Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Felicella.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I was the artist that tried not to be an artist. I believe that art is something that is truly part of you and not an option to avoid if you are an artist for the sake of your soul. On my way to the east coast I landed in Dallas naturally. Eventually in my early 2o’s I returned back to art in its many forms and have continued my practice for the last two decades. My journey has taken me down avenues and pathways I never would have imagined or dreamed of. In my early 20’s I got my re-start both in the commercial and the fine-art fields of photography. I also began my work as a curator for local artists. I was like a young child in love with everything and trying everything in the arts. Along this journey I continued to expand not just in being an artist but moved into the non-profit arts sector, public speaking, motivational talks, mentorship to young artists and beyond. As I moved into my 30’s my practice as an artist, advocate and arts leader had begun an evolution and was heading to where it is currently. I am a strong supporter of the North Dallas arts community and this drive has allowed me the pleasure to be a voice for our creatives in many ways. From the continued work as a curator and organizer to my continued work in the non-profit sector. In my mid 30’s I found a new practice and rebirth of myself as an artist. I had made the jump into the field of installation and endurance performance works and had left my photography behind me mostly. I finally had an artist voice that blended my love and direct interaction with the community that I love so much. My hope as an artist today is simple. Connect with those around you and create interactions. I take my work very seriously and consider it a deep responsibility to serve as a voice. If I do not connect to at least one individual on a deeper level with each work then I have failed with that work. So in saying that the study of life and of those who are in it are imperative for me to get it right every time. I hope that that I get the great honor and pleasure to constantly bring new work to the light and share it with the world.
Please tell us about your art.
Today I am a practicing performance, new-media and installation artist. I make work about people, community and the human condition. Roots in sociology, ethnography and mental health. Examples of past works have come directly from human society in American culture, obsession and use of social media, depression, agoraphobia, obsessive compulsive disorder, human emotional response and more are currently in the works that deal with topics of what a community can accomplish as a whole. I like including many people in the creation of my works and the contributors have been close friends, other artists and complete strangers. Since my work has a strong connection to people as a whole I find joy in process as part of the work. The final product is just one of the parts of my practice. Most of my work takes months to years to produce. What people may see as a 5 minute piece all the way to a 48 hour piece a whole story lies behind them. It is my hope to tap into the inner soul of those who interact with the work. To have people walk away with their own thoughts and views that are uniquely theirs.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Stay the course. It is easy to walk away from what feeds the soul due to financial struggles. You are a creative so use that process to get creative. There is support out there the struggle is to find it. If it is possible find the right grants, apply for awards and simply ask what is the hardest “help”. It may surprise you what is out there. For me without a community I would not have been able to produce most of my work. And be patient. If you can dream it or envision it then it is possible but may take years. A lot of my work seemed untouchable financially so I make work between those works that I can make happen while continuing the process for the rest. Never stop creating. It is called a practice for a reason someone once told me and I take that to heart just because people have not seen it yet doesn’t mean you are not working.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
What I love about my current work is you can only see it once typically. The impermanence is part of the practice. It takes a long time to produce what is only there for a short while then vanishes into thin air. My work is typically in public spaces and viewable by any and all that happen upon it. It lives on in documentation, memories and discussions.
- Instagram: @felicella
All images provided by artist