Inspired Contemporary Art by Women

Laura Borealisis

Historically, too few Women Artists were able to attain any level of mastery because lack of access to learn, cultural disapproval during their time period, or the challenge of balancing obligations as mothers and various other gender roles. While some of this still echoes from the past, it is indeed the past! With the internet and social media, our opportunities for connection & sharing are expanded exponentially and we are able to cultivate and change these old patterns that once prevailed.

The soul force and nourishment of the feminine expression is needed in our world so I have compiled a preliminary list of Women Artists for Culture Collective. By no means is this list complete… in fact, we think it will always be a work in progress. This collection does not include some of the often-overlooked old masters, such as Artemisia Gentileschi, nor even more staple names such as Georgia O’keefe or Frida Kahlo. While I actually really love the idea of such a collection, this gallery consists primarily of artists living and creating, Now.

The women are not divided up by professional status here, although in future features there may be more focus on those areas. All that was required was a consistent body of work, easy accessibility to the work, and proper photographs (no weird light, not blurry, and cropped properly when necessary).

With such volume, it was a bit wonky to curate all the imagery, and I’m sure it is ripe for scrutiny. However, it has been cultivated in a spirit of Sisterhood, where women in all different phases of their artistic journey, as well as different styles, have been included. It was crafted in a manner of finding what makes us relate. So, you may see that work is grouped or coupled with similar works in similar styles, mediums, or color schemes.

My hope is that these Artists will find connection with each other, community, mutual growth, and also expansion beyond where we are each currently at in our processes. May the opportunity to see more art from women help the youth find new inspiration and role models for crafting their own creative voice, as well as find the courage to share their unique creative identity alongside their male comrades. And of course, may any artist find beauty and inspiration here, regardless of gender.

My other hope is that this collection will inspire a deeper interest and desire to cultivate knowledge in the culture around Art; to expand our awareness of Art, Artists, and the various ideas, impulses, and belief-systems being put forth through Art. May we know more artists and their works, and may gender no longer be an inhibitor for engagement with Art. I implore you to develop a broader, yet more acute taste and vocabulary with which to engage art and creativity; to see deeper, to feel deeper, to find ourselves more fully resonant  & articulate with that which is known as Art.

Please enjoy this gallery. Contact the artists via social media or personal websites – Most of them provided their art via facebook, so I suggest that specific network for contacting them should you desire to do so. I could not link everyone’s info here, so another wonderfully convenient option is to consult the mighty Oracle of Google ~ And, of course, take some time to see, feel, think about, and enjoy these works from the feminine side of the spectrum.

Many Blessings,

Ashely

Featured Image (top)  Laura Borealisis – “Frida”

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Essencia Makes Walls Talk

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 12.47.25 PMArt changes the way we perceive the world. It’s no wonder that large companies spend millions of dollars littering our urban landscapes with billboards. Public murals, in contrast to advertisements, have the ability to teach, inspire, and even bring healing to communities. The Essencia Art Collective is raising awareness of the importance of water with a mural that is bound to inspire people well beyond the neighborhoods surrounding it. With members from across six continents, Essencia expresses itself from a unique and global perspective that continues to enrich the communities they work with.

The collective has run artistic projects with youth, first nations, refugees, immigrants, prison inmates, galleries, and festivals across the globe. Essencia encourages artistic storytelling, and expresses itself through muralism, street art, graffiti, graphic design, photography, video, music, poetry, dance and love!

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The project was headed by Canadian/Chilean artist, Shalak Attack and her sister Fiya Bruxa, who both co-founded and co-direct the collective.  Shalak’s husband Bruno Smoky  from Brazil (pictured with her below right) also assisted on the project as Artistic Director of the mural segment. Many renowned  artists like Chris Dyer and others were brought in to collaborate.

Taking it to the Streets is powerful, engaging youth is necessary, cultivating inspiration is evolutionary, and educating local communities is how we grow from the roots up to make positive change in the world. Check out the uplifting video below to see the mural in progress or visit here to see photos of the project.

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 11.36.01 AMThis is a continuation of a global awakening to reclaim our connection to the sacred, and we have seen this collaboration between artists, indigenous elders, and activists continue to build momentum and Unify over recent months. Artists like Ashely Foreman recently dedicated the proceeds from one of her paintings to Water Defense, an organization spearheaded by actor Mark Ruffalo to protect waterways. Artist Vajra also created a piece called Man in the Middle dedicated to Sea Shepard for their work protecting marine life. Ta’Kaiya Blaney, a 12-year-old Sliammon First Nation activist from Canada recently collaborated on the #Lovewater Campaign and was depicted in the Earth Revolution mural by Lmnopi in Brooklyn. No matter where you live or what you do, you are being called to participate in the healing that is so needed right now on our planet. What will you create?

Sex & Nature, Evocative Paintings by Mark Henson

Sex arouses the body, nature enriches the soul, and art inspires the mind. Artist Mark Henson makes love visible with a paintbrush. It’s not porn, and it’s not exactly what you were thinking but it might just turn you on in ways that you have never imagined.

Mark Henson Art
Sunset Sacrement, Oil on Canvas, 60″ X 60″

These visions show us something that Darwin spoke of which has been forgotten… that nature thrives on cooperation equally as it does on competition. Waterfalls make love to the rocks they splash upon and the interdependence between all living things brings a deep sense of connection to anyone who ponders the idea. In a society fixated on competition, survival of the fittest, and oppression, these paintings are refreshing on all levels. Of course the most explicit ones can be seen at his online gallery.

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Ravine Rapture, Oil on Canvas 86″ X 48 “

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Riverine Reverie, Oil on Canvas, 66″ X 42″

Henson is 62 years old, grew up in Sacramento and spent his formative years in The San Francisco Bay area. Influenced by the art and social movements of the 60’s he painted backdrops for theater productions like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and musical acts like Jimi Hendrix. Mark attributes meditation as a source of much of his inspiration. He first learned about it at a talk given in San Francisco by the founder of Integral Yoga, Satchidananda Saraswati.

Sylvan Serenity, Oil on Canvas, 66″ X 48″

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Double Helix, Oil on Canvas 52″ X 32″

His meditation practice might be why he has the ability to embrace the spiritual, political, and paradoxical nature of our society simultaneously in his art. Even Darwin refuted Social Darwinism which says that humans are here to compete, winner takes all, and society should be ruled by that model. As is so well depicted in Sharing the Wealth below and in the news everywhere, there are some real downsides to living in a society ruled by this belief alone.

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Cooperation of species may well be the missing story to resolving much of our planets problems, and art might be the most powerful way to convey this idea. Humanity’s capacity for destruction and discord is equally matched by it’s ability to create beautiful inspiration. Sex, or better yet, making love is not limited to naked bodies but includes the concept of procreation with a paintbrush, a musical instrument, a dance, or the exchange of mutual respect within the larger community of life. The painting below is aptly titled Paintbrush Warrior.

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We know that each person is faced with a choice about the kind of future we’d like to build on this planet, but a masterful painting puts you in the middle of the picture. New Pioneers (below) took almost a year to paint. You can see the influence of Paolo Soleris‘ vision for urban centers that work with the flow of the land on the right side of the painting. I’m not quite sure who to credit for the war and destruction on the left side of the painting but we all know that it is a very lucrative business for a few people…

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In the mid 90’s Mark racked up a bunch of library fines taking out books and learning how to paint the animals in March of Progress below. If we choose to fight against nature we might all lose that battle in the end but seeing it on canvas (or in a blog) somehow bypasses the usual mental filters. The word “progress” in this painting and in our world seems to be defined in the context of the Social Darwinian nightmare. I can’t help but wonder what “progress” would look like if it were applied to the ideology of a cooperation of species rather than a conquering of species… I think the word commonly used in that paradigm is “permaculture”.

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Perhaps we could all learn something  from the paintings and vision of Mark Henson. Maybe a little quiet reflection and meditation somewhere in nature would help us conceptualize how the polarities of our human nature might flow into one stream of connected consciousness.

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Healing Waters, Oil on Canvas, 16″ X 20″

Whether it’s sex in nature, making love, or appreciating great art, we have many reasons to ponder this great gift called life and reflect on our role within this larger web of existence. Mark Henson has continued to be an inspiration to many other artists in the Visionary Art world. You can also read more in Visionary Art, You’re Painted into the Picture and other articles on Culture Collective. It is apparent in Mark’s work that stories rule our world and what we believe to be true is often what we create. How might we re-consider the stories that rule our world and what might the world look like if we did? This question is actually quite sexy…

Allied Vision

Our planet is imperiled. This has been clear to me since I was a small child. All of my life I have wanted to “save the planet”, but it wasn’t until I embraced my passion and gift as an artist that I realized that Art was how I’d do it. But I couldn’t do it alone. This is why I created Allied Vision. We can no longer afford to wait and watch as the planet crumbles; if we want a future, it is ours to make.

Allied Vision is dedicated to the preservation of life on earth as well as the evolution of human consciousness and culture. Our mission it to select organizations serving the highest good and amplify their impact through a continuing series of celebrity auctions of original visionary art. Though our auctions we generate funds and raise awareness for the organizations working not merely to create a better world, but working to create of a truly thriving human culture in balance with the world around us.

The idea that has become Allied Vision started more than two years ago with the painting  “Man in the Middle” – a painting I have nearly completed. As I lay in a hot spring, I saw floating before me a totem pole; a yellow eagle perched on the shoulders of a red man who rode on the back of a blue whale. “Man in the Middle” is about man’s unique position as keeper or destroyer of balance. Heavily integrated into the imagery is the theme of extinction; overlaid onto the eagle, man and whale is anatomically inspired skeletal imagery, which not only hints at mortality and extinction, but also emphasizes that beneath the surface, we are all the same. I hope this piece helps bring an end to whaling around the world and awakens the hearts and minds of the people still partaking in this barbaric tradition. I immediately understood that I would paint this vision and auction off the painting to raise money for Sea shepherd Conservation Society.

"Man in the Middle" Acrylic on Wood 30"x72". Work in progress by Vajra
“Man in the Middle” Acrylic on Wood 30″x72″. Work in progress by Vajra. More detailed photographs are included at the end of the article.

For those of you unfamiliar with Sea shepherd, SS is a direct-action group founded by Captain Paul Watson in 1977 in uncompromising defense of earth’s marine life. At the heart of their mission is the protection of whales and dolphins—self-aware, socially complex creatures of vast intelligence and incalculable consciousness. For more on Sea Shepherd’s fascinating history and to learn what they’re doing today, please visit seashepherd.org.

What began as a single painting I was making to donate to Sea Shepherd blossomed into a vision of an alliance of many individuals sharing their gifts and fortune, with the goal of planetary salvation and cultural evolution. Just as similar sound waves align to amplify one another, so to do we amplify our impact.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Allied Vision provides a perpetual platform for the evolution of consciousness where artists have a chance to share their work with a larger audience, and celebrities have a chance to use their wealth and status for the common good.

As a visionary artist, I make art to express the voice of my heart. My art is my chance to share my philosophy, hopes and dreams with the world. And I am not alone. As part of Allied vision, artists have a platform to share their purpose, mission and art with a large, attentive audience. To further encourage artists to participate and also to financially support the awakened artists of our time, 5% of the sale of the paintings created for the auction would go to the artist who created them (up until a point at which funds-to-the-artist are capped in favor of the benefitting organization).

Obviously, celebrities also stand to gain a great deal – but also to give a lot in return. By bidding at these auctions, celebrities earn the chance to win some of todays most brilliant and beautiful visionary art, through a tax-deductible donation to an organization they may even already support. Furthermore, supporting AV and the benefitting organizations is great for their public image. More importantly, celebrities who align with allied Vision have the opportunity to act as responsible role models for the world, using their influence and fortunes for the greater good.

Upon finishing “Man in the Middle” I intend to jump fully into the foundation of Allied Vision. To make this dream a reality, I will need a strong team of artists, organizers, networkers, media and publicity specialists, legal advisors, funds and celebrities. If you are one of these people and feel called to join the alliance, please use the contact form below or email me at info@alliedvision.org. Also, if there are any website developers (using Rapid Weaver) interested in donating their service, please contact me as well. Together we stand the chance to create something truly beautiful. Now is our time to act, let’s make Art work.

If you are interested in participating, please contact us and we’ll be in touch! Up-close images below…

 

 

Thunderbird detail: "Man in the Middle" Acrylic on Wood 30"x72" 2012-2014. Work in progress by Vajra

Shaman detail of "Man in the Middle" Acrylic on Wood 30"x72" 2012-2014. Work in progress by Vajra

Whale detail of "Man in the Middle" Acrylic on Wood 30"x72" 2012-2014. Work in progress by Vajra

Whale detail of “Man in the Middle” Acrylic on Wood 30″x72″ 2012-2014. Work in progress by Vajra

 

Art is Activism in Public Places

Advertising is used everywhere, on billboards and posters cluttering our visual landscape with messages to buy this or that. What if public space was used to convey an idea instead of a brand? What if advertising was used to inspire thought instead of encourage mindless consumption? For many years I thought everyone agreed that education was a good thing, but then I considered just how profitable it can be for some businesses if everyone remains ignorant. The internet is changing this sad truth and with the advent of social networks, people can share endless information about everything from politics to environmental or social issues. But what about public space, how can that be reclaimed transformed?

Recently I watched “Exit Through The Gift Shop“, which I highly recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it. It’s about street art, reclaiming public space with creative and thought-provoking expression and it features Banksy, Shephard Fairey, Invader and many of the world’s most infamous underground artists. From cave drawings to urban graffiti, images and words shape the way we perceive the world yet the paradigm of competition and consumption continues to rule the visual landscape of the modern world.

Some argue that is human nature, but it isn’t exactly true. Humanity evolved from cooperation as much as it did from competition. Tribes, bands, communities have been the support network that has raised generations of people in cooperation. Even wars between tribes or nations showed much cooperation in each individual side as they fought the enemy. Where do we see messages of cooperation, of compassion, of inspiration in public spaces?

The life of a street artist might be a little too daring for the average person, but there are ways that artists find their own ways to inspire the community around them. Jeff Daverman of Root Concepts is one of them. He has made a successful business giving people a voice in public space with ideas that inspire. I had the opportunity to visit Jeff in his studio and see his philosophy in action. You’ve probably seen his stickers on Prius’s, hippie vans, in health food stores, street light posts, bikes, kids lunch-boxes sand yoga studios.

Jeff has the inspired notion to use stickers as a way to encourage dialogue, to make people think and to dream. Like many artists, and primarily street artists, Jeff understands that there is a battle of ideas occurring in public spaces. Another thing his stickers do is remind us of the words and lives of social justice heroes, encouraging us to reach our highest potential. Whenever I see his stickers around I am reminded that I am not the only one who dreams of something better. I am reminded that there is still a huge community of people who believe in cooperation, in working together and dreaming bigger for the sake of our future and our planet. When you watch this video, I’m sure you will recognize the work of an artist who has left his fingerprints all over the country.

I know there are many many other artists out there doing this kind of inspired works, tell me a few of your favorite…

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Chalk for Change: Students Inspire Community

In the fall of 2010 Culture Collective collaborated with Buildon in San Francisco and Oakland to create a video for the Chalk for Change program initiated by Tom Silverman. Chalk for Change challenges youth to inform themselves about important political, social, or environmental issues in their community and take to the street with a message. Students depict issues that are important to them using chalk in public places to spark dialogue with people passing by.

Tom invited Culture Collective Director, Jacob Devaney, to speak with the High School Students in this program about using social media and art to create positive change in their community. Afterwards, a video was created about the project for students to share through their Facebook and other social networks. We are happy to re-release the video on Facebook that it might encourage others to create something thought-provoking and beautiful in their community.

If you’d like to make something like this happen in your neighborhood, click here to download a PDF and go buy yourself some colored chalk 😉

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