Artist Spotlight: Erin Kendrick's Work Honors Black Women's Humanness

Katie Carey | February 9, 2022

Photo courtesy of Erin Kendrick.

Erin Kendrick honors Black women's humanness in her work.

The visual artist and educator from Jacksonville, Florida examines the contemporary spectatorship and the power of language as it relates to the lived experiences of Black women and girls.

“I believe that Black women have historically been victims of language as our ascribed identities were largely derived from negative depictions that have been distributed via media, art, and social media," said Kendrick. "In my work, the women are not just objects meant to be seen but serve as both spectator and witness.”

The subjects in Kendrick’s work stare back at the viewer challenging inherited perceptions, historical prejudice, and contemporary assumptions. Through the transformative power of looking, the subject becomes the spectator rather than the spectacle.

Kendrick's work is an effort to encourage empathy through both connection and confrontation.

We got the chance to ask Erin Kendrick a few questions about her art practice and about her art business. Read on below for that interview.

You can see more of her work on Artwork Archive's Discovery Platform

TayErin Kendrick. Acrylic & Watercolor Crayon on Arches Paper 48 x 65 in. "Tay is a delight. She loves to be a good helper and she always does a great job. She’s kind, thoughtful and believes in 3rd chances. She loves matching pjs and singing out loud but strange noises keep her up at night."

Has your work changed over time—do you find yourself understanding your art career through different periods of expression? 

My work has evolved in several ways—technical skill, scale, media.

My voice, however, has stayed the same. I have always found inspiration in the stories of Black women and girls, and I always use my artwork to amplify those stories.


Do you have a favorite or most satisfying part of your process? 

Probably about midway through the painting process when the soul of the character starts to come through. That's when I begin to know exactly where the painting process is headed and what the end will be. 

Photo courtesy of Erin Kendrick.

What role do you believe you have as an artist in society

I'm a record keeper, a griot of sorts.

I try to find ways to connect to past with the present in hopes that we as women of color can shape a future for ourselves, in our own voice.


Which routines—art-making or administrative—are essential to success in your art career? 

For me it's about preparing for my retrospective (I teach my students this, too).

I hope to have a career that's worthy of a retrospective one day, so I do the work now to keep track of my artwork and the growth of my business.

Artwork Archive provides a platform that lets me record every work of art, exhibition, location, collector, and so much more. When the time comes, I'll have the history of my career at my fingertips.



Why did you decide to inventory and archive your artworks? 

I started to inventory and archive a few years ago after a mastermind meeting with fellow Artwork Archive artist Princess Simpson-Rashid.

We spoke about creating legacies and taking control of the maintenance our life's work now, in the present. We both have used the platform consistently since then!


What advice would you give an emerging artist during this time? 

Create. Just create. Create good art and bad art. Create art to throw away. Create art to mess up. Create anything and everything.

Somewhere in that process, you'll figure out who you are as an artist. You'll figure out your voice and how to best articulate it. Keep going until that happens and when you get comfortable, do it all over again.


See more about how Erin Kendrick uses Artwork Archive below and see more of her work on Discovery!

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