International Women's Day

ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

To mark IWD, we talked with six artists about the creative women who inspire them


This International Women's Day, we want to celebrate some of the creative women that shape our industry, and the diverse range of work they represent. 

Beginning over 100 years ago with its roots in the labour rights movement, IWD's relevance today is still clear—and our industry is no exception to the conversation. In the UK, the creative industry's gender pay gap stands at a 26 percent disparity between men and women. As a whole, government figures reveal the industry is 60 percent male and 90 percent white, with design diversity resource Design Can reporting worryingly few comparable statistics for people with disabilities.

While these issues can not be solved by IWD alone, March 8th offers an opportunity to promote change, make space for underrepresented voices, and support the work of female artists. It's also a day to educate ourselves on the trailblazing women that continue to lead the way, by bringing often overlooked visionaries to the fore. 

To do it, this year, we reached out to some of our collaborators to talk about the creative women who inspire them, and reflect on what it means to be a female artist in 2021. The result is a curation of incredible creatives, spanning the monumental achievements of women in art, poetry, academia, and music, to explore this International Women's Day.

Simone Noronha

Tell us five creative women that inspire you. 

Shyama Golden — @shyamagolden

Cari Vanderyacht — @vanderyacht

Shawna X — @shawnax

Erica Gorochow — @peprallyco

Jillian Tamaki — @jilliantamaki

What does it mean to be a female creative in 2021 and how would you like to see the industry change this year? 

It’s been really supportive. Whenever potential jobs come up, I’ll often talk to friends to double check rates and get a sense of what it’s like working with similar clients. Having a community that’s welcoming, generous and are rooting for you has been invaluable.

The ways in which I’d like to see the industry change would be with more transparency around rates, contracts and getting people properly and fairly compensated for their work. A couple of good resources I recommend checking out is Litebox and Illustrator's Guide.

Edinah Chewe

List five creative women that inspire you. 

Laci Jordan — @SoLaciLike

Jade Brown — @JadePurpleBrown

Covl — @itscovl

Meg Lewis — @yourbuddymeg

Neo Khama — @designbynk

What does it mean to be a female creative in 2021?

To me, it's about constantly challenging our past selves to create something entirely new within our work. And by embracing who we are as creatives, we allow that to echo and be represented throughout all we do.

I'd like to see a more progressive and wider lens of what artistic expression and creative work can be. This year, I'm becoming the change by following the passions that continue to push me forward, to greater heights. 

Aga Giecko 

Tell us five creative women that inspire you. 

My Mom who worked hard her whole life, raised two kids and just recently started to cultivate her creative talents. It gives me hope that it’s never too late to follow your dreams and develop your skills. I wish I could be as strong and dedicated as she is!

Monika Brodka who is one of my favourite Polish musicians. I have followed her career since her appearance in the polish version of ‘The Idol’ and basically grew up with her tunes in my ear. I love how she is constantly changing and reinventing her creative practice. Just a couple days ago, she released an amazing, new single ’Game Change’ accompanied by stunning visuals. It’s a beautiful statement of feminism challenging gender roles in society, which is a topic, especially important in Poland, where reproductive rights have been rolled back recently.

Magdalena Abakanowicz and her revolutionary work created in Poland under the communist regime. She is widely regarded as one of Poland's most internationally acclaimed artists, but if you think about how dangerous it was to create art outside of the socialist realism, her creative practice becomes even more impressive. 

Amanda Gorman is a true inspiration and an example of how one's passion for art is more than enough to rise above a diagnosis. Her inaugural poem beautifully captured the feeling of hope and reminded us all about the power of democracy. 

Kelly Anna is an amazing inspiration for all the creative, working moms. I love how she is showing all the delights and difficulties of motherhood combined with working within the industry in an authentic way.  

What does it mean to be a female creative in 2021?

It means a lot, I hope we can create a more inclusive, diverse and fair creative industry in 2021 and the following years. I am full of hope that we can progress in terms of representation, equality, tackle the pay gap and empower each other. I believe that in order for creativity to thrive, we will need people from all backgrounds to have a seat at the table and I hope I will be able to do my part!

Jocelyn Tsaih

List five creative women that inspire you. 

Paulina Ho  Paulina and I have weekly check-ins to go over what we’re both working on. We pretty much talk everyday, exclusively on Google Hangouts. I’m always inspired by her excitement around personal projects and that really affects the type of energy I bring when I’m working on my own.

Simone Noronha  I’m a huge admirer of Simone’s beautiful work. Her use of colors, textures, and emotive characters in her illustrations capture distinct and impactful moods - something I strive to achieve in my work as well. 

Camilla Engstrom  I have been following Camilla’s work for many years now and I love how her Husa character embodies the spirit of being a woman. Her paintings are so calming to me. I also love her carefree dancing videos!

Hana Ward  Hana runs an incredibly charming handmade ceramics brand, Uno Ichi, and also has her own painting practice. I simply love everything she makes.

Shawna X  I am truly inspired by how Shawna seems to be able to do it all! I love how her work articulates the human experience through abstraction and visual energy. 

What does it mean to be a female creative in 2021? 

As an Asian woman artist in 2021, I feel like I’m seeing a shift in mentality regarding the type of art that the world “expects” and “accepts” from artists like myself. I am excited that I’m seeing more creatives who identify as women recognized for telling stories through their own voices. I hope that the industry continues to move forward in understanding the importance of celebrating diverse points of views. 

Jasmina Zornić

List five creative women that inspire you. 

There are many creative women who inspire me and who I admire, but I will single out the ones that have left the biggest impact on me and motivated me to create.

Paula Scher is for a reason one the most influential graphic designers in the world. Her work is just iconic, always so inspiring and influential. I would suggest watching Abstract on Netflix that features Paula Scher in one of the episodes. Extraordinary!

Louise Fili Elegant and timeless typography. I’m so in love with her work, amazing packaging design and food-related branding. Her work is so inspiring and the influences of Italy in her typography is so beautiful and warm. You can see so much passion and love in her work. Combination of old and new is so beautiful and these contemporary forms are so iconic and inspiring.

Jessica Walsh Young, bold, successful, creative woman that has already done so much and is always surprising me with beautiful new projects. “Only .1% of creative agencies are founded by women” and she is in that .1%! Super inspiring and powerful message to all creative women out there. Her initiative Ladies, Wine & Design is also a very supportive and motivating project, thank you Jessica and keep going!

Jana Oršolić my amazing typography professor at the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade. Typographer, professor, designer, inspiration. She was one of the first people who had a big influence on me and my love for letters. Her lectures were everything but ordinary, always motivating and inspiring. Her personal project “Be Gentle to Yourself” is a strong and powerful movement that motivates people and helps them, in their best and worst days, to be kind and to love themselves. Jana is a true inspiration and support for all her ex, current and future students. So thankful for her.

Femme Type not a creative woman but a platform created with a purpose of celebrating the work of creative women. Since I follow them I’ve discovered so many talented female artists. They even have a book that celebrates women in type industry and a directory where you can find and discover so many talented female designers/studios/typographers. 

What does it mean to be a female creative in 2021? 

I personally think women are getting bolder, stronger and louder, as they should. There are also many of them who are not and they need our support, to tell them you can do it, be strong and go girl. I got so many positive and supportive messages on IG about my work and page; it is so beautiful and I am super thankful for them. I would love to see more support for creative women as I know how much it means. We as creative females must stand with each other, be proud of our and others success and growth. I can see the industry changing and showing more support to creative female artists, I hope to see more and more examples of this in 2021.

Steffi Lynn Tsai

List five creative women that inspire you. 

Laci Jordan — @solacilike

Lauren Hom  @homsweethom

Ellen Porteus — @ellenporteus

Stephanie Deangelis — @steph_angelis

Katherine Plumb — @kjplumb

What does it mean to be a female creative in 2021? 

Being able to be a role model, a mentor, and collaborator. I would just love to see more women work together and create together as a team and not have to feel like we need to fight for the "one woman" spot on the table. Let's make our own table and have it big enough for everyone.

 

You can explore the work of more female artists at Evermade here. Don't forget to discover more from Simone Noronha, Aga Giecko, Edinah CheweJocelyn Tsaih, Jasmina Zornić, and Steffi Lynn

All images courtesy of artists. 

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