This Women’s History Month, we’re reflecting on the role of women in creative professions. In this week’s Trend Exploration, we look to female artists who’ve overcome barriers in male-dominated creative fields, and whose work is breaking stereotypes and reimagining our images of women.
Women inspire women.
No artist creates alone — there are always foremothers, trailblazers, and interlocutors who make it possible. With role models, muses, and women in the arts on our minds, we asked some of the brilliant women creating and designing with Adobe Stock to tell us more about the female artists who’ve inspired them.
Eve Saint-Ramon, an Adobe Stock Premium contributor with an eye for vintage, sensual images of women, told us about who inspires her work. “All women artists and creatives inspire me,” she says. “I look at their own expression, their position as artists.” Eve is especially drawn to women in the burlesque scene because they strike a unique balance: they convey a strong message while amusing their audiences. She also looks to fashion photographer Dominique Isserman’s approach: “She leaves them [her models] in their position as a woman as they are. Those images always have something with grace.” For overall style, she gives a nod to Vivienne Westwood, “just because I like punks in the industry.”
Graphic designer Jing Zhang, an illustrator with a uniquely fun and colorful infographic style, is deeply inspired by the work of architect Zaha Hadid. “There was never a woman in the creative world like her. I hope her legacy will carry on after her passing,” says Jing. She’s also moved by the creations of Donna Wilson: “It’s not only her quirky creatures that catch my eyes, but also her success in turning household products into something cute with her creative touch.”
When we asked Helen Fields, a cinematographer and Adobe Stock Premium contributor, who inspires her, she immediately thought of Kathryn Bigelow, the Academy Award-winning director of “Hurt Locker.” “Being such a ‘male’ film,” Helen explains, “it really helped break down gender stereotypes in the film industry.” For inspiration, Fields also looks to groundbreaking American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz.
Annie Leibovitz spoke about her own inspirations, and finding her voice:
Photography’s like this baby that needs to be fed all the time. It’s always hungry. It needs to be read to, taken care of. I had to nourish my work with different approaches. One of the reasons that I went to “Vanity Fair” was that I knew I would have a broader range of subjects — writers, dancers, artists and musicians of all kinds. And I wanted to learn about glamour. I admire the work of photographers like Beaton, Penn, and Avedon, as much as I respected grittier photographers such as Robert Frank. But in the same way that I’d had to find my own way of reportage, I had to find my own form of glamour.
Tina Touli is a graphic designer who specializes in branding, typography, and crafts. She’s inspired by the women leading in her field: “Martina Flor, a designer and letterer based in Berlin, inspires me a lot with her creativity. She focuses in lettering and typography, a field of design that I am really keen on. I am interested in her great attention to detail and her ability to produce such a huge and diverse range of typographic styles.” Tina also draws inspiration from Vicki Turner, a British designer and illustrator. “I first show her work while visiting YCN in London. I was really impressed by her clear, and at the same time complex, illustrations. I really enjoy the great balance of both her color combinations and her designs, which are characterized by a strong sense of geometry with a detailed and compact style.”
Role models and the numbers.
It’s no small thing to be a successful female artist, which is one reason female role models are so critical. According to recent research, 78 percent of UK designers are men, even though they make up 53 percent of the overall workforce, and those men bring home significantly higher salaries. According to the National Museum of Women in the Arts, women earn half of all MFAs granted in the United States, but only 30 percent of artists represented by commercial galleries are women. And work by women artists represents only 3-5 percent of major permanent museum collections in the United States and Europe.
These numbers show how far the art community still has to go toward gender equality. And they give us even deeper appreciation for the many inspirational female artists who strengthen our resolve and remind us that we can, and should, put our voices and visions into the world. This Women’s History Month we’re grateful for the many women who’ve persisted, against the odds, and inspired us to keep creating.
Watch Eve, Jing, Tina and Helen in our feature video celebrating The Female Creator, and explore more images by leading female creatives in our dedicated gallery.