Erika Sanada was born in 1987 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. Currently she lives and works in California.
“My work reflects the weird and the creepy; I am fascinated with the dark side. 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.” - Erika Sanada