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Erica Norelius

Erica Norelius is an award-winning artist located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Erica’s work has been featured in a wide range of publications--she’s graced the covers of Cornell's literary magazine Epoch, been a finalist multiple times in the International Artist Magazine, and was one of 21 emerging artists under the age of 31 in Southwest Art. Among her most prestigious awards was receiving second honors at the Portrait Society of America’s International Competition in 2015.  

From the Ivy League to San Francisco’s Academy of Art Erica grew up in Ithaca, NY, and spent her first two years of college at Cornell in plant science, and it’s here that she learned to draw. While she had always enjoyed art, she wasn’t sure she had the talent to actually become an artist. A bout with mono her sophomore year gave her time to rethink her career path. She left the Ivy League, enrolled in San Francisco’s Academy of Art University and spent the next four years immersed in art, drawing and sculpture.

The anonymity of urban street scenes Erica lived in San Francisco for five years, and much of her early work reflects the urban street scenes of that City. “My immersion in urban scenes reflected some of the loneliness I felt when I lived in San Francisco, though I came to love this lively city--its captivating neighborhoods and breathtaking vistas. I’m interested in light and shadow within the scene; to me they are reflections of the natural spiritual energies and the constant tug of war which takes place.” Erica’s decision to leave San Francisco and move back to upstate New York was sudden, “I think it was being torn from the City that ultimately made me want to paint it so badly.”

Her work has continued to evolve “No longer a student, but an adult with a family, I’ve moved back to the Bay Area, and my work has continued to evolve. I remain interested in urban scenes, but I have shifted my focus, concentrating on portraits. Rather than anonymity, portraits become very personal. I work with a model, so I’m developing a relationship with a real person throughout the process. I’m interpreting not just someone’s physical characteristics, but over a period of time, it goes so much deeper. If I’m successful, I’m peeling back the layers to capture my subject’s spirit and soul.”

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