Andando by Erika Moreira
Erika Moreira debuted her first solo show at O Gallery over the weekend, where her watercolor drawings were on view for a crowded two-room installation.The opening night included music by Peanut Butter Wolf, Sudan Archives, Frankie Reyes and The Homie. Moreira always loved to create and began drawing more when studying art therapy in grad school. This past October, she participated in Inktober, a drawing challenge where artists create one ink drawing a day throughout the month. Soon after, friends and family encouraged her to show her work.
Moreira grew up in Los Angeles and finds inspiration through her travels and the Ecuadorian heritage of her parents. She works primarily with youth ages five to eighteen as a therapist. A portion of the proceeds from the show were donated to Casa Libre, an organization that provides emergency and transitional housing for homeless youth.
Why did you decide to call the exhibit “[Andando]?” How does walking relate to the pieces and your work overall?
I painted a photo of my grandparents walking together, holding each other up as they walked. The painting reminded me of a song called "Andando, Andando" by Suni Paz, and I initially intended for the show to have a Latin American lullaby theme. I realized I had less than a month to put the show together, and I didn't want to change the title of the show. I decided I'd showcase my own creative progression/journey by exhibiting my drawings from years ago to date.
This is your first art show. Congrats! What was the process like bringing all the pieces together?
Terrifying at first because I wasn't sure which ones would be good enough for a show and which ones I'd be willing to share or sell. Actually, I never intended to sell any of my drawings or paintings. I agreed to put on a show for my family and friends until my boyfriend clarified that it wasn't how galleries worked. Surprisingly, as the show got closer, I was feeling more relieved to finally let some of my work go.
What compelled you to pursue art as a passion?
Art making has always been therapeutic for me. I started pursuing it more seriously in grad school where I received an MA in Marital Family Therapy specializing in Art Therapy.
What have your drawings caused you to discover about yourself, if anything? I've discovered that the process of sharing my drawings in person makes me feel extremely vulnerable, and that I'm surprisingly capable of tolerating much of the discomfort that comes along with it.
A lot of your material seems to be done in watercolor. What specific materials do you prefer to use? Winsor & Newton
You’ve also studied clinical art therapy. How exactly has that informed your work? As an art therapist, I assist my clients in exploring themselves through art making. At times, I find myself exploring my own work more meaningfully even with some of my most cheeky drawings.
Proceeds from your show will benefit Casa Libre. How did you get involved with them? My girl friend told me about Casa Libre, a long term shelter for unaccompanied and undocumented youth. Their mission and values resonated with mine as both a community mental health therapist and a first generation Latina with immigrant parents. I emailed them, they gave me a tour, and I wanted to give back through this show.