We have heard a lot about the need for gender equality across all industries, and the art world is one that is still very male-dominated. This runs right across the field. From the representation of female artists themselves, through to agents and managers. To gallery owners and even art collectors.
With this imbalance of the numbers of women who are interested in, and graduating with degrees in the arts. To the numbers who are actually working in the field. We are seeing new initiatives being taken across the industry to try to redress the balance.
There are a number of women across the art world who are leading the way. In giving more women, more influence, fairer career opportunities and, more generally, the same right to have an illustrious career in art as their male counterparts.
Women Leading the Art Industry
There are several women in the world of art who are spearheading the industry and helping to bring a more balanced gender representation.
Olyvia Kwok has been breaking barriers in the art world for over 15 years. From collecting art, she has now progressed to helping people to invest their money in art through her company, Willstone Management. Kwok’s skill comes in her deep understanding of art and ability to read the trends in the industry. To “anticipate emerging markets and to analyse opportunities in varying economic climates.”
According to Willstone Management, “With years of experience, alongside in-depth knowledge of the market and an extensive global network, Olyvia continues to be one the most prestigious and successful individuals in the industry.” She has crafted a business using her own specific skills, for example, regularly hosting soirees – known as ‘Olyvia’s Soirees’ whereby potential investors can see collections of promising artwork.
Catarina Bianchini is an award winning founder and creator of Nari, a branding and creative consultancy studio. The company’s mantra is Not Always Right Ideas (NARI) – looking to discard the traditional ‘rules’ of graphic design, and look to approach their projects from an artistic and humanistic approach.
This gives the work produced by Nari a fresh, innovative look, and this is one which is taking the world of art, graphic design and branding by storm.
Zoe Powers’ distinctive style sets her out from the rest. She specialises in street art, murals, illustration and sign writing and the work that comes out of her studio in Bristol is vibrant, modern and fun.
Powers is inspired by a number of factors in society, but a strong one is feminism, and this is a theme that features regularly in the artwork that she creates. You can see examples of her work on Instagram, or on the streets of Bristol.
When it comes to looking at the influence that some women have had on the art industry it doesn’t get much bigger than Vivienne Westwood. A rather notorious character, Vivienne Westwood is credited to being responsible for the fashion of the punk and new wave movements being bought to the mainstream in the late 1970’s.
Westwood is outspoken and unconventional, and comes from a working class family in Derbyshire. She is now estimated to be worth around $55 million. She has been named British Designer of the Year twice and has since received an O.B.E. She also uses her influence to fight for causes that she believes in, such as Greenpeace.
Marylou Faure is a French artist who is currently living in London. She classifies herself as an artist and illustrator, as well as being someone who advocates equal rights for all. Her work is a little quirky, cheeky, and fun, and she uses bold colours and hand-written typography to create her unique style.
Faure is especially focused on using the skills that she has for good. She has strong ethical and social beliefs that she enjoys putting her efforts towards. Marylou Faure has used her inimitable style to work with clients such as Smirnoff, Nike, Apple and United Nations Women.
When it comes to changing attitudes in society in general, or more specifically, a particular field, it is important to have role models. The people who are breaking boundaries and inspiring other people to do similar things. As this momentum builds we see these attitudes then becoming the norm.
The influence of women on society as a whole is changing the way that industries are behaving in terms of output as well as the way that business is done – and the art world is no different, and this is why these women who are changing how things happen are so important.
This post on women in the art industry was a guest article for Inspiring City by Ava Nielson.