* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.
Erika Sanada was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. Her early inspirations stemmed from creatures and characters of Horror films. In 2005, she received her BA in Communications and Design at Nihm University College of Art in Tokyo. After working as a commercial illustrator and a movie studio makeup artist, Erika returned to art school in San Francisco.
Erika explains the work by saying, “My work reflects the weird and the creepy; I am fascinated with the dark side. “Odd Things” is my current body of work and I use ceramic for making bizarre creatures. They have extra body parts such as multiple arms, legs, teeth and ears. These are how I express my sensitive mind. There are two reasons I create misshapen and abnormal work. One is my bitter childhood and the second is my constant anxieties. When I was young, my friends ignored and bullied me. As a result, I stayed indoors and watched supernatural movies and animations. They helped me escape from reality and gave me power. These movies showed main characters using magic to turn others into freakish animals and insects. This transformation inspired me to make work that reflected the images that I saw in those movies and animations. I have had an anxious personality since I was a child. I worry about everything, even tiny things. Anxiety drags my mind to the dark side, which is more powerful and intense than my bright side. Sometimes I can’t move forward because I am emotionally paralyzed. I decided to go face-to-face with my anxieties by creating irregular and eerie creatures representing my dark side. As a result, these creatures show my twisted mind as I try to overcome anxiety through my creation.”
"I first met Erika in 2012 during her time as a graduate student at AAU in SF. The first piece she showed with us was actually a graphite drawing. She later invited us to see her sculptural work during a studio visit, and after she graduated, we were thrilled to present her debut US solo exhibition ‘Odd Things’ in 2013. She has a style that is so uniquely her own, and has really pushed the boundaries of her medium. I’m so proud of Erika’s blossoming career, and of her numerous artistic achievements."