Every festival season, Central City Opera partners with a new visual artist to commission artwork that represents each production. Just as beloved operas are made new by the differing interpretations of its director, the festival artists bring a unique perspective in depicting them.
Erin Robinson is a trained fine artist from Parson’s School of Design and the Corcoran School of Art and has been working in fashion design for over twenty-five years with brands such as The Children’s Place, OshKosh and Gap. A self-proclaimed “arts and crafts gal,” Erin works with a variety of materials to create her artwork, ranging from digital all the way to found objects in nature, with most resulting in a collage-style piece. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and several other well-known publications where she illustrated an Emmy-nominated family piece for the Obama legacy documentary series. Meet Erin Robinson, our 2022 Summer Festival artist!
Where are you from and how does that affect your artwork?
I am originally from Washington D.C. but went to school and lived in NYC for many years. I resided in Brooklyn where I was surrounded by diverse, eclectic and cultural beauty. I loved seeing all the different shades of races, which inspired my work.
What does your art represent? Does it represent something about you?
My art represents representation. As a black artist, I love creating images where my main audience can see themselves. Many of the personal pieces are ethereal and spiritual, which comes from my childhood and me being in my head daydreaming most of the time. There are usually profound, personal stories connected to my pieces.
Erin’s artwork for “Obama’s Legacy,” featured in The Washington Post
Who are your biggest artistic influences?
Ezra Jack Keats, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Betye Saar, Eric Carle and Maurice Sendak
Describe your favorite piece of art that you’re created.
That’s hard! There are a few but I’ll go with a piece called “Note to Self.” It’s basically a message to me, facing myself and the things I’d like to accomplish. To feeling free and authentic and to holding my own hand and reminding myself to soar.
“Note to Self” by Erin Robinson
What advice would you give to young artists out there?
There is so much. With art and being an artist, I find at times that it can be isolating. I tend to be in a bubble and it’s nice to step back, break that bubble and reset, which I do by surrounding myself with a selected, like-minded family of creatives. They are the ones that can feed my ideals at times and we are able to help each other see the bigger picture. So, in that regard, it’s important to have a creative family to put that mirror in your face and help remind you of your gifts, destiny and path.
Have you ever created artwork for an opera company or performing arts organization before?
I have! I’ve done art projects with The Kennedy Center, Arena Stage and Roundabout Theater.
What mediums do you work in? Mainly digital?
Digital is what I’ve been working in the most as of late. It’s still a bit new to me. If I’m not working digitally, you can find me painting in watercolors and acrylics, collaging, sewing, pastels, pencils, found objects in nature, basically any mixed media art. I’m an arts and crafts kind of gal! When I started working digitally I wanted my work to feel collaged and textured. I wanted it at times to be hard to differentiate if it was digital or tangible.
Where can our audiences find your work or learn more about you?
My work can be found under @brooklyndolly on my Instagram and Etsy page as well as on my website, Brooklyndolly.com
2022 Summer Festival Artwork by Erin Robinson
The Light in the Piazza