Erin Robinson is striking up visual conversations with women that we all know. She literally draws you in, reminding us that visibility comes with a voice and that the conversation starts with community. There is this confidence that envelops the women that take center stage on her canvas. Erin's observations on individuality find beauty in the idea of choice and boldly ignore the often flawed condition of circumstance.
NAME: Erin Robinson | HOME GROWN: Washington, DC | DAY JOB: In transition… But I've been a children's wear designer for many years, for brands such as Baby Gap, Osh Gosh, Carters, and Sears. | DREAM JOB: I would love to create a place where you could find a bevy of creative sources under one roof. I am surrounded by some of the most talented people that I get to call friends. The thought of being able to have this incredible dwelling (which is all laid out in the most beautiful way in my architectural head) with a photo studio, design studio, pr, interior, jewelry studio, fine arts…I could go on and on. It would be sort of like a creative co-op run by a core group of talented seasoned creatives. There would also be a concept lifestyle store in this fantasy space where in house and visiting artists could showcase current work. It's a huge dream… But my mind is always ticking with magic ambitions!
COFFEE OR TEA: Tea | VINTAGE OR COUTURE: I like to mix them up. | SUCCESS OR FAME: Success | SILVER OR GOLD: I got the Midas touch – gold. I'm especially fond of gold leaf. | APPETIZER OR DESSERT: Appetizer | SUMMER OR WINTER: Oh that's easy, SUMMER! I'm like flip flops for life! I like for my feet to be free. | MILD OR SPICY: Spicy | TRUTH OR DARE: Truth is a dare.
Q & A.
JRL: The women depicted in your illustrations are raw with emotion, yet their intensity suggests one should be cautious to approach. How difficult is it to portray fear, doubt, and beauty while still maintaining a connection with your audience?
ER: I just like to draw. I'm not sure what is going to strike me, but when it does I just start doodling. I am drawn to eyes and probably labor over them a bit too much at times. So, the drawings can come off as haunting or piercing in some images. I have a tendency to be in my head…often! And when I do go there I've been told that I look intense or haunting…but I don't feel that way at all. I'm just daydreaming and imagining and coming up with ideas. I guess you could say I'm mostly in a present trance. That's probably the feeling I give these drawings and did not realize it until you asked me this question. They are actually approachable but you'd never know by the way they look.
JRL: Nudity is a theme in some of your work and you have perfected this idea of creating intimate snapshots by way of voyeuristic innocence. Are these specific pieces about owning sexuality or escaping obscenity?
ER: Definitely owning sexuality. I did a vision board for the first time ever for New Year's Eve 2013 and it was hella elaborate! It had ten sections; one of them being sensuality. It was about feeling strong and beautiful in your skin, and owning it with all its perfections and flaws. I like using the word sensual because it feels more naive or free, and natural. It's just all about feeling free.
JRL: What I enjoy most about your work is that your subjects look like women that I know. Who or what serves as your inspiration?
ER: Brooklyn has been a huge inspiration. The women are from many different places, it's this melting pot of stunning, interesting beauty. I take bits from different women and combine images in my head. I love building my own Brooklyndolly.
JRL: What's the title of your autobiography – based on one color and one emotion?
ER: Sigh… Only one color… Okay… Jade Dreamer
Birky Red Summer | Birky Orange Summer | Birky Yellow Summer | Birky Green Summer | Birky Blue Summer | Emoji Heart Eyes | Swami | Cardinal Rules | Lotus Wings | Watercolor Gypsy | Medusa
All artwork created by and provided courtesy of Erin Robinson.
Black and white portrait – Erin Robinson x Kwesi Abbensetts.
Color portrait – Erin Robinson x Gary Dourdan.