Everyone has by now seen at least a few pieces of Banksy’s street art all around the world. We know how he’s remained anonymous despite his celebrity for bringing social issues to light. Yet, many people aren’t familiar with women’s street art.
The following ladies are talented and innovative, plus they are getting the recognition they deserve. Some are featured in galleries and museums or they’re getting commissioned to do large-scale murals outside official buildings, but most are still actively doing their thing in the streets alongside paid projects.
Each of the following 10 women has their own signature form of expression, but they all have one thing in common: They love doing their very democratic form of street art, which doesn’t exclude anyone and isn’t created with an expectation to pay and walk through a set of doors to see it.
1. Lady Pink is a New Yorker who was born in Ecuador. She began by painting subway cars in 1979 and landed her first exhibit at age 21.”We defend our artworks with our fists and our crazy courage,” she told the Brooklyn Art Museum. “When you have guys that disrespect you, you’re gonna have to teach them a lesson, otherwise they are going to keep walking all over you.”
2. Hueman received her degree in Design/Media Arts from UCLA in 2008. She often draws on the human condition to create a mishmash of the abstract, the beautiful and the grotesque. She creates otherworldly motion and dimensions on flat surfaces in artwork that can be found on walls and in galleries worldwide.
3. Kashink is a Paris-based graffiti artist with bold murals. She often challenges gender, both in her art and with the penciled-in moustache she almost always wears. She says she got her name from comic books she read as a kid. “It’s a sound of action,” she told Global Street Art.
4. Miss Van is a Parisian Barcelona-based street artist. She’s known best for painting Baroque-era ladies and femme fatales. “Men are naturally attracted and women identify themselves,” she explains.
5. Clare Rojas is a San Francisco based artist who likes to challenge gender roles. Her recent work is a medley of geometric shapes and patterns that are visually arresting. About her street art, she says: “It’s instinctual. [It’s] a way of seeing that is more about feeling than over intellectualizing.”
6. Maya Hayuk is a Ukrainian artist based in Brooklyn, NY. Her childhood is what feeds her psychadelic and geometric murals. “As a small child, my grandmothers would teach me crafts like embroidery, batik egg dying and reciting poetry,” she explains. “This was probably the first and most impactful influence in my life.
7. Olek is a Poland-born New Yorker who specializes in crochet. She transforms objects and spaces, even walls, with her wild signature knits. Her pieces often include animals and sometimes skulls. Visually arresting, her art is sometimes very funny too.
8. Lady Aiko is a Japanese New Yorker who blends traditional Japanese imagery into her contemporary and often abstract creations. “I like the fact I am a woman in a boy’s world,” she says. “I might need an extra step on the ladder but I can still do it.”
9. Faith47 hails from South Africa, where her bold work and messages about equality, spirituality and nature can be found on many street walls. “I love the way that the work [I] do is so temporary,” she says. “Nothing lasts forever. The wind and sun gets it or the buff. It’s a flicker that someone might see and then it’s gone. And did anyone see it?”
10. Shamsia Hassani lives and works mainly in Afghanistan, where she was born and raised. Her work often depicts the restrictive burqa Afghan women are forced to wear. “I believe there are many who forget all the tragedy women face in Afghanistan,” she explains. “That is why I use my paintings as a means to remind the people. I want to highlight the matter in the society, with paintings reflecting women in burqas everywhere.