Zora Neale Hurston once wrote, “There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer.” I think it’s safe to say that 2016, the year-long equivalent of a rickety, nausea-inducing rollercoaster, falls pretty heavily into the category of the former. We are ending 2016 with plenty of unanswered questions, but I have high hopes for the looming blank slate of the new year. No matter which kind of year it ends up being, one thing is for certain: we could all use a little more art in our lives. A little more beauty, a little more creativity, a little more inspiration that helps us see the world with fresh eyes and renewed wonder. Art may not be the answer to all of our problems, but it’s definitely a start, not to mention one of the most powerful tools for progress and change that we’ve got.
My resolution for 2017 is to indulge, freely and shamelessly, in more art. To surround myself with images that are positive and powerful, that act as a visual form of #selfcare, that remind me that the capacity to create and connect with each other through our creations is still the best thing that we humans have going for us. I also feel more compelled than ever to support the sisterhood of badass female artists and creatives out there in the world, doing so much to make women feel seen, heard, and valued. To make it easy for you, we’ve rounded up a list of eight female artists topping our wish lists for 2017: illustrators, collage artists, photographers, painters, and makers who are creating beautiful, inspiring, unique things, all of which can be purchased online (shoutout to Instagram for acting as our modern day art gallery). Go ahead and get started early – tis the season to treat yourself!
Eugenia Loli is a Greek collage artist and illustrator currently living in California. She uses photos from vintage magazines and science journals to make surreal collages, all of which have an intoxicating otherworldly effect and a tongue in cheek commentary. Much of her work juxtaposes females and flowers, capturing both a nostalgic and futuristic vibe. Her colorful collages stay burned into your brain long after you’ve seen them. They remind us how powerful it is to let your imagination run wild. You can purchase her collages here.
Isabelle Feliu, an illustrator living in Norway, creates irresistibly chic prints, inspired by, as she puts it, “fashion, nature, and my funky dreams.” The women featured in her stylish prints are sassy and slightly surreal, often surrounded by nature or on tropical vacations, and always blessed with a carefree and contagious joie de vivre.
They are empowered and at ease, dancing, lounging, and just generally glowing with the good life. They remind me of how you feel when you’re on the third day of a vacation, when you are radiating with the natural confidence that comes with #selfcare. I want to put her art in every room of my house, in the hopes of keeping that feeling alive for as long as possible. You can purchase her prints here.
Ines Longevial is a French artist living in Paris, which means you’re probably already lusting after her life, but it’s her unique, intertwined drawings and paintings that will stop you in your tracks. Her work feels a little bit Picasso-esque, seemingly simple but unexpectedly complex beneath the surface, and carrying a hint of secret sadness.
She uses color rarely, but when she does it’s muted and lovely, adding to the feeling that her work conveys. Simplicity is often the key to elegance, and something tells me she is very aware of that. You can purchase her paintings and drawings here.
It’s not enough to say that Amanda Fordyce has a good eye. The Australian photographer and world traveler has one of the best eyes, trained to capture heart-wrenchingly authentic vignettes from Cuba to Spain to the coast of Italy.
Her photos are rooted in reality yet highly aesthetic, playing with bold colors, shadows, and unusual compositions, never overlooking the small details that flawlessly tie together the moment. She is the rare intuitive photographer that brings out the unexpected beauty of everything and everyone she shoots.
We are lucky to glimpse the world through her careful lens, where even the most ordinary moments are elevated to extraordinary. You can purchase prints of her photos here.
Dara Vandor is an artist, model, and all around inspirational babe living in Toronto, Canada. She uses felt tip pen on canvas to create stunning and lifelike portraits of lingerie, capturing the fluid sensuality of each piece, in a way that feels both boldly empowering and intimately sexy.
Her pieces are haunting, infused with a hint of naughtiness and unbelievable attention to detail. They pay homage to the luscious embellishments that make each piece feel so special – the lace, the bows, the garters – while harnessing the indescribable, intoxicating magic of lingerie itself. It’s thrilling to see something that is usually hidden exposed in such a bold and meaningful way. As faithful devotees to both lingerie and art, we’re obsessed. You can purchase her work here.
BFGF, A.K.A artist Lilian Martinez, is an LA art brand that produces unique, handmade tapestries, apparel, prints, and more. Based out of studio in Chinatown, everything the aesthetic-driven brand touches turns to Instagram gold.
BFGF manages to tiptoe the line between playful and thoughtful, adorning everything from pillows to scarves to wall hangings with a mixture of fruits, naked ladies, plants, dogs, and pop culture references (think the Nike Swoosh and The Simpsons). This blend of culture and nature is refreshing and lighthearted, yet thoughtfully composed – Martinez says she creates each piece depending on what makes sense to her visually instead of conceptually.
We’re head over heels for her killer aesthetic, lack of pretension, and willingness to get weird. Her work feels like a cool moodboard you stumble upon and wish you’d made yourself. You can purchase her stuff here.
Frances Cannon is an artist living in Melbourne. She is also the the badass feminist responsible for a wave of radical self love that is taking the Internet by storm. She makes unapologetic body-positive drawings of women that champion self love, acceptance, and forgiveness.
Through simple black and white sketches that are empowering and relatable, she gently reminds us to embrace ourselves, our bodies, and our flaws. The women she draws are beautiful, naked with natural bodies accented with body hair, and the positive affirmations she doodles around them remind us that self love is a process. I’m so glad that her art is floating around the Internet, connecting with women all over the world and promoting self-love with a soft and playful touch. You can shop her work here.
Julie Houts is a J Crew designer by day who moonlights as a freelance illustrator, creating pitch-perfect illustrations that encapsulate all of the inner workings of being a modern woman, documenting our inner dialogue and weird impulses with terrifying accuracy. You don’t just relate to the snarky and slightly anti-social heroine of her drawings, you’ve actually been her, probably once or twice a week, if we’re being real.
She is equal parts sass and uncertainty, navigating all of life’s bumps, blocks, and detours with a sharp wit and a full glass of wine. Her self-deprecating musings about work, dating, food, and the Internet are juxtaposed with amazing illustrations that look lifted from couture, resulting in a hilarious and undeniably real celebration of the struggle of surviving and thriving as a modern woman. We would ask her to illustrate our lives, except we kind of think she already is. You can purchase her prints here.