Eric Estrada: “I’ve had three major influences in my life: fishing, music, and art.
I spent every weekend of my childhood in the Keys, from Key Largo to Key West, wading with my parents and fishing from boats and bridges. My father is a sign painter by trade and was always painting. When I hit high school, I began doing graffiti. That phase lasted through high school, and when I was 16 a local well-known graffiti artist asked me to be his assistant. I began assisting him in painting high-end power boats, doing custom graphics on the hulls. I was making $100 a day.
But once I got into college and was studying music, I began fishing again. Fishing quickly took over my life. I would go with a couple of classmates to the nearest canals and lakes to catch peacock bass. Then I actually used one of my financial aid checks to purchase my first skiff: a 14′ Boston Whaler knock-off with a 40 Yamaha.
Then one day that I caught a snook in a canal while trolling Rapalas under a bridge. That one snook intrigued me and ended up leading me to Flamingo in Everglades National Park, where I evolved into a flat fisherman. I picked up my first fly rod in November of 2008.
A few months ago, a friend and I were hanging out at my house. We decided to pick up some canvas at Walmart and take a stab at painting. We started off with a few colors. My first attempt was a redfish tail. It was terrible. So I put the canvas away for a few weeks. But during the Miami Heat playoff run, I found myself pacing around the house. I needed to find a distraction. So with the game on TV, I broke the canvas back out and had at it. The game had put me on edge, but the canvas made me calm. By the time the Heat made it to the finals, I had eight canvases done. I posted them on Facebook and got several offers on them, and ended up selling them within half an hour.
Ever since then, I’ve been painting a canvas or two a week. When I’m not on the water and my mind starts to wander, I break out the canvas and acrylic and have at it.”