The Art of Inspiring Women
This past Sunday I finally got the opportunity to peruse one of my favorite Christmas gifts, a coffee table book entitled, “Mid-Century Modern Women In The Visual Arts.” Written by Gloria Fowler and lushly illustrated by Ellen Surrey, this beautifully curated volume celebrates 25 creative women who achieved success in the mid-20th century. Considering the historic and inspiring Women’s Marches that took place all over the world on Saturday, it was a perfectly timed gift.
In the male-dominated, mid-century work world, success did not come easily to female creatives. The inspiring women featured in this book overcame countless barriers and opened doors for the next generation of women, myself included. I am very grateful to them and to the other amazing mentors in my life, all three of them women.
My first mentor was my stepmother, Sandford Birdsey, a great painter. She was a Mid-Century artist for sure, constantly painting, even as she ran her own successful gallery and picture framing shop. I would sit for hours just watching her paint. One day, stooped over her canvas with brush and cigarette in hand, she told me that, because I was “so organized,” I needed to be a “commercial artist” – the term for graphic artist back then. Good advice. My other mentors, Beverly Russell and Leslie Singer, helped me hone in on the clean-and-concise style that distinguishes my work today. They showed me that, by relying on her native strengths and talents, a woman could be truly successful.
Whether you’re coming up in a small business or a corporate environment, it’s so important to get that guidance along the way. Honest feedback and encouragement from someone you trust is invaluable in helping you dig deep to unearth your true talents. As the owner of my own successful branding and design business, I utilize those important lessons from my mentors every day, and I do my best to pass them along. Looking back, I can say with pride and without a doubt, that I could not have done it without them.