Erika Sanada’s ceramic sculptures of puppies and other animals, featured in HF Vol. 31, are sweet yet a little chilling. Her surrealistic pieces give animals a dreamlike quality that draws the viewer in. Their disquieting nature is a reflection of Sanada’s own fears and anxieties in her daily life, which she expresses through her artwork. In her artist statement, she calls this her “dark side”. Sanada is looking to finally conquer these feelings in her new series, which she is now preparing for her next exhibition at Modern Eden Gallery. When we caught up with the artist in her studio, she shared, “I have a generally anxious personality that can be overwhelming at times. I constantly and excessively worry about my health, friends, family, money and everyday things more so than the regular person. This is something I’m fighting to overcome and hoping it echoes in the theme of my upcoming show, “Fighting Spirit.” Although highly stylized, Sanada treats her pieces like real, emotional beings with abnormal qualities. For example, this is the first time that she’s mixing elements of other animals, such as horns, with her canine subjects. As her art evolves, she inserts more details and gestures into them. “I feel my previous work was a bit stiffer, and my new work reflects a more dynamic style of storytelling,” she says. Go behind the scenes of Erika Sanada’s “Fighting Spirit” below, courtesy of the artist and Modern Eden Gallery.