First off, let me start by saying that the street art scene is full of talented individuals, all of whose skill and creativity are not affected whatsoever by their sex or gender.
However, many people would agree that female street artists are under-represented, what with there being an imbalanced ratio of more men than there are women.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, and there are certain reasons for why this may be so.
Some of the reasons speculated include street art (being messy and sometimes dangerous) being seen as a man’s job or world; women not being supported as males are (a few women have indicated an inequality with regards to getting paid for their work); and cultural preconceptions either putting off women and/or making males in the industry less welcoming to females (I don’t know if I believe this personally; I’ve never felt, as a woman, like any male has been unwelcome towards me being in the street art world).
However, everybody has different personal experiences and perspectives and what one person might have experienced might not be the same as what another has. Also, we have to be careful not to blame someone’s behaviour on sexism – they could just be a douche 😉
There are many more reasons offered for the imbalance of males to females in street art, but actually proving the validity of most of them is difficult.
But let’s not get into that!
I just want to highlight some awesome female artists and show you what real badass-ery looks like 😉
So here’s 9 female artists that I think are amazing – 1) because they actively break stereotypes and don’t conform to the ‘norm’ – they just do themselves; and 2) because they’re incredibly talented and awe-inspiring!
*Top photo is of Elle (see #7)
#1. Frankie Strand
Frankie’s murals are big, bright, and eye-catching. You can definitely tell she has a background in illustration – all her pieces look like they could be recreated on paper with poscas or pen and still look similar.
Bold, detailed animals are featured heavily; Frankie says a lot of her work, “explores human and animal anatomy, experimenting with dream-like compositions and macabre, intimate moments“.
Vexta specialises in these bright, beautiful murals that are just so eye-catching you can’t look away. A mixture of animals, human forms, geometrical patterns, abstract textures and bright, bold colours, Vexta’s work has led to an impressively long list of exhibitions, commissions and features in books about street and stencil art.
If you see one of her murals, you can guarantee you’re not just gonna walk past!
What’s also awesome is that in the past year she’s started experimenting with painting layers designed to change colour over time.
#3. Amara Por Dios
Swedish-born Amara’s work is bright, bold and eye-catching! With super vibrant colors, bold line work and lots of tribal-like faces, her Chilean heritage really shines through (she says herself that she takes a lot of inspiration from South America).
Kashink really is something special. She describes herself as an artist, activist, performer and she wears a drawn-on moustache everyday (really). She creates a lot of gender-free art, but she also paints fat, hairy men, often with four eyes and strange facial features.
Her work is as bright and colourful as she is, and she has a very distinctive artistic style that once seen you’ll never forget!
Also, here’s a really cool article about her!
#5. Maya Hayuk
Maya’s work is quirky and really, really eye-catching. The interweaving colours and intricate patterns are made even better by the bright and bold colours she uses. Her work encompasses abstract techniques, psychedelic patterns and geometrical influences.
But the best thing about her work? The multi-coloured drips. 😉
#6. Tamara Aalves
Tamara’s work definitely has a sense of femininity to it, with lots of soft, traditional colours and delicate line work that make it quite obvious that she has a background in illustration.
However, lots of her pieces also have a rough, gritty edge to them that work perfectly with the dainty line work and soft colour palette.
Elle is just badass. She has a background in graffiti and is unashamedly feminine in a lot of her work, which really comes across in her style; lots of pinks, bright colours, bold fonts and female figures.
She says, “When I started, I wanted to be called ELLE, because that means ‘she’ in French, so that people would know that my work was female.”
I think Elle is my fave because she’s very eloquent in discussing women’s issues such as under-representation in the art world, but also actively does her bit to change it by doing exactly what it is she loves to do without letting stereotypes or expectations stop her.
She says, “...it’s traditionally frowned upon to get dirty, climb tall things and be out at night by yourself. But, for me that was even more motivation—I love breaking the rules“.
When Christina found street art she started calling herself ‘Starfighter‘, a striking name for an artist with striking work. She doesn’t like being limited to certain mediums, canvases or frames and explains that once she started looking outside of the restrictions and boundaries that normally exist when creating art, her work got so much better.
These days anything can be her canvas – buildings, floors, walls, structures… you name it, it can be art.
And her work? It heavily features female figures with colours and shading that express the mood of the piece, whilst also connecting it to it’s surroundings.
Estanpintando are a female duo who create work that is incredibly bright, colourful and inspired by nature.
They both have backgrounds in illustration, which comes across in the detail in some of their pieces, and their use of pastels and softer tones mixed with brighter colours really give their work a distinctive, fun appeal.
** All photos taken from the respective artists Instagram accounts! **