Some people say that there is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise and I know this statement to be entirely accurate. Frida Kahlo herself said “At the end of the day we endure much more than we think we can.” The accomplishments that women in art face may seem transparent but this is a time to challenge the shadow that lies above them. It is time to celebrate them and their inspirational work that can say, evoke, scream and elude so much. Their talents are not little and their voice is even more powerful.
Milwaukee is a community full of exceptionally talented female artists who are breaking the mold and knocking down barriers that stand in their way. They also have an army of allies that support what it means to be a women in today’s world and in our community. So much is said through what they all create so it is time to listen.
Megan Woodard Johnson
Megan Woodard Johnson is a mixed media and collage artist living and creating in West Bend, WI. Her work layers vintage paper ephemera, acrylic paint, a variety of drawing media and sometimes found objects. She makes work that examines the meeting place between private moments and shared or universal experiences.
Megan and her family live in West Bend, which is also where she keeps a studio. She teaches workshops in analog collage, and participates year round in group and solo exhibitions as well as juried art fairs in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois. In early 2019 she will be part of a four-woman collage exhibition at the Cedarburg Art Museum.
Annelise Pollard was born and raised in West Allis, Wisconsin. In May of 2017, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art Studio from Judson University in Elgin, Illinois. Her work has been shown in juried exhibitions at the Draewell Gallery in 2016 and 2017. In 2017, she participated in a local exhibition at Cream City Clay in West Allis. Currently, Annelise resides in West Allis where she practices pattern making with watercolor as well as portrait and production photography. She has also recently started painting with alcohol inks. To view more of her work, go to annelisepollard.com or check out her Instagram.
Jenny Jo is a Milwaukee-based artist and muralist working in watercolor, ink, and acrylic mediums. Her explorations in art-at-large began in San Francisco studying poetry and myth under the legendary Beat poet Diane di Prima. She wrote, produced, and performed several fairytale plays with her genius, junkyard cohorts, The Stars and Garters Theater Company. From this decade of performance and writing, Jenny Jo extracted the determination and methodology to teach herself to paint and compose visual art. She is a self-taught painter and illustrator, lured back to the canvas by her childhood passion for drawing the female form. Jenny Jo is in love with the past, specifically the lives of artists and writers she admires. She is currently at work on a series of paintings exploring these muses in portrait form. You can see her murals around Milwaukee in various locations including Cafe Lulu, Classic Slice Pizza, and Black Cat Alley.
WAZALOO’s works are the illustrated notes taken from her experiences exploring the collective unconscious. She pulls symbolism from dreams, mythology, & nature, translating messages from the cosmic clouds of Knowing into condensed visual stories. Her work is deeply spiritual, and is itself a practice in worshiping the beauty of the relationships between shapes & energies. Also very personal, she often depicts herself in an idolized, limitless form with the power to create & manipulate reality. WAZALOO finds that creating meditative windows into worlds beyond provide her with a healing escape from the harshness of Earth, and invites others to join her in the plane of thought & feeling.
Ariana Vaeth is a Baltimore raised artist focused on personal narrative living in Milwaukee. Enticed by the theatrics of the Baroque to the Modern portrayal of American is the Realist Movement; Vaeth finds stimulation in the melodrama of everyday life. Her work revolves around the moments experienced as she travels into Womanhood. Her paintings honor interactions with the people who construct her character and document personal reflection.
My name is Erin Paisley and I’m a self taught ceramic artist. I’ve always been a maker, and I always knew I wanted to be an artist. Having children made my work change, as I wanted to capture the magic and wonder for them that captivated me when I was small. With everything I make, I’m always chasing that feeling I had the first time I watched Fantasia as a kid, or being in awe of all the beautiful breakables I wasn’t allowed to touch in my great grandmas china cabinet.
Melissa Lee Johnson
Melissa Lee Johnson is an artist, illustrator, and graphic designer, living & working in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She also gives people stick and poke tattoos, but files that under the “just for fun” category in life.
In her practice, Melissa explores personal narrative through editorial illustration and traditional drawing. She creates scenes in which characters, who are largely autobiographical, perform their identities to the audience. Her drawings cover themes of mental health, feminism, and the domestic setting; they have been described as darkly humorous, highly detailed, and playful.
Melissa received her BFA from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in 2016, and has since worked as a graphic designer and digital illustrator. She’s constantly trying integrate her practices into one mega-practice that disregards the boundaries between art and design.
Melissa wants to adopt a pair of chihuahuas, and has eaten the same breakfast for ten years, and wants to know what you’ve been reading lately.
One thought on “Women in Art”
Thanks for including me on this list of wonderfully talented women artists! And for creating a space like this for Milwaukee creatives to cross pollinate!