Erika Martinez

Erika Martinez, an extraordinary artist, was born on September 23, 1983. She moved to California with her family as a child. Erika grew up in Richmond, CA where she practiced as an artist throughout her adult life. She attended NIAD Art Center from 2005 to 2022.

In her work it is very common to find human figures, body parts, animals, feathers, flowers, and geometric shapes. Her work reflects how important her family and friends were to her. Andres Cisneros-Galindo, printmaking art facilitator at NIAD, mentions “As a great artist, love was her inspiration” describing Erika’s work. Erika worked in painting, ceramic, printmaking, mixed media, fiber, and drawing.

Besides being a visual artist, she liked to dance and listen to music. For Erika, music was not just a hobby but part of her process to create art. At all times she listened to music; even when she stopped painting, she danced and sang. Erika was always cheerful and spreading her joy to her fellow artists and facilitators. In the NIAD Garden, during lunchtime, she was always accompanied by Carlota, Maria, Esmeralda, Shanna, Shantae and other friends from the studio. During COVID-19 shelter-in-place, the only way Erika was able to connect to the NIAD virtual studio was thanks to Carlota, her best friend, who connected her to Spanish and Music classes through video callings.

Her favorite song was ‘La Gran Señora’ (The Great Lady) by Jenni Rivera, which she frequently requested to hear and sang enthusiastically. Erika will always be remembered at NIAD as an extraordinary artist she was, as a great friend, and, just like the title of her favorite song, as La Gran Señora.

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Erika Martinez, una artista extraordinaria, nació el 23 de septiembre de 1983. Vino a California desde que era pequeña. Creció en Richmond, CA en donde ejerció como artista durante su vida adulta. Ella ingresó a NIAD Art Center desde el año 2005 hasta el año 2022. En su trabajo es muy común encontrar figuras humanas, partes del cuerpo, animales, plumas, flores, y figuras geométricas. Su trabajo refleja lo importante que eran para ella su familia y sus amigos. Andrés Cisneros-Galindo, facilitador de arte de grabado en NIAD, menciona “Como gran artista, el amor fue su inspiración” al describir el trabajo de Erika. Erika trabajó en pintura, cerámica, grabado, técnica mixta, artes textiles y dibujo. Además de ser una artista visual, a ella le gustaba bailar y escuchar música. Para Erika, la música no era solo un pasatiempo sino que era parte de su proceso para crear arte. En todo momento escuchaba música; aún cuando dejaba de pintar, ella bailaba y cantaba. Erika siempre estaba alegre y contagiando con su alegría a sus compañeros artistas y facilitadores. En el Jardín de NIAD, durante la hora de comida, siempre estaba acompañada de Carlota, María, Esmeralda, Shanna, Shantae y otros artistas. Durante el COVID-19 ‘shelter-in-place,’ el único medio por el cual ella pudo conectarse al estudio virtual de NIAD, fue gracias a Carlota, su mejor amiga, quien la conectaba a las clases de Español y Música por medio de videollamadas. Su canción favorita era La gran señora de Jenni Rivera la cual pedía escuchar con frecuencia y cantaba con mucho entusiasmo. Erika siempre será recordada en NIAD como una artista extraordinaria, una gran amiga, y al igual que el título de su canción favorita, como La gran señora.

 // Erika’s available work //


exhibition history

What’s Cookin’?! ,organized by Terri Moore // NIAD Gallery Exhibition // November 2022

Blow Like Magic In Their Face And Vanish organized by James Sterling Pitt // October 2022

I Belong to Myself, organized by Maria Seda-Reeder // NIAD Online Exhibition // September 2022

Told Through A Line, organized by Risa Lenore // NIAD Online Exhibition // September 2022

High Five, organized by Emma Spertus and Ember Avalos // NIAD Online Exhibition // June 2022

Green Spaghetti, organized by Kayla Risko // NIAD Online Exhibtion // May 2022

Connect the Dots // SAIC Wellness Center, Chicago, IL // March 2022

WIN WIN 10 Silent Auction Preview Exhibition // NIAD Gallery Exhibition // February 2022

Murmuration, organized by Alisa Golden // NIAD Online Exhibition // January 2022

Menagerie on 23rd Street, organized by Prajakti Jayavant // NIAD Windows Exhibition // December 2021

A Year Through the Windows: A Retrospective of NIAD’s 2021 Windows Exhibitions // NIAD Online Exhibition // December 2021

Be Heard. Speak Up. // organized by Fenwick & West NIAD Windows Exhibition NIAD Art Center 2020  

The Rim of Morning // organized by Chelsea Smith Open Window Collective San Francisco 2020

A Kind of Movement // organized by Jay Wehnert Portland Art And Learning Studios 2019 

Ether Here Nor There: Anthony Grant x NIAD // NIAD Art Center 2019

Hailing From Parts Unknown // organized By Curtis Turner NIAD Art Center 2019 

Redefining Contemporary Art // organized by Courtney Eldridge Depot Steamboat Springs 2019

Disability Changemakers // (traveling exhibition) San Mateo, San Francisco and San Jose County public libraries beginning 2019

It’s Complicated // organized by Kathleen King NIAD Art Center 2018

Creature Feature // organized by John Casey NIAD Art Center 2017

Curious Weave // organized by Ramekon O’Arwisters NIAD Art Center 2016

Cities In Mind // organized by Kathleen King NIAD Art Center 2016

Erica Martinez // NIAD Art Center 2016

Welcome To My World // organized by Chris Ashley NIAD Art Center 2015

Absence of Deliberate Silence // organized by Lacey Haslam NIAD Art Center 2015

Wrapped Up In Your: NIAD’s Quilts // NIAD Art Center 2015

Telling It Slant // organized by Courtney Eldridge Richmond Art Center 2015

Making Friends // organized by John Casey NIAD Art Center 2015

City In Motion // NIAD Art Center 2014

Check Your Head: Some Figurative Work // NIAD Art Center 2013

Where Have All The People Gone? // organized by Amy Miller Village Theatre Art Gallery Danville 2013

Yes To The Dress // organized by Peter Gravener NIAD Art Center 2013

You Are Here // organized by Robert Wuilfe NIAD Art Center 2013

press

Star 82 Review Issue 10.1, edited by Alisa Golden // March 2022