Female Street Artists Breaking up the Boys Club

When you conjure up images of street artists, people like Banksy or Shepard Fairey likely come to mind. What you probably don’t think of is — a woman, because until recently, graffiti art has largely been a boys club.

“Street art attracts risk takers,” Lakwena, a female British graphic artist told Fusion as she worked on a large mural in Miami’s Wynwood district. “And I don’t want to generalize for all women, but I think in general men are sort of encouraged to take more risks and are encouraged to be more ambitious, and women tend to be maybe a bit scared of the scale of street art.”

The men-only vibe is changing though. Women artists are beginning to make their mark (literally) and they’ve done it without big name recognition or backing.

This week, Lakwena and other female street artists are in Miami for Women on the Walls, an event held at the outdoor street art museum Wynwood Walls to celebrate the women who are bringing “new energy” to the art.

The timing is no accident. Some of the best modern and contemporary galleries and art lovers in the world have converged on Miami for the annual Art Basel showcase. Organizers of Women on the Walls hope their event will attract people looking for something a little off the beaten path.

The women have created murals that range from bright rainbow stripes to dark skulls. They said painting the large murals is a great way to interact with other artists and the neighborhoods in which they paint. They’re hoping in time, more of their fellow artists will also be female.

“When I’m on the streets painting, I don’t really see a lot of girls painting, which is a shame,” Sheryo, a Singaporean artist who now lives in New York, told Fusion. “You know, I’m always just hanging out with the boys. I wish there were more girls painting.”