on a classic Gilmore Girl binges. I have several favorite podcasts such as The Heart, Strangers, and the Lively Show.
- Tell us about your favorite project you’ve gotten to work on?
My current project is a movement I started to simply make art every single day. I started back in 2015 to make artwork every day because the birth of my second child was an inspirational motivation for me. I really wanted to make sure I kept creativity and art in my life while being a mother. This project has had me grow the most as an artist and has given me some of the best opportunities of my career. I’m fortunate to be able to make art every day and share it with the world.
- What would be your dream job/project/collaboration?
My dream project would be to get a painting in NYMOMA.
- Whats the most challenging part of being a creative for you?
Even though I show up each day to make art, my creativity comes in waves. Creativity isn’t a stagnant energy. You have to work at it to get the most out of it. Sometimes I read, listen to motivational podcasts, and meditate when I really need to hone-in on that high energy level. I’ve gotten better at it, but some days it takes a lot more work than others.
- If you had a time machine, and could travel back in time to give your 18 year old self advice- what would you say?
Listen to your instincts. I know you’re scared about this next chapter, but take the leap. Take a year off and figure out what you are truly meant to do. Quit everything, travel and see the world. Go live the life you have always dreamed about.
- What is your biggest inspiration behind your work?
My two kids and my husband. Before my husband and I had kids, we were traveling through the Mediterranean and visited Turkey. There is a wall at the house of the Virgin Mary where you stuff a wish or prayer into one of the cracks. We both had the same wish; To live the best life we possibly can.