A Spotlight on Female Identifying Artists
In recent times there has been an awareness campaign brought on by many concerned individuals, about the lack of representation for female identifying artists in the art world. As I am one of them I can assure you this is a real thing. I myself have experienced being passed over for male identifying artists because they were “easier to work with”. While this was not a fun experience, I’ve moved past it with a fuck you and "I'm going to show you how many amazing female identifying artists there are and write a damn book about it! "-attitude.
But first I'm gonna start with this blog as this is my stepping stone into creating that project.
Moving on to present movements: On social media the hashtag #fivewomenartists has been going around. Before we get into this, I feel we should amend this to female identifying. I have friends who identify as trans women and I find it offensive we still do not include their feelings of erasure in our society as paramount to the conversation.
The hashtag was started with good intentions and motivated by such places as the The National Museum of Women in the Arts. Unfortunately, when I see bigger name galleries like Saatchi Art try to cash in on the movement I have mixed feelings, especially when their international women’s day promotion still featured more than 50% men. They themselves are a part of the problem, seeing as they only follow market trends, which in turn are mostly dominated by men. And as it has been globally documented that men still have more job opportunities, higher pay and better chances at art world success, it is no wonder we don’t see more female identifying artists succeed in the world. I applaud them for starting to be inclusive, but hope for something more than just a market trend cash-in and that they actually start a program specifically attached to supporting female identifying artists.
That is why with my blog today, I have asked friends of mine who identify as women to name 3-5 of their favorite, inspiring, amazing artists, in hopes that we can better expand the breadth of our knowledge and counteract the rampant sexism, still pervading our society.
Lara Kaaa- Writer of and about games and comics. Find her @ Twitter
Ariela Kristantina - Deviant Art
I fell in love with her art reading “Insexts”, an erotic body horror comic book. Her mixture of classic Indonesian art with western comic style is fantastic. It constantly switches between 18th century paintings and action packed horror.
Tillie Walden - Personal Website
Tillie Walden is a young cartoonist and illustrator from Austin, Texas. Her big one panel pages of “i love this part” are wonderful and she captures the emotions of the two characters with just a few lines. Setting the two girls like giants into landscapes gives their relation a dreamlike notion.
Leila del Duca -Image Comics
Similar to Kristantina's work, Leila del Duca mixes Asian and Western style but swings more in the direction of classic Japanese art. I'm a sucker for mythical creatures and the rich Japanese mythology was always my favourite. Check out her awesome style in “Shutter”.
Natasha Allegri - Tumblr
If it comes to drawing cute only a few can compete with Allegri's bubbleheads. I wish she would draw a “Adventure Time: Fiona & Cake” ongoing series. Whenever I feel down I come back to that trade she did with Pendleton Ward and I immediately feel better.
Hwei Lim - Personal Website
To complete my love trilogy of Asian art, Hwei Lim's watercolour drawings are just gorgeous. Visually innovative and rewarding. Triumphantly, her art remains entirely accessible, with the reader never feeling lost upon the page, unsure of where to travel next.
Dina Farmer- Mom's Gonna Snap - Photographer | Mom | Gamer - vlog about gaming, parenting and traveling.-Youtube
Alice Proujansky, is a documentary photographer covering birth, motherhood and identify. I discovered her work shortly after the birth of my son. The raw way she captures birth around the world stopped me in my tracks. She explored birth in a neutral manner withholding personal judgment in her photos. Most of her work is moody, unapologetic, and completely open about the subject matter. Proujansky documents her subjects in an unobtrusive manner. I truly admire her as a documentary photographer and mother. The most interesting part of her work is she wasn’t a mother before she began her photography journey. Regardless, of the shift to mother her work continues to produce raw stories full of emotion and neutral viewpoints. The best part of all of her projects, is that she doesn’t appear to have agenda but rather shoots with informative story telling. I truly love her dark and moody black and white. Those photographs of birth in classical black and white are what drew me to her work. No distractions of color just simply being.
Carrie Mae Weems is a photographer and artist working in several different mediums. I was introduced to here during art school and was struck by her kitchen table series. Her photograph speak volumes about family in this series. Regardless of the subjects it is beautiful to view everything that happens around everyone’s kitchen table. These composed photographs use the same setting and same lighting. The situations that happen around the table are beautifully staged, full of life and drama. Perhaps one of the most influential photographers of our era she deals in mostly black and white. I love her use of a single light source in a few of her series that really tells the viewer this is the most important thing in the image. There are no distractions only what Weems wants the viewer to see. It is highly directive and powerful storytelling. Her very selective use of color makes her work some of the most interesting I’ve come across.
Vivian Maier was a street photographer and a nanny, unknown to the world until boxes of negatives where discovered in her apartment in a couple of suitcases. The most amazing thing about Maier is she never set out to become a photographer. Instead she remained a nanny for most of her working life, and document happenings on the street around her. The beauty in her work is Maier simply shot things she was interested in on the street. She snapped photos when the mood struck her. I love how she shot a variety of different subjects from the upper class to the low class. She never represented anyone better than anyone else; instead she simply shot what she saw. The vast majority of her popular work is in black and white, again removing any distractions from the photos. A powerful photographer discovered well after her passing.
Ashley Wilson- Geeky lifestyle blogger. Defining characteristics: cat lady, beer lover, & generally geeky gal. HerGeekery
Firstly, you (Awww, I feel so loved thanks Ashley!) are one of my faves, my dear. I love that you're not afraid to touch on taboo topics like sexuality and politics in your art, and that you're constantly promoting self-love. Your art style is freaking awesome and I'm always blown away by how beautiful such macabre (and sometimes super creepy) pieces can be. You're also an awesome person who I would love even without the art, of course:)
Another favorite is Liana Kangas. First of all, she's a fabulous person. Second, her art is just gorgeous! Her style is so uniquely her, and I always love how her colors and line work come together.
Kay Nyman is another fave. She can do it all! I've seen portraits, fan art, still life...everything she does turns out amazing. I also love how passionate she is about spreading happiness with her art<3
I'm also a big fan of Jen Bartel. She's all about creating art focused on strong, badass ladies. Her pieces are so vibrant and colorful, and I think her message of female empowerment is such an inspiration
Finally, I would like to list some of the female identifying artists that inspire and motivate me.
One is Maya Kulenovic, she was an artist I discovered when I first moved to Europe in 2012. Her dark palettes and tactile oil paintings of people, create an atmosphere within the piece that tell stories of beautiful sadness without words. I attended a show of hers at Morren Galleries in Amsterdam after a pretty heinous bike accident, but it was worth suffering the bruised/bloody knees just to gaze into her work for an hour and be lost in the countless stories of people unknown yet familiar in emotion.
An artist I had the wonderful experience of sharing an atelier with for a year and a half, was Moran Sanderovich. She was a constant source of inspiration with her creative energy always buzzing around the studio. She felt like a kindred spirit, I have fond memories of working into the night painting, listening to Tom Waits and having her working on one of her latest gorgeous, monstrous creations. If you are ever in Berlin or the EU look for a show with her work. It is a full on immersion into her world which I highly recommend. She primarily works in creating masks, sculpture installations and performance art which challenge identity norms and force viewers to reevaluate their ideas on human structures. Also a big theme in her work is war, bloodlust and equating established aesthetics of those with butchery and sexuality.
The next few artists are ones I have recently discovered through research connected to a book I'm working on about Female Identifying Artists who work in the macabre field of art.
A.W. Sommers is a multi-media artist with a flair for creating art works which feel like their own microcosm. I recently found her work through Last Rites Gallery in NYC, home to a wide variety of macabre artwork. The textural movements of her paintings combined with the wood containers that sometimes hold them and various smaller objects placed thoughtfully inside the pieces, create a world that gifts the viewer with exploration and a deep feeling of searching for lost or buried treasures of the body, mind and soul.
YAŞAM ŞAŞMAZER is an artist I recently discovered through an art gallery here in Berlin called Berlin ArtProjects , who have an array of interesting artists, so give their website a look and be inspired.
ŞAŞMAZER's life-sized sculpture of a person holding a leash attached to a monster is something I have seen in my dreams... or more aptly, nightmares. It is also a feeling that I think some people can relate to. These demons or creatures within us created by our environment and also by our genetics, which we fight with daily for control over how we act, think and engage with the world. Again if you can catch a show with her work, I highly suggest visiting it.
Tara Sellios is another new find for me in my research hunt for more macabre female identifying artists. I am forever looking for every type of artist in any medium within the realm of art, who has a unique voice while also engaging the viewer on different levels of thought and feeling.
A photographer and installation artist, Sellios creates scenes of animal skeletons, skulls, insects and butterflies, meticulously hand crafted into environments often depicting fantastic moments of struggle.
The above piece is one of my favourites of hers, it captures a feeling close to my heart.
At the end, I hope that you have been inspired and found new artists to fall in love with, I know I certainly have. Many thanks to all my friends for contributing, you inspire me with your stories everyday.
Love to you in these crazy times and don't forget to take a breath once in awhile, look around and see all the beautiful things that are here with us too.
What does art make you feel? What do any of the artists listed here say to you? Can you connect with them on a personal level? I would love to know.