It’s no secret that Texas is a natural hub for creative women. I mean, it’s literally the birthplace of icons like Selena and Beyoncé — need I say more?
The Texan creative scene is particularly special thanks to its deep roots in multiculturalism and multidisciplinary arts. Artists of all backgrounds flock to Texas from around the world, drawing inspiration from its diverse communities, rich history, and gorgeous natural scenery.
Photo of Palo Duro Canyon by Hayden Hatch
As we celebrate International Women's Day in March, we’d like to highlight some of Texas’ truly awe-inspiring artists. I’m thoroughly convinced the works of these 10 women are powerful enough to awaken the creative that’s inside all of us, so check them out and see what inspires you!
1. Ariel René Jackson
Ariel René Jackson is an anti-disciplinary artist who employs a mix of film, sculpture, performance, and mixed media to convey themes of transformation and culture. Their work often considers land and landscape as sites of internal representation, highlighting the experiences and celebrating the oral histories of Black and Brown Indigenous communities.
Production Still, A Welcoming Place, 2019, courtesy of Ariel René Jackson Studio, photographed by Hiram Mojicah
Jackson recently exhibited their latest work, A Welcoming Place, at Women & their Work, a nonprofit visual and performing arts organization located in Central Austin. Check out more of their work and upcoming exhibitions here.
2. Gay Gaddis
Bold pops of color dominate Gay Gaddis’ vibrant paintings inspired by Texas Hill Country. Painting from her family’s Texas Longhorn ranch, which doubles as a retreat for creative thinking, Gaddis’ serene scenes of sunset skies make you want to sink right into the painting and sit there forever. Take a look and you’ll know what I mean!
3. Erika Huddleston
Erika Huddleston is a Dallas-based painter who studies urban parks and their relationship to the city dweller. According to her website, Erika is “particularly interested in better understanding how perceiving changing natural processes in an urban park setting can affect human psychology.” Hudson paints from about 9 a.m. to dusk in city parks around the world, which “provides a complimentary data-collection counterpart to digital mappings of landscapes.”
Land Recording of Turtle Creek Dallas, TX | Photo courtesy of Erika Huddleston
This detailed and meticulous approach to painting is evident in the quality of her work, which you can view more of by visiting her website.
4. Deborah Hay
An award-winning choreographer, Deborah Hay recently established her archive at the Harry Ransom Center, a major destination for the study of dance and performance at The University of Texas at Austin. Her experimental choreography in the realm of postmodern dance has skyrocketed her to both national and international acclaim across her lengthy career — she began dancing professionally in the early 1960s.
5. Alexandra Robinson
Alexandra Robinson is a visual artist who uses language and symbols in her creative practice. She grew up in a military family, never staying in one place for more than two years; her upbringing deeply influenced the themes of longing for place and identity in her work. So has her Mexican and Jewish heritage, which has cultivated a complexity in how she sees and experiences the world.
6. Steef Crombach
Steef Crombach is a Dutch artist who lives and works in Austin. Her artist bio says it all: “Inspired by all that’s weird around her, she transforms fabric into soft sculptures and hand-dyed relief tapestries."
Photo by Whitney Arostegui
Art has enabled her to make her starry-eyed disposition into strength, inviting others to view the world through her zoom lens. She allows people to see what invisibly shapes their immediate environment and how they are steered and positioned within it.
7. Ayanna Jolivet McCloud
Inspired by mapping and geography, the natural environment, and memory/loss/recalling, Ayanna Jolivet McCloud explores a multitude of mediums, expressing her ideas in the form of land installations, site-specific installations, studio-based work, or writing. A dedicated environmentalist, McCloud also serves as the executive director of Bayou City Waterkeeper, a Houston-based nonprofit dedicated to upholding the quality of the state’s streams, rivers, bayous, and other waters.
8. Beili Liu
Born in Jilin, China, Beili Liu is an Austin-based visual artist who creates material-and process-driven, site-responsive installations. She utilizes materials and elements such as thread, needle, scissors, feather, salt, wax, and cement, manipulating their intrinsic qualities to extrapolate complex cultural narratives. As Kay Whitney wrote about Liu's work in Sculpture Magazine: "Liu's installations leap from obsession and repetition to something profound and expansive, merging the personal with the political."
Photo by Rino Pizzi
Liu’s art can be found across the world, with exhibitions in Norway, Finland, UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Lithuania, China, Poland, Taiwan, and across the United States.
9. Mia Baxter
Mia Baxter’s dreamy photography can only be described as a visual love letter to Texan landscapes and Texan-Mexican culture. Each photograph is romantic in its clarity, depth, and subject matter. For the last three years, Baxter has been working to evolve her craft by creating collages from pieces of her own images. You can find her work here.
10. Abhidnya Ghuge
Abhidnya Ghuge is a multidisciplinary installation artist who uses printmaking techniques on paper plates to create site-responsive installations. She prints her art on thousands of paper plates with it and then uses them to create installations that allow viewers to walk through them in an immersive and perspective-shifting experience.
Portrait of Abhidnya Ghuge by Turk Studio
Originally from India, Abhidnya draws inspiration from Indian henna designs, the microscopic and macroscopic world and current cultural landscape of America. Her work celebrates patterns, organic forms and allows for a rich sensory and spatial experience.