Six Female Artists We Should All Be Inspired By


We all know about Frida Khalo, whose work is influential and powerful to many feminists today. Here are some more female artists whose artwork and careers we can learn from. 


1.) Kara Walker (1969—present) Walker is from Stockton, CA, and received her BFA from the Atlanta College of Art in 1991 and her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1994. She has built a successful career out of social justice and political activist art, and her work is a meaningful testament to what it means to be a black woman in America. Her largescale 2014 piece, A Subtlety, or the Marvelous Sugar Baby, was a powerful installation piece about black stereotypes and American slavery. 


2.) Swoon (1977—present) Swoon is a contemporary mixed media and street artist that grew up in Daytona Beach, Florida. She studied at the Pratt Institute in 1999 and is now based in Brooklyn. The goal of her street art is to revitalize and beautify a space, and she is passionate about community revitalization. Her work was on exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center in Cincinnati in 2017. 


3.) Francesca Woodman (1958—1981) Woodman is a photographer from Denver, Colorado. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design from 1975-1978, and she moved to New York City a year later. Her prolific body of work focuses on many themes: individuality, surrealism, and the female form to name a few. Her groundbreaking work has influenced many feminist artists and critics. 


4.) Amy Sherald (1973—present) Sherald is a contemporary painter from Columbus, Georgia. She received her BA from Clark-Atlanta University in 1997 and her MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2004. She painted the Official Portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama, unveiled in 2018 and now on exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The National Museum of Women in the Arts describes her work as exploring “the ways people construct and perform their identities in response to political, social, and cultural expectations.” 


5.) Margaret Kilgallen (1967—2001) Kilgallen was a graphic and installation artist from Washington, D.C. She received her BFA from Colorado College in 1989 and her MFA from Stanford University in 2001. She combined street art, folk art, and typography in her artistic practice. Her portrayal of women as storytellers, goddesses, and powerful figures is inspiring to artists and viewers alike. 


6.) Ghada Amer (1963—present) Amer is a contemporary artist from Cairo, Egypt. She received her BFA in 1986 and MFA in 1989 from the Villa Arson École Nationale Supérieure d’Art in Nice, France. Her embroidery paintings focusing on themes such as gender, sexuality, and women’s bodies. Her work inspires many feminists because it is political and subverts the traditional idea of a “proper” woman. 


Learn more about these artists here: