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Erika Mayo

Erika Mayo

Meet painter from Bacolod City, Erika Mayo.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m Erika. A full-time painter based in Bacolod City, Philippines. I specialize in traditional media such as oils and acrylics. I’ve been showing artistic work in collective shows around Bacolod & Manila since 2014.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I am currently based in the sweetest city in the Philippines: Bacolod. All my life I’ve been surrounded by sugar or anything related to sugarcane. It was Bacolod’s main livelihood before everything else. The sugarcane field was my playground as a kid too. Another thing I love about this city is the convenience to get anywhere I want. The traffic isn’t that bad and you can walk from one place to another if the weather’s good. There’s a community of artists in here too that are very supportive of each other. These are the people that inspired me to pursue a career in art. I cannot imagine myself living anywhere else in the country. I’ve got everything I need in here: Family, Friends, Art, and the abundance of sugar.

 

I cannot imagine myself living anywhere else in the country. I’ve got everything I need in here: Family, Friends, Art, and the abundance of sugar.

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Bacolod is a small city and what I love about it aside from the convenience to get anywhere you want is this tight art community. I love how everybody knows everyone, both artists and art enthusiasts. Everyone’s so supportive and the community is so welcoming that conversations about art, mental health, and other social issues that only transpire on the internet happen in real life. Probably the worst thing here, to be honest, is the brownouts! It can get really hot in the summer and for some reason, the brownouts happen more often than usual. It’s not fun painting in the studio without electricity you know!

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Sweet. Challenging. Hungry.

 

How did you start your career in art?

I started joining art exhibitions outside of school when I was in my first year with the help of the creatives I met in our city. Since then I’ve been exhibiting around Bacolod and Manila.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

My family wasn’t very happy with my decision. They wanted me to take Nursing so they could send me to the States. In average Filipino families, the eldest would eventually become the breadwinner. But I persisted and surrounded myself with like-minded people that inspired me to keep painting.

 

In average Filipino families, the eldest would eventually become the breadwinner. But I persisted and surrounded myself with like-minded people that inspired me to keep painting.

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I’d love to explore other mediums to further express my art. I’m actually working on a project for next year (2020). It’ll be different from my usual 2-dimensional works. Also, probably when I have enough wisdom in the future to back up my pieces, I hope to paint more about socially & politically relevant issues.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Tough one because I work better alone, but it would be an honor to witness Marina Abramovic’s creative process.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

I was raised and surrounded most of my life by very strong women. My mother raised me and my sisters alone and my grandmother is my best friend. Growing up in this environment taught me the importance of claiming what we truly deserve as women, that our roles aren’t exclusive to domestic work only, and that we have as much potential as everyone else in regardless of gender.

 

Growing up in this environment taught me the importance of claiming what we truly deserve as women, that our roles aren’t exclusive to domestic work only, and that we have as much potential as everyone else in regardless of gender.

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

In college, I met these amazing women artists in Bacolod (Gwen Decena, Moreen Austria, & Karina Broce). There were around less than 10 of them in the community way back then but I’m glad that recently there are a lot of young women artists getting that well-deserved recognition not only in our city but in the whole country.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

The art industry used to be very masculine a long time ago but women today are claiming their spot not only in art but in all types of roles in the society. Yes, women are still outnumbered by male artists and it’s still a walk in the park for them to show in galleries but we’re working on it. *wink*

 

The art industry used to be very masculine a long time ago but women today are claiming their spot not only in art but in all types of roles in the society.

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

I think the only advice I can give in regardless of gender is to never stop creating. Every time you create, you learn new things and evolve as an artist. It’s an absolute waste of ideas if you never execute. So, just execute all ideas! There will be bad and good but you will never know which ones are bad if you never executed. Also sometimes the bad ideas turn out to be your greatest work.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Erika Mayo.

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