Erika V. Nelson caught polio from her playmate when she was 8 months old in the Philippines. Her illness left her without the use of both legs and partial use of her right arm. When she turned 30 years old, polio came back with a vengeance as Post Polio Sybdrome (PPS), which has progressively taxed her stamina and weakened her muscles. By forcing herself to work a regular job (working 10/7), she has made her condition worse and is still suffering the consequences. Erika also has an extreme case of scoliosis and double vision. As art rep of Erika's Friends, you might spot her on her motorized wheelchair visiting door to door in gallery areas around Orange County. But nothing takes those woes away like a successful piece of art on the easel!

Erika has always been drawn to figurative art. The notebooks she had by age 5 were filled with stick people in villages. Erika had discovered her true talent when people began to order batches of greeting cards from her when she was in grade school.

In a San Francisco high school she attended a science fair for which she was voted to receive a scholarship in Biology from Berkeley University. She turned it down and considered something she thought she would enjoy more which was showbiz or art. After a successful audition at the Paramount Studios, she thought things over further and decided a college education was more promising (probably because she forgot the lyrics to the song she was singing on her first gig -- think?). She won many art awards and scholarships on her senior year in high school. After graduation, she went straight to college that summer.

College found her lost and disinterested until she met her mentor art instructor Don Lagerberg when she was in her junior year. He specialized in figurative art. Erika appreciated his passion for this subject and all the tools Don expertly spoke of that were traditionally used by Old Masters like Michelangelo, da Vinci, and some contemporary figurative artists like John Singer Sargent, Degas, Martha Mayer-Erlebacher, John Nava and Gabriel Ladderman, etc. Lagerberg encouraged Erika to take as much advanced figurative and portrait classes as she could as an undergraduate. It took 5 years, but she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting (a step above a Bachelor's degree). Cal-State University Fullerton was indeed a turning point for Erika because she blossomed as an exhibiting artist roaming the industry on a professional level.

Erika has been published on the cover of American Bar Association Quarterly, and in other collaborative projects. Nelson's work has also been exhibited seen internationally. Her work traveled in a show juried by Frank Stella. By the time the piece came back to California, she had a buyer waiting for the piece from her nude self-portrait series "Wishful Thinking". Her collectors include actress Kim Cattrall, former Attorney General Janet Reno, Marriott Corporation, Daniel Freeman Hospital, NM SCI VA Hospital, and other private parties.

Erika has been a commissioned artist for most of her career. This year, Erika has decided to build up her body of work so she can start exhibiting her work in more galleries. She realizes she has to magically manage her time among her obligations as a loving wife to Scott Nelson, the rest of her loved ones, her Erika's Friends business, her own art, her membership with EBSQ which encourages her to be productive, member of the Advisory Board of the Very Special Arts in Orange County, board member of SoCal-ASOPA (Souhern California Chapter of American Society of Portrait Artists) and member of Saddlebackvalley Arts League.

Look for Erika V. Nelson's charcoals, oils, watercolors, pen and inks and mixed media covering the subjects of figurative art, still life and portraits.

"Self-portrait" 19"x22" Charcoal on toned paper (giclees available at 11"x14")