Meet Erika Just
I was born in a small town in the middle of Austria, where life was rather slow. We children were able to play in the streets, because there were so few cars around, one could count them on the fingers of one hand. We used to draw pictures on the walls, and on the pavements but did not know that maybe we were the start of Graffiti! We were just young children having fun. Due to the fact that World War II had only just ended, we were as poor as church mice. Instead of shoes we had stone age type flip flops to wear on our skinny feet. They consisted of 5 sticks of wood held together by a small leather strap holding them in place. Because of this construction, they were flexible enough to enable us to run about, and jump and play, but the disadvantage was that my skin got caught regularly, in the gaps which helped them to be flexible! One could hear the clippety cloppity sound, from miles away, from the children as they exited school. I do remember also, that the very first time I had an orange, and a banana, was when a generous American soldier handed them out. What a treat and surprise that was.
My dear Father was a very accomplished artist, and seemed to enjoy my being beside him, with me doing my painting, whilst he painted. Sometimes, I even painted little birds myself in his paintings secretly. Many little birds of mine are still flying over his beautiful skies, totally unaware of their provenance!! I think that this was the beginning of my love of art, and my deep desire to paint.
Firstly though, I had to fulfil my mother’s wishes and study at a fashion school, so it was that only after I met my husband, that I started to fulfil my dreams, by taking proper lessons in water colour painting. I was very fortunate to become a student of the renowned American-Hungarian artist Zoltan Szabo, and after him I was taught by Jose Perez, whom I can only describe as a veritable genius .
I am extremely interested in the structure of bodies, and in particular countenances and facial expressions.
Because of my husband’s work in the oil industry, I was extremely fortunate to enjoy life in many countries. We lived in Germany, Nigeria, Angola, with 8 years in Johannesburg, a couple of years Singapore a lengthy stay in Houston Texas.
I was fortunate enough to win a number of prizes, and Blue Ribbon in America. Many of my works have been bought by collectors around the world and a number of my paintings were adopted on cards by UNICEF, helping to raise money worldwide for that incredible charity. Five of my paintings are honored by being hung in the Zoltan Szabo Museum, in Belapatfalva in Hungeria.
I do hope you like, and enjoy browsing, some of my work here.