Stirring up in our minds for the past couple years, Ladies Who Paint has been incubating in our thoughts, whether we were aware of it or not.
As female muralists ourselves, we have experienced a myriad of things that will be forever burned in our brains as something that would never have happened if we weren’t female. Working in a mostly male-dominated industry, we often have felt ostracized or treated differently just because of our gender. It never mattered if the work we did was quality, or how reliable we were, it seemed difficult for some people to take us seriously.
Why is that? When we’re out living our daily lives, we see men and women of all industries sporting different uniforms. Military, postal service, hospitality, and medical are just to name a few popular industries with both sexes involved. But when we’re waiting in line to order food, we hear an unsolicited voice from behind us reaching out for attention. “Can you afford clothes?” comes from an older gentleman, who’s eyeing our work jumpsuits covered in splotches of multi-colored paint.
The man begged the question for reasons unknown to us, and to our shock, we had no words to utter back.
Only once he saw our disheartened response, he mentioned that he was light-heartedly joking. However, we can’t help but ask ourselves if he would have asked that question to a man wearing our same getup.
Surprisingly, this instance is maybe about 3% of what we’ve experienced throughout our career as artists and mural painters. Hearing dangerously similar stories from our colleagues and friends in the industry, we found ourselves in a wonderful position to speak up on this issue.
Part of the reason we put together Ladies Who Paint, and the San Diego Mural Walk, was to generate discussion that women should have a seat at any male-dominated industry table.
Alternatively, using our talents and abilities to better the industry for women has never felt more right! And we get to beautify our hometown while doing it? Count us in!