If you are not following 'Sisters Traveling Solo' member @ErraTheCreator on Instagram do so right now. Sierra, her real name, is one of the dopest artists we have come across. With over 7K followers on Instagram and growing, Sierra showcases and sells her art pieces online. What we love about Sierra's IG page is how she takes us along as she creates each piece of art from start to finish. After seeing her collection of "cutouts" (blog feature photo), we wanted to know more about her love of art and travel.
First, let me start by saying I am a huge fan of your art. I find myself checking your IG page for new pieces weekly. Can you tell our readers more about your art, and what inspired you to begin drawing?
When I was younger, around 5th grade I wanted to be a fashion designer, especially since my mother sewed a lot of my clothes. I hated sewing myself, but loved the idea of putting clothes together and making patterns. I was also very inspired by graffiti, cartoons, and comic book art. I would carry around a binder full of designs and attempt to sketch graffiti I saw on a wall or cartoon characters. After I started middle school, I stopped drawing. Life got to me and I didn't pick up a pencil again until I was around 21. I started sketching and doodling around at work as a way to stay awake. Then I started experimenting with different mediums, and I was fortunate to gain very inspiring followers on Instagram which allowed me to sell my art. Selling my art helps me fund my travels, and since I love to travel by train I have even more time to sketch ideas while enjoying scenic views. It's all truly inspiring.
Being a follower on your IG account, I see that you cut out pieces of your art and make what you call "cutouts". You then take the cutouts with you on your trips. Where did the idea of making cutouts, and taking them on your trips come from?
It started as a conversation with a fellow Artist. We were discussing ways to illustrate our travels. I remembered seeing various people do similar things with dolls, and even other kinds of cut out drawings (Flat Stanley) and I thought this would be an excellent way to represent myself and my travels. So far I've only taken them out of my city once on a 2 week trip from my hometown of Kansas City, MO, to Chicago, Philadelphia, and Cleveland via train and I really enjoyed it.
I also saw on your IG page that you sell your cutouts to others, who then take your cutouts on their trips. To date, what is the coolest place you have seen one of your cutouts?
I do believe my favorite shot is of my cut out in a Chicago cab in traffic, I thought it illustrated me perfectly. I love big busy cities, and Chicago is my favorite place because I feel so at home there. I love that I am independent enough to hail my own cab and be comfortable. It was a great representation of how I felt in that moment.
Speaking of your travels, tell us about your most recent solo travel adventure, where did you go?
The city of Brotherly Love was my last trip. The main purpose for my trip was to visit the Mutter Museum which was beyond breathtaking. During my stay in Philadelphia, I visited Penn University, Museum of Archeology and Anthropology; in Chicago, I spent the entire day in the Field Museum of Natural History; and in Cleveland, I was also able to take an underground railroad tour in Oberlin, Ohio. I'm a bit of a glutton for history, art, and science.
How long was your trip?
I spent 4 days in each city; Cleveland, Chicago, and Philadelphia, but my trip was a total of 2 weeks. Traveling by train, takes a little extra travel time, but I enjoy the views and being able to create new pieces of art while on the train.
How long did it take you to adapt to your surroundings? Did you find it difficult to get adjusted?
Quite the opposite, I felt like I blended in well until I opened my mouth to speak and everyone on the East Coast thought I sounded like I was from the Country (lol). I enjoy being alone, the freedom to wander and roam, finding great street art, hole in the wall restaurants, and unique shops because I can't resist a good souvenir.
Did you have any concerns as a solo traveler at any time during your trip? If so, what did you do to overcome that feeling?
Not at all. I'm always solo, so I'm hyper aware of my surroundings. I never felt like I was in danger during my trip. I do get social anxiety, but I usually feel better after putting in some earbuds and focusing on some music or a book on tape.
Did you make any new friends on your trips?
Not really, but I was able to meet a lot of Artists I've connected with on social media, even trade art with them. One of the Artists was a Chef and treated me to lunch. It was such a good time. It's important for me to vibe with other Artists.
What were your biggest takeaways from this trip as a solo traveler?
That independence and experience increases confidence
That learning increases confidence
That making the decision to go somewhere, and saving to meet your goal increases confidence
What would you say to those who want to travel solo in the future but are hesitant?
I understand why they would be hesitant, but if there is something you really want to see do it while you can. My grandmother always inspired me to travel, she said "do everything you want to do now, because you might not get to later due to circumstances of life."
Do you have any safety tips for any woman wanting to travel solo?
Research. Research. Ask. Research. Know at least some basic map skills, keep your head on a swivel, and do you.
Where can we follow your journey (blog, IG)?
You can follow my work and purchase my art on Instagram @ErraTheCreator. Feel free to DM any questions.
Be sure to join us and Sierra at Sisters Traveling Solo on Facebook and IG @sisterstravelingsolo