This is the artist behind the paintings! Meet me, Erica Cantua.
You may notice that these photos are all starring just ME! That is because I am an only child! Growing up, everyone always asks, "Do you wish you had siblings?" Well... you do not know what life is like with them if you have never had them! So, I truly do not know! I think my creativity has come from me entertaining myself all these years. It was meant to be!
I was born in Tucson, Arizona. The weather is probably what came to mind when you read that (if you aren't a local). I have always loved the heat and to me, 70 degrees is cold. Yikes! Good thing it does not snow here.
Growing up, I did many things: acting classes, ballet, gymnastics, hip hop, volleyball, cross country, soccer (for 2 seconds), violin, and even started my own business at the age of 12. I sold all different kinds of items that I crocheted. I even had MY OWN BUSINESS LICENSE AND WEBSITE. WHATTT!!! Looking back on it, I am amazed.
I stopped this passion of mine because of comments I was receiving. It got to me. I mean, can you really expect for it to not? I was so young! I was just trying to sell the stuff I created. I didn't understand the hurtful comments. To this day, I wish I wouldn't have listened to what people said. Learn from me!
Now, when exactly did I become the artist I am today?
Remember how I listed everything I did as a kid? I didn't include painting because it wasn't something I stuck with. These two acrylic paintings below were the only ones I created as a kid.
High school came and that was when I was introduced to art again. Freshman year I picked my classes and got all of the ones I wanted EXCEPT for psychology. Instead... I was given beginners art. It was only a semester long and that was when I found my passion for watercolor! Here is a photo of my very first water color painting.
Like many beginners classes they taught you a little bit of everything. Here are some photos of other projects my teacher saved to give to me at the end of the semester.
Believe it or not I stopped painting AGAIN. I didn't pick up the paintbrush again until my junior year of high school. I was very fortunate to meet my AP Literature teacher Ms. Franzee and a new friend named Evan (I will talk about him later). Franzee assigned projects that required drawings/images. I was THAT person that dreaded anything that had to do with drawing. I thought I would try something new and do a watercolor painting. Here are three paintings I turned in as projects for her class.
(I wasn't finished with the painting in this photo but my mom wanted a picture lol)
My friend Evan was someone VERY important. I saw he was sketching a face in class and I asked to snap a picture of it. That was how my first creepy face was made. (I searched for the picture of Evan's sketch to put as a comparison on here but could not find it :( oh well. ) He was also very supportive in the beginning and motivated me to paint more creepy faces!
This is "Adam". I based him off of Evan's sketch while adding my own touch to it. I'm proud to say Evan liked it too!
Thanks to Franzee continuously encouraging me to paint, and thanks to Evan for drawing that sketch, I found my style of painting and started my own business. I am forever grateful.
You may be wondering where the name "Erixaart" came from. "Why did you decide to name it that? Your name is Erica not Erixa." You are right. Erixa was a nickname I was given in middle school by a friend of mine. It stuck with me and became the name to all my social media accounts. Erixaart seemed fitting and had a nice ring to it. I also wanted people to know my business was about art right when they heard/ saw it. Pronounced: "air-ex-uh" and then the word art.
In high school I also joined a club called FBLA which stands for Future Business Leaders of America. I had so many opportunities to grow there and another teacher that played a big role in my business was Mrs. Rutherford. She was my entrepreneur teacher as well as the adviser for FBLA.
I went onto becoming president of this club my senior year (only for a semester since I graduated early). Leading this team of unique students was a beautiful experience that books can't teach. The amount of real world knowledge that I gained was mind blowing.
These pictures below show one of my FBLA competition projects. I did not win, but I am still very proud of this idea I had and all the work put into it!!
This is a wall inside the FBLA store. I wanted to leave high school knowing I made a difference (even if it was a little one). This wall happened with the help of fellow FBLA officers and members. It says, "Leaders don't create followers, they create more leaders" -Tom Peters. This was the biggest lesson I learned while being president. It is more than just managing. It is more than just putting an event together. It is adding value to your peers, teaching them skills, and shaping them into a leader for them to pass on the knowledge. I hope this wall encourages people to do more than just "be the boss".
I graduated high school at 17 years old with a little above 4.0 GPA. I was ranked 11 out of 666 students (at the time of graduation). I hated high school (except for the expereinces I mention in this blog). I could not stand it and that is why I graduated early. I planned to have all these sashes at the normal graduation and flaunt my hard work..... I ENDED UP NOT GOING TO MY OWN GRADUATION CEREMONY!! I really wanted to be done lol!
So, here I am now. It has been about 10 months since I started my business. I couldn't be anymore thankful for everyone that has believed in me and my art. I couldn't be anymore thankful for the people that take the time to compliment my art on social media, share my posts, and encourage me to never stop. Even though it does get hard, I don't plan on making the same mistake when I was 12 by listening to people's judgmental comments and closing my business.
Are we feeling a part 2 ... I think YESSSS!
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Thanks for reading!