If you’re a veteran artist or art collector, then I’m sure you’ll know that the art world is full of creative women who are as charismatic as they are talented. But if you’re a newcomer, then you’ll probably need a guide to navigate you through every artist and performer out there.
Female artists are everywhere; we show up to every photography exhibition, every comic con, you can find us on any page on YouTube, and we even pop out of the odd hedge or two.
So without further ado, here are 5 types of artist ladies that you’re bound to come across in the art world, and whether they stay in your life or become merely a fleeting memory; either way you’ll never forget them:
1. The Unapologetically Badass Artist
The badass artist is not a woman for the faint of heart; she is extroverted, cannot stay still for more than a few minutes at a time unless it’s for an art project, and is prone to burst into song at any given moment. When meeting the artist for the first time, be wary of shaking hands with her, as her firm and precise fingers may be stained with all the oil colors of the rainbow. Her wild and untamed spirit resembles her spiraling hair; big, bold, and possibly full of secrets. And she is proud of it. So proud, in fact, that around 60% of her paintings showcase her own face, usually devoid of concealer or mascara but maybe the occasional black or white lipstick, but it MUST be a cruelty free formula.
Speaking of cruelty free, the remaining 40% of her work has a heavy environmental slant. She doesn’t go as far as throwing buckets of pig blood over you if she spots you eating a burger, but she will show you an anti-meat painting or two that will probably put you right off your dinner…
2. The Sassy Zinester
Not often found in clubs or mainstream restaurants, the zinester usually inhabits the more hidden bohemian joints. She is reserved, quiet, but full of enthusiasm about underrated art and crafts. Her strong opinions on racism, transphobia, sexism, and other feminist issues seep into conversation regardless of the subject, and her eyes light up when her heroes such as Sylvia Rivera or Pussy Riot are mentioned.
Be careful of the secret language of the zinester; they speak the way they write; short, sweet, and with a lot of exclamation marks when they leave their comfort zone. They have no time for long complicated sentences, they get to the point and they hope you will too.
If you spend a lot of time with her, expect cute birthday and Christmas cards made with cut paper and washi-tape, filled with puns about destroying the patriarchy alongside you. The downsides are that you may experience quite a few paper-cuts…
3. The Performance Artist
You can usually find the performance artist in the middle of the street, awaiting their next show. She prefers the outdoors over a stuffy art gallery, and her art follows her there. Her canvas is the body she inhibits; the interpretive dances, the fine selection of ironic objects glued to her face and back, the political message written in lipstick across her chest, anything and everything goes so long as no one else tells her what to do.
Like the badass artist, she is bold, she is proud of her natural hair and isn’t afraid to show off her bare skin. But wigs, fake eyelashes, costume jewelery, and bright colorful jumpsuits are also on her list of faves. She can do it all, and isn’t afraid to go big or go home.
4. The High End Artist
Usually just as attractive as the paintings she creates, this posh artist is often seen in the latest trending fashions, having just been signed by the latest major art gallery. She has so many high end art galleries under her belt that she is practically a celebrity. She knows how to haggle, so you may find yourself leaving the gallery not with one of her newest pieces, but with a date. When she’s not delicately dripping water-colors over tiny expensive canvases, or spending hours drawing single abstract lines, she spends a lot of her time hosting dinner parties and browsing Bed Bath and Beyond for her 86th scented candle.
Despite her rich and posh image, deep down she is a girl of simple pleasures. She may deny her love of fast food, but get her alone and she will go to town on a Big Mac, she may pretend she despises reality trash TV, but she can’t deny that she hasn’t at least thrice fallen asleep to a re-run of Keeping up with the Kardashians at 1am. This doesn’t mean she’s fake, but it does mean that she’ll take a while to open up to you, so in the mean time just let her love of art pave the way for your friendship.
5. The Digital Feminist
Similar to the zinester, the digital feminist artist is concerned most with political conversation and personalized art that reflects their own agency and soul. The feminist artist spends most of her time online, writing poetry and editing photography that is free to view, because who wants to condone Capitalist ideals? If you stumble upon the artist on Tumblr, or in an indie cafe, be ready to leave the situation with a packed vocabulary of social justice terms, and a backlog of female artists you need to check out.
Like most feminists, she has a large following on Facebook and Instagram, posting her political graphics not for ‘likes’ or shares, but to spread the message of enlightenment and justice. She is always seen tapping away at her phone or laptop, so if you have plans to lure her away from the web, then you’ll probably need to waggle a Roxanne Gay or Margaret Atwood book in her direction.
The digital feminist may be intimidating at first, I know this because I’m one of them, but she won’t attack you for not knowing the latest intersectional news, she won’t grab you by your collar if you indulge in a little cultural appropriation…but you may get a lecture or two, and you may end up in one of two of their poems under a fake name…