So the story goes something like this, young 24 year Erica Rodriguez somehow finds herself on Craig’s list and spots Los Angeles Contemporary Art Exhibition, otherwise known as, LACE. LACE meets Erica, Erica meets LACE, gets hired on a summer internship. LACE hires the young American born Mexican and thus, a star is born. While in high school, Rodriguez became interested in photography and started filming performances, friends, and family.
Her father noticed early on that she was talented and so presented Erica with her first camera. “I wanted to keep something to have as memories for the rest of my years” said the young photographer. Her love of picture taking snowballed, eventually leading Erica to become photo editor for her yearbook class. Her recognizable talent showed through when she started taking pictures of her senior class. Erica showed the pics to her high school professor, who really liked both the photo Erica’s original ideas for the yearbook layout. Erica’s imagination sprang to life as she began to put her creative mind to work and come up with pictorial themes. This inspired the 24 year old to continue to build up her portfolio. As Erica transitioned from high to college so did, her thirst for photography, and a camera soon became her constant companion. Even when she went to dinner, she would take pictures of her food and so her reputation started to soar. One of the professors in college discovered that she liked shooting and was teaching still photography. He invited Erica to become a photo documentarian at the first gallery showing held at UC Merced, in Merced, California. Rodriguez started going to every event at the gallery and taking pictures, “I like action shots” Erica said. During my final years of school, I entered an art contest, at UC Merced Bobcat Art show. I noticed that some of the kids at my school presented their work at the show. They encouraged me to enter the contest and told me they thought I that I could probably win. I did not feel that I could win, because I was not at the same level as everyone else, although they really believed that I could do it. When I won first place in photography it gave me the extra boost that I needed. Thereafter I was able to work for school events. Eventually, people began to take notice. After that, I committed to taking photos and decided to stick to my background of photos and documentation. I had a friend that liked my photos and asked if I could take some engagement pictures for her. I like doing a little of that as well. I was actually looking for work online for internship opportunities and discovered that LACE was looking for a documentarian intern. It was the perfect opportunity. I checked other places and most had archival internships, gallery guide, or production assistant.
I applied to LACE and they called the next day for an interview. After an incredible experience at LACE, I saw an announcement on the VoulunteerMatch.org site saying they needed volunteers to help with public events. Since I already had some production experience, I then decided to help them with their events. After emailing the Development Associate where I presently work, she contacted me and told me all about the position, what time it was and what I should wear. As we were talking, she noticed that I had documentation experience from interning at LACE so she introduced me to Nicole, my present supervisor, who is the Director of Community Services and Outreach. The Director of the 18th Street Art Center told Nicole that because of my analytic background she thought that I would make a great documentation assistant”.Because of Erica’s interview and with her background as a volunteer and photographer for art programs with LACE, the 18th Street Arts Center presented her with an offer this February 2014. In addition, Erica was given the centers Image Archiving position. In addition, Erica writes artist biographies at the 18th Street Arts Center. 18th Street sits perfectly in the small nook of the corner of 18th and Olympic. Closed off from the streets in a Zen garden like cul-de-sac, the Center nurtures young adults from close by Urban areas.
In this position, Rodriguez receives and reviews photos and any past images not used by other photographers. She files and categories the images and sends them to artist that need to post on their social media pages. In addition, some of those images are submitted to the 18th Art Center for press and other media outlets. As a Mexican American, Erica explained the amazing support that her family gave her particularly, her father. Rodriguez interprets for her parents, runs small errands and does as much as she can to help her them out. “They are not like those traditional Mexican parents”,Erica says.
What does the future hold for this bright, rising star? According to Erica, her plans are to continue building her portfolio and taking photos of the people places and things that bring her joy. In our opinion, this sugar kissed and gifted photographer could very well, give the world’s lead image-makers a run for their money.