5 inspiring female artists to follow on Instagram

5 inspiring female artists to follow on Instagram

Life inspired

Text: Renée Batchelor

Image: Vanessa Prager,
Sára J Molçan; Instagram: @vanessaprager @ashleylongshoreart @sarajmolcan @fiance_knowles @genievefiggis

Think art is found only in white cubes? Female artists the world over are using Instagram to reach out to seasoned collectors and first-time buyers. Here are five you should check out

With fine art seen by the masses as something only for gallery spaces and monied collectors, it can be intimidating for a casual or first time collector to browse and acquire pieces that catch their eye. Thankfully, the advent of apps and websites like Artsy, Patreon and Paddle 8 are democratising the browsing, buying and bidding process, making it easier than ever to find something you love — whether it's a sculpture, collage, photographic print or oil painting. 

Another quiet revolution that's taking place in the art world? Instagram. Vogue's piece on how Instagram was the industry's most talked-about new art dealer in 2014 proved to be prescient, as more artists are finding ways to showcase and even peddle themselves on the medium. From up-and-coming artists to more established players, we've scoured the social media feed to present five inspiring accounts by female artists. Why female? Despite the work done by groundbreaking artists like Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe, statistics for women artists are pretty grim — both in terms of their representation in modern art sections of galleries (estimated at five per cent of all art) and auction figures. We think it's about time that changed.

Provenance: New Orleans, United States
Longshore is a painter and furniture creator, whose witty, cutting take on pop culture figures like Anna Wintour and Kate Moss, make for fantastic, sometimes literal, and downright hilarious statement-making pieces. No wonder the New York Post dubbed her 'Andrea Warhol'. Feminist, frank and funny, her work has been displayed in cult New York boutique Kirna Zabête and collected by celebrities like Blake Lively.

How to purchase: Longshore famously doesn't believe in working with galleries. You can buy her paintings, that reportedly go for US$30,000 straight off her Instagram feed or via her website. Keen to make a more modest purchase? Sign up for her Artgasm programme, that ingeniously works on a subscription plan model to deliver four hand-signed pieces per year (for between US$500 to US$600) that are unique to her Artgasm subscribers. Or pick up her commissioned designs for luxury cosmetic brand Clé de Peau Beauté that adorn its holiday makeup collection, including a jewel-toned eye palette and a makeup brush set.

Ashley Longshore Barbie is a Bitch
Provenance: Los Angeles, United States                
Prager happens to be the younger sister of hyperrealist photographer Alex Prager. But she is coming into her own as an artist of note with her maximalist, heavily-textured oil paintings that seem to push impasto to the extreme, and blurs the line between figurative portraits and abstraction. Working on seemingly two opposite scales, tiny portraits and impressive, wall-sized paintings, Prager's generous use of paint, and quirky, unknown subjects — that seem to shift in and out of focus depending on how you look at them — are obscure yet relatable. Prager has an unlikely patron in the form of comedian and actor Fred Armisen who hosted her most recent solo exhibition Voyeurs at the The Hole in New York City, and is said to be a collector. Her Instagram largely showcases her personal life and travels, interspersed with updates on her shows.

How to purchase: Prager has a presence on Artsy where she is currently represented by two galleries: Richard Heller Gallery in LA and The Hole

Pop, 2016
Provenance: Vancouver, British Columbia
This Canadian artist first came into notice with her addictive, paint-mixing videos that showcased the eye-pleasing, pastel palette that features heavily in her portraits and appealed to young, artsy women eveywhere. With an impressive 66,000 Instagram followers, Molčan paints in the style of figurative abstraction and is a lover of oil paint. Interestingly, we've noticed that she is even inspired by Instagram pictures of friends and followers, adapting and interpreting them into her dreamy, unabashedly feminine portraits with a calming palette of pinks, blues and greys.

How to purchase: Purchase original paintings and limited edition, signed prints on her website. She releases roughly a new painting a month on her store, so you have to hurry if you want to grab an original artwork— usually oil on wood panel. Molčan also sells pillowcases, phone covers, totes and tank tops with her original prints on them, making her art affordable across all price points — a big plus for her young fans.

Irrevocable (Adoration), 2016
Provenance: Cape Town, South Africa
Clever pun aside, Clough is one of the most creative embroidery artists out there, using not just traditional needlework frames, but other interesting 'canvases' like vintage tennis rackets. These seem to make a statement both about upcycling and imbuing a used item with value... plus it looks pretty darn cool as an object d'art hanging from your wall. Who needs traditional oil paintings when you can have Clough's ingenious, colourful and inspired fibre art on your wall? Among her subjects are pop cultural references like Uma Thurman's Mia Wallace and Jeff Bridges' The Dude, from cult movies Pulp Fiction and The Big Lebowski respectively, to even a '70s Playboy image.

How to purchase: Visit her online site and store, where you'll find pieces as small as a cameo 'portrait' to her signature wooden tennis rackets ranging in price from ZAR430 (US$31) for a print of an embroidery work to ZAR4300 (US$312) for an original, large work. You have to work fast though. Due to the time taken and painstaking process of making each piece — as well as Clough's growing popularity — original pieces are super limited and sell out fast. Follow her on Instagram for shop updates.

Fiance Knowles vintage tennis racket

Provenance: Dublin, Ireland
Love your art just a little side of macabre? Then you'll adore the dark and dreamy paintings by this Irish artist. Like many of the artists on this list, Figgis has Instagram to thank for her metoric rise in the art world — she was reportedly 'discovered' by artist Richard Prince via the app. Talk about getting the right kind of followers! Her paintings seem to subvert traditional Victorian painting themes, featuring men in top hats and fancy dress or portrait sittings in extravagant parlours — except the faces are blurred, abstracted and ever so slightly creepy.

How to purchase: Figgis' acrylic on canvas paintings go for a pretty penny, but you can contact the galleries that have exhibited her work in the past — such as London's Almine Rech Gallery — for a quote via Artsy. 

Genieve Figgis artwork 

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