We had the good fortune of connecting with Kendra Lee and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kendra, how do you think about risk?
For me risk is necessary, should be accepted, but also respected. It is also important to me to note that risk doesn’t look the same for everyone.

To me, taking risks – and this can be with any risk- you always have the option to just go for it without thinking about the consequences and just hoping for the best. But when you think about it deeply, being able to take calculated risks in hopes of minimizing whatever consequences, can teach you a lot. The risks I have taken in my life, I make sure they are calculated. I’d like to think that growing up, I didn’t heed the call of the void as much as the general population of kids, especially entering into high school, because I didn’t take a risk without going all Dr. Strange on a situation and thinking through the infinite scenarios that could play out based on my risk taking. Risks have helped my grow in ways, where I look back and think I never would have become the person I am today, without taking risks, let alone risks that ultimately challenged me.

Risk is necessary, because its one of the ways you ultimately learn what your made of. By me accepting risk, I am setting myself up to look past any fear that might accompany it, all the while becoming more courageous. I respect risk, because it can knock you back, but its the dance you engage in when it comes to growing as a person.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art can be best explained as colorful, bright, but always seems to have a touch of rawness to it. Most times, my subject is the black female experience. Whether I am exploring spirituality, black history, or just general experiences black women face, I strive to tell a story to my audience, in hopes it helps them see the humanity in us. When I am not exploring the black female experience, I am giving homage to my hometown of Austin and creating the weird. Along with the bright and colorful themes, I typically explore, I love to experiment with what I am drawing as well. Whether its having fun with wacky proportions, playing with perspective, or learning to draw something that’s usually out of my element, I thoroughly enjoy being able to lean into the “weirdness” and create new things.

My road to putting myself out there as a professional artist, was a long one, considering I started art very young, but I was always hit with the notion that a creative career couldn’t sustain a way of living. So I spent my life within the realm of social services and helping with people, but of course I still had my art on the side. But, after awhile, I couldn’t ignore that my cup of service was overflowing, while my personal cup didn’t have drop. Art not only was an activity for me to explore, but an outlet that I felt comfortable being vulnerable in. And at the point I realized I had to start filling my cup, art came out of the background of my life and into the present. After officially launching Blackfruit, vending at local markets, and having my art pop up in galleries, I became drunk off of where this art journey has led me. While I still have a way to go before I can say my art career sustains my entire lifestyle, I know I’ll get there based on where art has led me up until this point.

One of the biggest life lessons I learned through all of this, resides with the idea that we’ll grow into whatever we set our mind on as long as we know how to pivot. Creating art is a lot about being able to pivot and creating something out of nothing. I’d like to think that can apply to life its self.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Considering I love being outside, along with learning about the past, I would take my friend to the Dallas Museum of Art and the Dallas Zoo. Nerdy, perhaps, but it was nature and especially animals that I remember learning how to draw first. Plus, I wholeheartedly respect nature has the powerful force that it is. I’d even suggest the Botanical Garden, seeing how flowers used to be my favorite thing to draw growing up. I always enjoy being able to be outside and at an art market, gallery or museum. There’s just something about the sense of community when you can support local artists and creatives, get down on the food trucks, and admire the moment around you.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My tribe. If I could immortalize them in some way, I would, because without their constant cheering, support, and feedback, I wouldn’t be the artist I am now. Every step of the way, they have been there, and have never steered me wrong. They help keep me grounded.

Website: www.blackfruit.art

Instagram: @blackfruitart

Twitter: @blackfruitart

Facebook: www.facebook.com/blackfruitart

Other: @blackfruitart on Tik Tok

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.