Hi everyone and welcome back to another week on the Chrissie Murphy designs blog. Well it’s Artist Interview time again and this week I’m interviewing an amazing artist, the one and only Erika Lancaster. Erika is starting to make quite an impact online. She is fast becoming a prolific content creator, she is a fantastic teacher and has recently launched her very own Facebook Group. Let’s get into this Artist Interview with Erika Lancaster, so you can meet this amazing woman for yourself.
I came to meet Erika earlier this year through a Facebook Group (yes, me and Facebook groups…. #thelove💛). In the short time I’ve been following her I have watched her star begin to rise, quite quickly too I might add. If you’re a beginner artist or an intermediate level artist, there’s a really good chance you’ll encounter Erika online because she is everywhere! But more importantly than that, when you do, you will be seeing quality content. Let’s get in to her interview so you can see what I mean.
My Artist Interview with Erika Lancaster
Welcome Erika, tell me a bit about your background and how you got into this style of art?
My style is still evolving as I continue discovering myself artistically. Until about a year ago, when I decided to resign from the Art Teaching position I spent many years in, I didn’t really have that much time to devote to my own artistic journey. Of course, as a Graphic Designer and Art Teacher I was able to practice my drawing to a certain extent, explore different mediums and gained expertise applying and teaching Art Fundamentals. However, these demanding positions had me working overtime often and left me drained. I never really had time to make art for myself!
My work is currently divided into commercial/editorial-style illustration work and decorative fine art pieces. Because I started in Graphic Design, I will always have a love for more commercial-style work, and I really admire fine artists who have/had backgrounds in design and/or illustration such as Wayne Thiebaud and Edward Hopper. However, since I started really developing as more of a fine artist, I have become more and more influenced by the work of different Post-Impressionist artists. I’m inspired by everyday scenes and common objects.
Where are you located and what sorts of things in your area inspire your art?
I was born in central Texas, but have lived in Monterrey, Mexico for most of my life, which is where my mom’s family is from. I consider myself more Mexican than American at this point, and am proud to be living in a country that has produced such amazingly talented artists.
Though I consider Mexico to have beautiful landscapes (and I love painting landscapes), I would say the different types of artwork that the people in this country create is what I find most inspiring. When I travel to the southern parts of the country, I’m always taken aback by the innate talent of Mexican artisans and how they play with bright colors, symbolism and expression. I would love to be able to incorporate these aspects into my artwork in my own way.
You have developed a unique style to your work, what would you say is your favourite piece?
Thank you! That’s a really tough question! If I had to choose one right off the top of my head I would say that one of my 90 x 70 cm landscapes that I created for a recent series of mine would probably take the cake. It’s a mountain landscape with a small red house in the foreground. I don’t know what it is about that particular painting, but it has a lot of myself in it and it also marks the point in my journey at which I realized that I’m very much into Post-Impressionist styles.
This painting is currently for sale at my Etsy shop! Unfortunately, it can only be shipped to customers in Mexico due to the fact that it’s stretched on heavy, untreated wood.
Pens, pencils, paints and inks … what are your favourite tools for creating?
I 100% believe that drawing is the basis for all visual arts, so I always have at least a sketchbook or two (or three or four!) on hand, along with a few different pencil grades and erasers. However, what I sell are my paintings, and my two favorite mediums are by far watercolors and oils.
These two mediums are incredibly different from each other and I really love how they balance me out. I can be very heavy handed, messy and even rough as I’m working, and watercolors challenge me to plan and be more delicate. Oils on the other hand allow me to be more physical as I work (I really enjoy working on larger canvases and standing up) and they also allow me to easily correct mistakes.
What would you say has been the most difficult aspect in being consistent with your art and how do you handle this?
Because at the moment I’m transitioning from having worked full-time for many years into creative entrepreneurship, there’s been a ton to learn about! I’m taking online business courses, constantly producing content for my blog and YouTube channel, building a community of artists/art appreciators, and still teaching art classes locally several days a week.
All of this really presents a challenge for me, as it limits the time I actually spend creating work to sell, but I realize they are all very important in order to make this work for myself long-term. I’ve embraced this part of the journey and simply make sure to have a certain percentage each day to work on my art, even if it means just sketching for 20 mins.
For me, it’s all about scheduling goals in (no matter how small), and actually sticking to the commitments you set for yourself.
Do you have one tip you can share with us for combatting artists block?
Absolutely! I wrote a blog post about this a while back. I think most often than not, when this happens, it has to do with us being exhausted either physically, mentally, or both.
I believe it’s absolutely essential for artists to prioritize self-care in order to ensure that we are consistently inspired and motivated to work.
Many times when this happens, we need to step back, give ourselves a break and get back into it slowly. For me, having time for myself each and every day is absolutely essential. I’m an introvert and have to work really hard at not getting overwhelmed/anxious in situations that may seem completely trivial to others. If I don’t get proper rest, make time to exercise and take care of myself in other ways, it can be a problem.
However, if I AM taking care of myself and I still can’t seem to get back into a flow, I’ve found creating artwork that comes naturally/easily for me without having any expectations of myself is a great way to re-ignite my passion for art. Creating collages, for example, is something I find very fun and never fails to inspire me!
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
There are SO many things in the works as we speak! I’m in the process of stocking up my brand new Etsy shop, through which I’ll soon be offering a much wider variety of original artwork at an international level. Simultaneously, I’m also working on launching my very own online tutoring services through which I’ll be teaching drawing, watercolor, and sketchbook courses through Skype to people all over the world!
I really want to offer aspiring artists out there something different from common online art courses, and be able to work one-on-one with people, focusing on providing support for their specific level and goals. Many times it’s about staying consistent, and I want to be able to encourage people to keep going with weekly sessions, as well as help them develop their own artistic voice so they can share it with the world.
Along with all this, I’m still consistently producing helpful content that I share through my blog and YouTube channel on a weekly basis. So stay tuned!
And lastly, tell us all the places where we can find you online…
Absolutely! My home base is my website, at www.erikalancaster.com, but you can also find me at instagram.com/erika_lancaster_art, facebook.com/byerikalancaster, and of course, at my YouTube channel at youtube.com/erika_lancaster_art
Well that’s a wrap on my interview with Erika. Don’t you just feel inspired? Erika is all over it as an artist! I love the ideas she has and the plans she’s making for moving forward creatively within her gifting. And you know what? That’s the key. Erika has vision!
There’s this quote I love that says,
“If you don’t know where you are going, how can you expect to get there?”
I don’t know who said it, but it’s so simple and so true. As artists, if we have no idea where we are going with our craft, how can we ever expect to arrive anywhere?
A little disclaimer if I may….
I am aware that there may be some of you who are quite content with where you’re at. You might be at a place where you’re not looking to achieve more, or to expand your capabilities or reach, you’re happy with what you’re creating and you just wanna create!! You know what, that’s totally ok because I’ve been there and I get it. But…. the artist I’m talking to today IS the one who wants to take their art further, they’re hungry for more.
When I look at everything Erika’s achieved this year, I’m imagining there’s this line in the sand, dividing time before the vision and time after the vision. It’s like Erika has spent serious time soul searching and planning and now things are starting to happen as she puts pieces of her vision into action. I love how she says, “For me, it’s all about scheduling goals in (no matter how small), and actually sticking to the commitments you set for yourself.” It’s clear to me that Erika has a plan and when I look at the artists that are killing it online, they all have a vision about where they are heading.
Here’s the thing, vision is so strongly connected to purpose.
When you develop a vision for where you want to go with your art, you start to develop purpose with your art. So on the flip side, if you’re feeling as though there is no purpose to what you’re creating, I would suggest you begin to have a look at your vision.
There’s a beautiful verse in Psalm 138 that says, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever“. The Creator will fulfill His purposes in us because He has a vision for us. He says in Jeremiah 29:11 that “I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” This is a vision, and where there is a vision, there is purpose. There is a connection that exists between the two.
So, where are you at with vision and purpose? I hope you’ve been encouraged by Erika, I know I have been. She is an artistic dynamo, and I’m so inspired by her level of commitment to see through her vision. She has so much to offer and I really recommend seeking her out online to follow her journey. She provides value, value, value and you will come away from her content feeling like you can take on the world. You will be inspired by her artistic vision, I just know it, and her purpose as an artist is ooozing out everywhere. It’s absolutely amazing and a joy to be watching.
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Until next time, listen to your heart and sharpen your coloured pencils. A masterpiece awaits!
Bless you my friend