For Erin Henry, art is a way to process where she is in the moment. Passionate about her field for as long as she can remember, she progressed from kindergarten dreams to selling her work at just 15, and later briefly attending art school before dropping out to create work full time, all without much overthinking or doubt. It seems her art career was always meant to be, having led to an impressive amount of success for an early twentysomething.
But far more than simply being a talented young artist, Henry is using her work to comment on current issues. So far, her most successful collection is “It Could Be You,” a series of paintings that bring awareness to the unsettling prevalence of sexual assault. A project that premiered right after Time’s Up and #MeToo brought the issue to global prominence, it comprises 50 painted faces, in every color, style, and expression. Henry often gets inspiration for her faces from unknowing people she discovers on Instagram, so she wanted to draw viewers in with the literal possibility a painting could depict them while also commenting on how sexual assault, like this artistic process, does not discriminate. Through her own creative tendency, she brought attention to a much darker topic, which in turn contributed to the increased awareness she emphasizes is necessary to decreasing instances of misconduct.