Yesterday we reported on Theodora Richards’ brush with the law, an incident in which she was apprehended for writing graffiti. Historically the medium has been male dominated, so in appreciation of Richards’ efforts, we compiled a list of her predecessors — our ten favorite female graffiti artists from around the world. Though it’s doubtful tagging “TNA” (which she was arrested for) will ever earn her a spot on this list, it’s nice to know she’s trying, even if those attempts end with a court date. Check out our ten favorite female graffiti writers after the jump.
Born in São Paolo in 1977, Nina Pandolfo creates wide-eyed dolls that reside in a fantasy world of colorful and dreamlike images. She is one of the most well known artists in Brazil today, and exhibits in galleries around the world.
Residing in Tokyo, Sasu takes an illustrative approach rendering beautiful murals that use simple iconography and symbols like Buddhist deities and mandala-like patterns in favor of name-based tags. Often working with her husband Kami, the duo is known for their live painting “performances.”
Dubbed the “first lady of graffiti” Lady Pink was born in Ecuador and started painting in New York City in 1979. When she began it wasn’t a friendly for women writers; as she has explained, “I had to disguise myself as a guy and try not to stand out. There was sexism; guys didn’t believe I was doing my own work; they thought I was sleeping with guys to get ahead.” Her work has shown at the Whitney, PS1, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art among others.
Swoon has said she always felt like an outsider because she didn’t grow up in an urban area. Now one of the most revered artists of her generation, Swoon creates portraits of her friends and family as wheat paste cutouts and block prints. Her installations and raft “performances” have been staged on the Mississippi River, the Hudson River in New York and Venice, Italy.
Claw Money didn’t get heavily into graffiti until her twenties, when she began tagging her moniker all over her native Queens and New York City. Today she’s parlayed her success in the graffiti world to become a fashion and accessories designer, dressing the likes of MIA, Santigold and Rihanna.
A native of Toulouse, now residing in Barcelona, Miss Van creates cat-like creatures on walls around the world. These days though, her sultry female figures are more frequently found in galleries than the streets.
Canadian Lady K immigrated to New York City in the ’90s, and made her mark on freight trains and walls under the name FEVER. Today she’s focused on urban arts education, working with the Bronx Museum of the Arts, El Museo del Barrio, Urban Arts Partnership and The Laundromat project.
When Queens native Toofly first started painting in the ’90s, her mom was concerned about her going out late at night and would drive her daughter around in her car, with Toofly using her grandfather’s cans. Today, she’s a designer, organizer and co-founder of Younity Arts, a women’s art collective.
Aiko Nakagawa was part of the street art collective Faile until 2006, and now creates work independently under the name Lady Aiko. Born in Tokyo, and based in New York since the ’90s, she utilizes a variety of media including stencil, spray paint and silkscreens to produce her signature floral designs and girly cartoons on the streets and in museums like PS1, Brooklyn Museum in New York City, MACRO Future in Rome, and Shanghai MoCA in China.
Margaret Kilgallen wasn’t a graffiti artist in the typical sense. Drawing her inspiration from folk art and Amish quilt making, she was known for her line drawings on freight trains around the San Francisco Bay Area and her hundreds of murals incorporating sign-making techniques. Her life was cut short from breast cancer at 33, but not before she gave birth to a baby girl with husband Twist (aka Barry McGee).