Studio Visit: Erica Avila

Avila’s work is full of color and texture and we are excited to show her work in our summer exhibition “Desert Songs”.

Avila works in medical laboratory science, and started painting out of the desire to pursue a different kind of thinking. For Avila, creating art is a vulnerable act of empowerment. In painting she not only empowers herself, but hopes to empower others to do what they love and defy expectations.

Avila cites her grandmother, a watercolor artist as one of her first artistic inspirations, but did not really do anything creative until her daughter was born. In the wake of the 2016 election Avila began painting as a way to do something meaningful to her, as well as be an example to her daughter of what it looks like for a woman to take control of what she wants.

Avila’s grandparents were immigrants from Mexico, and her father was the first to go to college in her family. Avila grew up understanding the importance and privilege of education, and the sacrifice that immigrants make to give their families a better life. Avila took her studies seriously, and pursued science because of her interest in cancer research and desire to excel and not take her education for granted. Though Avila enjoys science, she always has felt that there was something beyond her career that enriches her soul.

She began doing origami and adult coloring books as a way to connect with her creativity, but ultimately settled on acrylic painting with a palate knife as her main medium. Acrylic dries rapidly, which allows Avila to paint quickly and decisively. She carries her scientific efficiency into her art practice, and her palate knife movements are efficient and strong, but still graceful. The colors Avila chooses are thoughtfully laid out as swatches before she begins painting. Though she maps out her color scheme, Avila finds that she creates her best work when she doesn’t have a plan, allowing forms to bloom onto the canvas organically.

Follow her on Instagram @ericaavilaart

Don’t miss Erica Avila, Felicia Gabaldon, and Joshua Tremain in “Desert Songs” opening  Friday, June 7th at Beatnik Studios!


Photography by LUMI

Written by Helena Zittel

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