We had the good fortune of connecting with Eric Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Eric, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always had a natural love and talent for art. When I was younger I used to draw every chance I got and a lot of my early work was completed on family road trips. I would draw pictures of each destination and my skill grew with each drawing. My father took note of my natural love for art and encouraged me to put my skills to work whenever possible. My father believed that for every skill set there would one day come the question. ” What did you do with the talent God gave you?” I started my business as an answer to my father’s question, and for other like-minded artists to see the opportunities to create and empower a community through their artworks.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’ve worked as a contractor in some capacity or another for over 20 years. Having a skilled trade allowed me the latitude to not only shift the trajectory of my life’s path but also to be a part of major community changes and builds over the years. In the last year, my focus has been ERG Gallery, part passion project, part community need. My years in the construction industry taught me that there’s an art to every craft. Whether it be building a home, painting a wall, or creating on a canvas but art is often non-inclusive of the non-traditional artist. At ERG our mantra is “Art lives, where ever YOU live!”. We have the first minority-owned gallery in North County and the goal is to pay homage and work with artists in every medium. What we showcase is a mixture of my own works as well as work from artists everywhere. Currently, we’re showing drawings from an artist as far away as Ghana, Michael Amissah Austin. We hope to expand to a more creative work space and offer inclusive intermediary services that empower artists to keep creating.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My favorite spots in the city would start with ERG Gallery. I enjoy being in my workspace as a creative and you never know who’ll stop by the gallery for a word or a creative session. We also host a men’s group called A.M.E.N. each week on Sundays. It’s a lightly moderated open forum discussion group started by a group of friends and me at a moment of self-assessment. We wanted to create a space for men to come together and have authentic conversations where we could speak freely. About ourselves, our youth, and our community. A.M.E.N. stands for Articulating, Mentoring, Educating, Networking. It’s what we aspire to do weekly. For a great meal, I would take a friend to The Bismark. they’re family-owned and I feel like family on every visit. After a great meal, I would hope my friend enjoyed cigars as much as I do because a trip to Smoke & Sip would be on the agenda. They have a great selection for cigar enthusiasts.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I will always shout out to my family first and foremost. There’s so much I’ve taken from both my mother & father in life, lessons, and leadership. They were my earliest mentors, teachers, and supporters. Though we lost my father his words and example still resonate in our family daily. Both my sisters have brands that call ERG Gallery home, The Good Life Candle Company, and Let’s Book Up are awesome local businesses to support. Not just because they’re family but because as their brother I see the quality of effort they put into their products and service offerings. My wife Keisha Wilson also bears mentioning and is my greatest partner in love and business. My self-appointed “art-sistant” is on my side daily and has been for years. Her love for me, our children, and our family are the daily inspiration for some of my best work. My brother, Mike Frazier definitely deserves a shoutout. His friendship and business acumen have played a part in some of my favorite success stories. He’s also a patron of the arts and his support as a collector inspires me to never put down my brushes. Lastly, our newest endeavor, Virtu Community Enhancement Group, where I get to work with young men in the construction field daily. We not only offer education in a skilled trade but mentorship on life in some of the most underserved communities. The young men on the Virtu work team deserve a Shoutout for choosing a path of community edification, I learn so much from working with them.
Fam Establishment LLC