Inspirational Female Artists

By Amanda Moses 

Art is an intuitive talent; one that is born within the artist and is nurtured over time. In light of March being Women’s History Month, the Spring Creek Sun has listed a few notable artists around the world, who have broken gender and racial barriers, and continue to be an inspiration for all to behold.


Ava DuVernay is an Oscar-nominated director, whose catalog of work consists of Selma (A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s voting rights activism), 13th (a documentary on the struggles African-Americans undergo within the prison system), and this month’s box office release A Wrinkle in Time. She is also the first African-American female director to be nominated for both a Golden Globe and Oscar. DuVernay continues to be an inspiration with her poignant films and her dedication to empowering black artists in an inspiration with her poignant films and her dedication to empowering black artists in independent films with the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement. Earlier this week, DuVernay announced she will be directing a DC Comics superhero movie entitled, New Gods. (Photo: Dean Moses)

Jane Campion is an Academy Award-winning director and screenwriter from New Zealand.
She is the first woman to win a Palme D’Or at Cannes for her film The Piano, which also earned her an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. In 1994, Campion was only the second woman to be nominated for Best Director. Since the Oscars first aired 90 years ago, they have only nominated five women for best director: Lina Wertmuller for her film Seven Beauties (1977), Jane Campion for the The Piano (1993), Sofia Coppola for Lost in Translation (2004) and Kathryn Bigelow won for her film The Hurt Locker (2010) and Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird (2018).

Carolyn Davidson is a graphic designer who made one of the most iconic sneaker symbols, the Nike logo. Although her design has been a staple of the Nike industry for the past 50 years, she is not well-known for her design and was only paid $35 for her work at the time. After graduating, Davidson worked for Nike for several years and was later given a recognition gift from Nike in 1983, which was a golden ring with the Nike Swoosh symbol and a diamond in it, and 500 shares of the Nike stock. The concept behind the logo was to develop something that involved motion but was simplistic enough to look good on a sneaker. In 1971, Nike (which is named after the Greek Goddess of Victory), began their company operations using Davidson’s design.  

Frida Kahlo de Rivera was a Mexican American self-portraitist, whose work renders Mexican culture in creative and colorful beauty. Much of her work showcased her personal struggles from her painful injury from a bus accident, her heartbreaking miscarriages, and her tumultuous relation-ship with Diego Rivera. She also had internal battles with her works critical perception. Kahlo truly poured her soul into her paintings. Some of her famous works are: Henry Ford Hospital, The Suicide of Dorothy Hale, The Broken Column and The Two Fridas.

Teresita Fernández is a sculptor based in Brooklyn, New York, who became the first Latina to serve on the US Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) (appointed by former President Barack Obama), which is a panel that helps advise the president and Congress on national “matters of design and aesthetics, as they affect the federal interest and preserve the dignity of the nation’s capital,” according to the CFA website. Her work is often inspired by natural phenomena and uses minerals to create installations that depict meteor showers, fires, and other beautiful wonders of the earth. Her largest instillation was in 2015 entitled “Fata Morgana,” and is located in Madison Square Park.

Maya Lin is an architect and sculptor famous for several structures, which include the
Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Civil Rights Memorial and Museum of Chinese in America. She has been awarded the National Arts Medal (2009) and was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by former President Barack Obama. She has served as a board member of the National Resources Defense Council and a member of the World Trade Center Site Memorial design jury.

Billie Holiday is an infamous jazz singer, who has inspired artists for decades with her melancholic melodies, hauntingly soothing voice, and poignant lyrics on African-American struggles and heartbreak. Holiday’s given name was Eleanora Fagan, and while undergoing a troubled childhood, sexual abuse and a difficult relationship with her mother, she often turned to music, particularly musicians Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong. Her musical career began at 18 years old when producer John Hammond was marveled by her performance at a Harlem jazz club; from that moment on her career skyrocket with tours and star-studded performances. One of her most notable songs, “Strange Fruit,” which tells the story about African-Americans being lynched in the South was controversial and banned from many radio stations. With the spotlight shinning heavily on Holiday, she turned to drugs which took a toll on her voice and health. In 1959, she died from alcohol and drug related complications.