Saying that it was a pleasure to interview with Camilla d’Errico, is an understatement. Her passion for her work, and fun-natured personality were infectious. Never mind that we dig her work, talking with d’Errico made us bigger fans of her as an artist and a person. She was kind enough to share some of what makes her works what they are and gave us some insight into what drives her creative choices.
Coffee, Comics, and Listening to Her Parents
d’Errico started early on as an artist in comics making ends meet as a barista. She remembered her first San Diego Comic Con in 1998, when she was one of just a handful of women at the show. Looking around DCon, d’Ericco expressed her excitement at the representative diversity in a typical pop culture convention these days.
She remembered how tough it was starting out and how her parents supported her pursuit of art as a career. But seeing her struggle, they suggested she go to college as most parents would. They felt getting a degree would help her cause. Looking back, she thanks them for that nudge. d’Errico explains that going to Capilano College is where she learned about painting. She also remembers being told she wasn’t a good painter. Looking at her work, the list of gallery showings, and successful collaborations, we’d beg to differ.
In fact, d’Ericco shared a story from early in her career of how she wandered into a gallery in Vancouver where they were doing a snowboard show. She had just finished a series of snowboard artwork for Ride, who sent samples of all eight boards to her. d’Errico thought it was a perfect match, she can’t house eight snowboards in her studio apartment, maybe they can be part of the show.
Unfortunately the gallery didn’t take the snowboards but instead were more interested in selling the actual art, which d’Errico explained were just on paper, but they sold. Later, the gallery owner asked her for more artwork but this time on canvas using acrylics. d’Errico said to herself, “Yeah, I’ll give it a shot.” And that’s what launched her into being a painter.
These days you can find d’Errico’s work on more than just snowboards and canvas. She shared that about 10 years ago she realized that people only have so much wall space for prints, and decided to branch out into merchandising. With dye-sublimation becoming more common, so was the trend of wearing art. d’Errico’s work lends itself to fashion and so her fashion line was born.
About two years ago she was wandering around San Diego, where d’Errico ran into a shop that had an amazing collection of vintage plates. She fondly remembered the one piece that grabbed her attention; it was an ostrich head on a woman’s body in a Victorian dress. She was so amazed by the work; d’Errico hunted down the plate designer and started collaborating to start her plate series.
d’Errico explains collaboration has been a big part of her work. She goes out into the world and sees something then reaches out, or someone reaches out to her. If a project feels like the right fit and the timing is right, she’ll go for it as a way to stretch her creative legs into different media. Some of these collaborations have gone into bigger partnerships with Disney, Vizkids, and Hasbro to name a few.
Documentation and/or Commentary
Authenticity in the emotion of d’Errico’s paintings is important to her. The paintings she creates come from some place within her, to drive the concept. When talking about her works, d’Errico described her paintings as her diary and how each show is an entry in that diary. She talked about how she can look back at past shows and remember where she was in her life at the time.
A recent example of this was her show, “Sky,” at the Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles. The concept was a reaction to the division happening in America, a country she has family in, and a country she loves deeply.
“My show, ‘Sky’, was me showing the world, we’re all connected, and we’re all multi-cultured. Every single person here comes from multi-culturalism, and especially America.” She explained that every piece has a sky in it, which was inspired by an Italian saying, “We all live under the same sky.” d’Errico talked about the usage of butterflies, “to show the connectivity. Butterflies migrate and they’re everywhere in the world. They’re transformative; they bring life to the world because they’re pollinators.”
The collection of paintings and drawings d’Errico created was to empower people, “and to show the world that we should love each other’s uniqueness.” She did this by making her most diverse works to date.
Looking to the future she describes the next show will be her interpretation of the Zodiac at the Haven Gallery. This will not be as politically charged but it will be inspired by what she’s connected to. An example is that she might make the Cancer interpretation in honor of her friend/coordinator, who is a Cancer herself.
Camilla the Fan
We asked, “If you didn’t have deadlines and had eight hours to do whatever you wanted, what would you work on?” Without hesitation, d’Errico exclaimed that she would work on her fan fiction, specifically her stories from The Walking Dead. Oh, yeah, she writes too and has gotten some great responses. If you’re interested in her other hidden passion, join her Patreon to get access. Here’s another one that may get you to click, she’s written and vampire novel series. Yeah, you’re interested.
One of our favorite nuggets about d’Errico was finding out she is a big Masters of the Universe fan. Unintentionally, she happened to see a text during the interview that seemed to pull her out of what she was saying. She apologized then explained there were limited Skeletor cereal bowls at the Funko booth and was excited to get one later during the show. No apologies, that got nerd-points with us. She’s just as much a fan as she is a creator.
Which brings us to Bee-ra, one of many of what d’Errico calls her Fuzzbutts. Last year she partnered with Planet Bees to raise funds by doing a series of bees. And the response was so overwhelmingly positive; her Fuzzbuts became another extension of her personality, the fun cute version of herself. She took the opportunity to celebrate her 20-year anniversary at SDCC by creating POP Bees, where Bee-Ra, Harbee Quinn, and BeePool made their appearance.
One Person Making a Difference
We ended our interview on a somber but good note with d’Errico about Stan Lee, no words, we shared sad smiles and the feeling of eyes welling up. Earlier in the interview she reflected on how much Stan Lee meant to her, knowing him and seeing what he has done inspires her. “It made me realize that one person can change the world.” She made the point that everyone starts small but can make an impact. Again, it was more than a pleasure to converse with Camilla d’Errico; she was inspirational. If you get the chance to catch her at one of her many shows, stop by and say, “Hi.” She’s as fun, charming, and inviting as her work.