Artwork by Eric Anaya
Profile by Amelia Anthony
I recently witnessed Eric weave straightfaced through a busy Saturday night in Little Tokyo, holding up a fresh pastel drawing of an alien (see below). People reacted as they always do: some laughed, smiled a bit cautiously, gave him a blank stare, veered away. He was unfazed and continued his way to The Smell, flashing his sketchbook to passerby. It was a fascinating not-quite-social experiment, and a most quintessential Eric Anaya move.
He can be characterized by a single earring, a possibly-sly grin, and seemingly boundless charm. Despite an endearing ego, Eric is never be boring to be around; he is rarely in a bad mood and is always bleeding ideas. He calls himself a “progressive,” not in the political sense, but in the way he’s always on the go, antsy, hyperactive. A recent epiphany left him with a careful grasp on the universe and a knowledge of exactly what he wants to do with the rest of his life: make music and kiss cute girls. Eric is a romantic—a lover of the beautiful and feminine. His art, which is also “progressive” in its span of multiple mediums, reflects Eric’s affinity for aesthetic yet frenetic work.
Eric’s manifestations in the tangible world are his instantly recognizable illustrations. He wants to make the viewer feel while providing them with something beautiful to look at. He aims to tell a story, like Norman Rockwell, but leave some things open to interpretation, like Cy Twombly (both are artists he mentioned when asked about his favorites).
His filmography includes several short films and the artistically adolescent music video for Super Lunch’s “Vibe on This.” Often featuring his best friends and series of short clips and stills, his directing produces youthful, tastefully whimsical goosebumps. He likes symmetry, shadows, proportion, and the prospect of “giving people something to look at.”
Ian Flowers is yet another brainchild of Eric’s. The dance/vibe band features himself as a vocalist, Zach Zepeda on guitar, and Nathanial Young on drums. He performs with contagious confidence, serenading about how absolutely rosy for you he is. Ian Flowers is Eric’s first musical output, and he is thriving.
I feel privileged to work with Eric on his next endeavor, a film called Lily and Cosmos. The plot is simple: a space girl and her monkey sidekick have come to Earth from a different universe and are trying to get back home. They run into obstacles in the form of people, society, and the norm of a world so different from their own.
I was running out of questions to ask Eric for this piece when he said, “let me talk to you about life.” This led to a twenty-minute discourse on the human being’s primal needs of routine and cycle, the nonexistence of time, the inevitability of death, and chicken nuggets. The conflict within Lily and Cosmos could be self-reflective—characters operating at their own pace and rhythm battling a world hesitant to embrace such people. But in Eric’s case, he is proving to be successful.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Eric Anaya (softeric) is 18 and a graduating senior at Monrovia High School. View his other work on Tunnel here.