Kim Henderson is a digital artist from Yellowknife, NT, now living on Coast Salish Territory (Squamish, BC), whose work is known for its dreamy colour palette.
Henderson began creating with digital software in 2010, when she was introduced to Blender.org, an open source software that’s used for computer assisted design, animation and editing. Although she stepped away from it for several years to pursue other interests, as technology advanced through the last decade and online art communities grew, she was inspired to pick up digital art again.
Henderson is particularly interested in exploring digital art platforms and the different avenues that can stem from digital art, counting among her influences Haudenosaunee artist Alanah Jewell of Morningstar Designs and South American Indigenous artist Eloy Bida. “There’s lots of alignment between my professional work and my personal work as it relates to reclaiming culture and weaving self-expression through technology and education,” she says of her practice—Henderson is currently the Director of Impact and Community Partnerships at the First Nations Technology Council in Vancouver, BC, and previously worked with the Government of the Northwest Territories Department of Health on information systems deployment projects in the territory.
Her artwork is immediately recognizable by its saturated pastel colours. Bold colours are “something I’ve always been drawn to,” says Henderson, adding that it is the palette, rather than the subject matter, which is always the starting point for her projects. She draws on colours from the western arctic, specifically the variation in colours that a 24-hour sun can make in the sky, as well as the changes in air with smoke from forest fires, frost in wintertimes and the vapour of breath below freezing. The western arctic colours are complimentary with Henderson’s subject matter, which is primarily animals and landscape from northern life, although she is beginning to work with figures and faces. “My art reflects who I am,” she says, adding that she hopes to serve as a role model for young Inuit by representing her culture in a modern, technological informed way.
Despite her interest in digital, one of Henderson’s goals for the future is to break into the physical art space by selling prints of her work via a website that she is working on to house her designs. In 2022 she was commissioned by Anguvigaq, the Nunavik Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Organization, to create Inuit-specific clip art images, and has a few more commissions on the way to work with Inuit organizations. “I wanted to work with [Inuit-specific] organizations from the get-go,” she says, “to provide them with any art they might need. It’s important to me that we, as Indigenous Peoples, are seeing ourselves and our cultures in all spaces and aspects of life, whether it be physically or digitally.”
Beyond further commissioned work, Henderson is hoping to break into public art with a mural— Squamish has an annual Mural Festival that she hopes to take part in in future. “The biggest goal is to bring joy to others,” Henderson says. “I’m making art for anyone that enjoys it…If I can create something that someone else likes to look at, that brings them a sense of joy, then that’s the biggest goal accomplished.”
This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.