Profile: Sedrick Huckaby (1975-)

Sedrick Ervin Huckaby is an American artist known for his use of thick, impasto paint to create murals that evoke traditional quilts and his production of large portraits that represent his personal history through images of family members and neighbors. Huckaby has worked with images from quilts for many years, moving them from background components of portraits into the subject of his work. He was interviewed about his quilt-influenced abstract work in a podcast for Painters Table.

Biography

Huckaby is a native of Fort Worth, Texas. As a child, Huckaby spent time drawing characters from TV shows such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Battlestar Galactica. While in high school, he attended classes at the Modern Art Museum, where he met fellow artist Ron Tomlinson, who encouraged Huckaby to pursue art as a career. He studied art at Texas Wesleyan University before receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Boston University in 1997 and a Master of Fine Arts from Yale University in 1999. He has lectured on the Grant Hill Collection of African American Art at the Dallas Museum of Art, and through The Artist’s Eye series at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. He is currently an associate professor of painting in the Department of Art and Art History at UT Arlington, where he has been teaching since 2009. He is married to artist Letitia Huckaby.

Works

His 2008 series Big Momma’s House includes 65 paintings, pastels, and drawings created over a two-year period. The focus of this collection is his maternal grandmother, Hallie Beatrice Carpenter, the matriarch of his family and more affectionately known as “Big Momma”. His work “A Love Supreme (Spring)” is based on the jazz song of the same name by John Coltrane, and depicts a series of quilts draped across the canvas emphasizing weight and texture. In this mural sized-oil painting, the painted folds of brightly colored fabrics mimic the rhythm and syncopation of Coltrane’s jazz hit while paying homage to his grandmother’s traditional African-American quilts. His series The 99% – Highand Hills is a collection of portraits inspired by the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement, showcasing the economic disparities of the U.S. population through sketches of community members alongside quotes from each person. Huckaby’s paintings are featured in a February 2020 issue of National Geographic, on a story of Clotilda, the last known slave ship to reach the U.S. in 1860.

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