Erika Ranee Cosby (born April 8, 1965) is an American contemporary painter. She is the daughter of philanthropist Camille Cosby and comedian Bill Cosby.
Erika Ranee Cosby was born upon April 8, 1965 in Los Angeles, California, the oldest of five kids born to Camille Olivia (née Hanks) and William Henry Cosby, Jr. All five of the siblings' names began similar to E, for "excellence." Erika has two active siblings: sisters Erinn (born 1966) and Evin (born 1976). Her brother, Ennis Cosby (born in 1969), was murdered in 1997. A younger sister, Ensa Cosby (born in 1973), died of kidney disorder in 2018.
Following tall school, Cosby attended Wesleyan University, graduating in the same way as a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1987. After Wesleyan, she attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1989. She later attended the University of California, Berkeley and graduated in 1991 following a Masters of Fine Arts.
Following the exploit of her MFA, Cosby attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Maine for a nine-week summer residency course.
David Driskell wrote that Cosby's artwork "concentrates on image perception, especially the media's debasing stereotypes that fiddle with the practicable qualities of people through negative representation... Through the use of satire, metaphor, and allegory, her acquit yourself examines the intent and the effect of these untouched images upon African American culture." She focuses on abstract pieces.
Cosby was the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting. From 2009 to 2010, she was an artist in quarters at the Abrons Arts Center, and was awarded a studio take over from The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation in 2011.
In 2012, she was included in Jayson Musson and Marilyn Minter's group feint at the New York's Family Business called "It's a Small, Small World."
During 2012 and 2013, Cosby worked as an accessory art professor at New York University along subsequently Huma Bhabha, Dike Blair, Wayne Koestenbaum and others.
One of her pieces, called Hanging Out To Dry, was shown at the 50th anniversary of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art in 2014. The painting was a large, bright, impressionist work. Cosby explained the painting with, "The positioning of the dolls hanging from a clothesline, in an upside-down trajectory as they are suspended in perpetuity, suggests an uncertain later status. The expressionistic paint rendering and predominant use of red are a bodily interpretation of the persistent and relentless distortion of black imagery in our culture." The gala was attended by her parents, Latanya Richardson Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Johnnetta Betsch Cole, and James Staton, among others.
In July 2015, Cosby was the curator of a pop-up charity art action in artist Jennifer Coates' Brooklyn studio called "Eye Contact." It featured art by Cosby along afterward art from Rina Banerjee, Ellen Gallagher, Nina Chanel Abney, Ella Kruglyanskaya, David Armacost, Lauren Gidwitz, Scott Grodesky, and Ryan Schneider. Cosby stated, "I started thinking practically eye imagery after watching marchers carrying artist JR's banner of Eric Garner’s cropped eyes."
Works by Cosby have been featured in galleries such as SALTWORKS Contemporary Art, the Arlington Arts Center, Slate Gallery, Artspace in New Haven, the Allegra LaViola Gallery, and The Last Brucennial.
Cosby is a benefactor of the summer institute for A Long Walk Home, an art-based sexual invasion awareness program in Chicago, Illinois.