“In the future, there will be no female leaders. There will just be leaders.” 
― Sheryl Sandberg

BABE #178: ERIN KENDRICK, Owner, Erin is Creative

BABE #178: ERIN KENDRICK, Owner, Erin is Creative

Today’s babe is a self-proclaimed “yes girl” whose daily schedule (which includes the balancing act of five jobs) has us wondering how the heck she does it all. Erin is an activist and entrepreneur at heart, with roles ranging from artist and designer to event coordinator, professor and teacher. Outside of her professional responsibilities, she's a big-time supporter of all-things Jacksonville who always seems to have a new project up her sleeve, and can usually be found creating all the things in her CoRK Arts District-based studio. TL;DR: She's a BWH if we've ever seen one.

The Basics:

Hometown: Jacksonville, Florida
Current city: Jacksonville, Florida
Alma mater: Florida State University; Georgia State University
Degree: BFA, Studio Art; MFA, Drawing & Painting
Very first job: I was a lifeguard from age 15-18.
Hustle(s): Adjunct professor, University of North Florida; Creative Leader, Jacksonville Art & Music School; Artist-in-Residence, Brentwood Elementary; Visual Artist + Owner, Erin is Creative

The Interests:

Babe you admire and why?
Shawana Brooks, the arts and culture developer at Jax Makerspace and all-around dope chick. We have labeled ourselves “creative partners.” A few years ago we started dreaming, discussing and making a plan for the things we wanted to accomplish in the art world, individually and collectively. It’s been great to watch her grow and accomplish so many things over the years. She’s an asset to this city and I can’t wait to see what’s next for her.

Go-to coffee order?
I am black tea kinda girl.

Favorite fictional female character?
Moxie Girl. She is African-American superhero created by (then-8-year-old) Natalie McGriff and her mother, Angie Nixon. Moxie Girl is a little girl who didn’t like her natural hair until she was given a special shampoo that gave her superpowers in her afro-puffs. She uses those superpowers to save the Jacksonville Library from book-eating monsters. There are three Moxie books in publication: “The Adventures of Moxie McGriff” (parts one and two), and” Moxie McGriff’s US History Project, Part One.”

If you could have coffee with anyone in the world, who would it be?
A storyteller like Zora Neale Hurston.

Three words to describe yourself?
Creative, driven, flawed.

The Hustle:

Tell us about your hustle.
I’m a designer turning back into an visual artist/arts educator. I owned an event and stationery design business for about seven years, but I went to school for drawing and painting. In 2016, I took a leap of faith of jumping back into exhibiting artwork. My work was well-received and I’ve been all-in since then. Currently, I’m actively exhibiting my work and I teach in several different capacities. I’m an adjunct professor at the University of North Florida and a creative leader (instructor) at Jacksonville Arts & Music School. I am also an artist-in-residence at Brentwood Elementary through the Lift Every Student program run by Cathedral Arts Project and the Cultural Council. This summer I’ll be launching an online template service for artists called “Artist Types,” Professional Templates for Professional Artists. The site will provide templates and tips for things like artist statements, curriculum vitae, proposal submissions, etc. 

What does your typical workday look like?
My day starts between 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. I work my day job every day until around 3:00 p.m. and then I teach between 3:00 and 6:00 p.m. I go to the elementary school one day a week. I generally work in my art studio some weeknights and some weekends.

What are your favorite mediums to work in?
I mainly use acrylic ink. It’s a water-based medium. I prefer media that dries (relatively) quickly because it pushes me creatively. I have to make decisions quickly in my art-making process and it’s built confidence in my mark-making. I like to describe my process as painting in stains. My paintings consists of layers and layers (and layers) of stains. I apply the ink one to two colors at a time, typically one day at a time. The drying time of the acrylic ink varies depending on the surface. Sometimes it absorbs quickly. Sometime it takes about 6-8 hours. I respect the media. I don’t rush the process. I just work on several paintings at once.

How have your past internships, education and work experiences prepared you for the work you do today?
I’m an education junkie, so I’ve always sought out opportunities to learn. I participate in workshops, conferences, webinars, trainings, etc. on a regular basis. My master’s degree allows me to teach at the college level. There’s an ongoing debate about whether or not artists should go to college. I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone, but I do think it gave me foundation in critical thinking that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere.

What’s been your biggest career milestone?
I would say the Through Our Eyes exhibition at the Ritz Theater. It was my first exhibition after a seven-year break from painting, and the work was well-received. It introduced me to the arts and culture community in Jacksonville and I’ve been thriving since then. I’m grateful for the opportunities that have come my way since then, especially teaching at the college level.

How has your gender and ethnicity affected your professional experience?
It’s really what drives me as an artist and an educator. My gender and race are the point of departure for my artwork and exposing my students to artist of color is essential to my teaching philosophy.

James Robison

James Robison

What’s one of the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your work?
For me it’s really just been time, but that’s something I can control. In order to be the artist and educator I want to be, I have make it a priority. Over the last year, my life has changed completely. I’ve given up an event industry career to make room for the life of an artist. It feels more purposeful.

What is your biggest strength in your role?
I want to be a resource. I’m coming from a background in event production and branding/professional presentation. After jumping back into the art world, I realized how many artists were relative unprepared when it came to presenting themselves professionally on paper—meaning CVs or resumes, artist statements, etc. I’m building an online service that allows other artists and creatives to build a professional profile with ease. This includes artist resumes and/or CVs, artist bios, artist statements, inventories, etc. It will provide templates that are available for download and tips for artist to help get them completed with ease. I’m hoping to have a fully digital service by late 2018 or early 2019, where artist and creatives can build and store these documents online and access them at will.

Who are some women in your field you look to for inspiration?
Wangechi Mutu (artist) because of her voice; Thelma Golden (curator), because she tells the stories; and Erykah Badu (singer), because she’s the original original.

What is your philosophy on work-life balance?
It will never happen, so focus on today and make it a good day.

What helps you wind down and manage stress?
Sleep, Netflix and long showers.

What’s next for you?
I have upcoming exhibitions at Yellow House, Jacksonville International Airport and Cathedral Arts Project.

What advice would you give to a babe trying to break into your industry?
Find your voice and find your mark. Figure out what it is you’re trying to say and figure out how to say it clearly, in your own voice. Invest some time into figuring out what role you play in the art industry—are you just trying make artwork for fun, or as a career? Who are trying to sell to and how are you going to reach them? Learn; none of us knows everything. There are thousands of free ways to better yourself. Get addicted to learning new things and mastering old things. Value yourself. Your name, your mark, your voice and your time all have value. Stop giving them away for free.

Connect with Erin:


This interview has been condensed and eited. 

In partnership with: Beyou Jewelry

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*This is an affiliate partnership. That means when you shop using our links and/or promo codes, a portion of your purchase goes right back to us, so we can then roll out some awesome new things for you. Of course, we only promote brands and products we genuinely stand behind and know you babes will enjoy. 

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