My name is Erica Willey. I'm a 27 year old illustrator who graduated from Kendall College of Art and Design, located in Grand Rapids Michigan, in 2014 with a major in Illustration. For about 4 years now I have been a professional artist, mostly doing freelance work, but have worked for a couple companies such as Folklore: The Affliction and WizMotions. Most recently I took an interest in participating in anime conventions and comic cons, selling my artwork in the well known Artist Allies. This has been one of the greatest decisions I've made in my career yet. Being a cosplayer, attending conventions has been a part of me for some years now. The fact that you can be your true self and be surrounded by fellow nerds is amazing and such a great feeling. Having the chance to showcase art at these events is even more exciting and wonderful!
As an artist inspiration and motivation has to come from some where, and this can change over time. Thinking back to high school I looked up to Salvador Dali and his surrealism for my muze. His work reminded me that you can paint anything you imagine, regardless of whether or not it follows the rules. From there as my style matured, I took to artist such as Brad Rigney, Adam Duff, and much more recently JAW Cooper, Zeen Chin, and Wylie Beckert. The one motivator that has been consistent through my existence, however, has been my family. Through the think and thin they push me forward to do my very best and to never give up.
Unfortunately the creative mind needs a break once in awhile and I fill that time with other hobbies and interest I enjoy. As I mentioned before, I love cosplaying and creating my own cosplay designs. It's so cool being a completely different person for a weekend. At night before I go to bed I read a few chapters in whatever book I am reading (right now it's Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman). And we all know that sleep is incredible. I love naps. Silly, but there is no denying that I take a good 3 to 4 hour nap at least once a week. Other things I spend my time doing when I get the chance are horse back riding, hiking, traveling, and heading to the gym for about a hour, three days a week.
I live a pretty average life, but I hope you've found this interesting enough. I look forward to meeting you all at this coming years Wizard World Comic Cons!