Written by Leanna Wigginton – Sales Manager for Natasha Jade
Today, women from all around the world are striking. As I am sure you are aware, many people took to the streets after President Donald Trump’s inauguration in a historical march. Inspired by this turn of events, women from over 30 countries from around the world are striking on International Women’s Day (8th March 2017). The strike is called “A Day Without a Woman.”
A gender strike is nothing new, in 1975, 90% of Icelandic women went on a nationwide strike to fight for equal rights. As three female artists working together at the Natasha Jade studio we feel very strongly about the importance of making this a gender equal world that’s more inclusive. That is why I would like to turn my attention to the Guerilla Girls and shine a light on the importance of their message – supporting female artists and making sure we live in a fairer world. The Guerilla Girls fight discrimination and support human rights for all people and all genders. They recently had a commission at the Whitechapel Gallery revisiting their 1986 poster stating “It’s Even Worse in Europe”. Which was hung above Aldgate East station. It explores diversity in European art organisations. They produce posters, banners, stickers, billboards, projections and other public projects that expose sexism, racism and corruption in art, film, politics and culture at large. Click here to read more.
Here at the Natasha Jade studio, our team is made up of three female artists striving to express ourselves through art. We all have many strings to our bows and are creating our own work in different ways.
Leanna Wigginton is the Head of Sales and Marketing for Natasha Jade. Leanna is also an improviser and actor.
She says; ‘I am an actor and started improvising a few years ago. The hardest thing about being an actor is sitting around waiting for someone to give you a script that’s perfect for you. You can’t really practice your craft either, not like a musician or an artist can. It doesn’t quite work sitting in your room reciting characters on your own, we need an audience to feed off. That is why I started improvising. I have the freedom to become anyone I want and the audience accept my choices. If I want to play a male astronaut I can. The most exciting thing is that the audience are part of the action. They give you a word or suggestion that you use to improvise, in the same way that a client might be part of the process and discuss ideas when commissioning a painting from Natasha. When I first started improvising comedy I took classes at Hoopla and out of a class of 16 – I was one of two girls. This scared me, but I persevered, now I regularly perform improv. I still hear people say women aren’t funny/don’t make good comedians. There has been a 62% rise on women performing comedy at the Edinburgh fringe, but with women accounting for 17% of comics at the 2016 festival, equality has some way to go at Fringe. Find out more about Leanna’s upcoming shows here.
Jess Molteno is a Singer, Songwriter and Producer as well as being our Social Media Manager. She creates and performs dreamy, indie/folk-infused tracks and through working with Universal Publishing has had her music used in adverts and productions including a Starbucks advert!
She says; ‘As a female musician in a very male-dominated industry, (less than 5% of recognised music producers are women and only 14% of PRS members are women) it’s often assumed by others that I can’t play guitar well or produce my own music. I‘m often earmarked as just a Singer/Songwriter but I don’t see why being a woman makes me any less able to produce or co-produce my own music as well as singing and writing songs – as men often do! When I was 15, a venue owner who had booked the band I was in at the time to perform, suggested that I stop playing guitar and just focus on my voice – I’m so glad now that I didn’t pay attention to ‘advice’ like this! I persevered with guitar as well as working on my own material – writing songs and improving my production skills – this enables me to better communicate my vision for each song in the studio when working with other musicians, producers and engineers. It’s important for us girls to stand up to and correct these assumptions, and to give young girls the message that they can be whoever they want to be within the industry.’ Listen to Jess Molteno’s music here.
Natasha Jade is (as you know by now!) is an artist from North London who creates artwork and art products from her East London studio.
She says: ‘As an artist and at the same time a woman in business, I find people often expect me to work in a certain way, and come with a few pre-conceived ideas about the way that I might choose to conduct my business. I know that as a woman, I can be rather emotionally invested and in certain situations that can be taken advantage of. Like many other women I know, I have a strong connection to my work and can be heavily invested both mentally and emotionally. I do feel that being a woman in business gives me a different outlook compared to perhaps a man in the same position as me. This can actually be extremely beneficial as it allows me to see things from a different angle.
To finish on a positive note, we have all come up against obstacles in our careers where we feel our voice is small and unheard but rather than retreating and not feeling strong in numbers – we have stood up to prejudice. And in pursuing those dreams, our message gets ever clearer and we continue to be listened to, inspiring younger artists to do the same.
For International Women’s Day 2017, we’re all being asked to #BeBoldForChange. Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a more inclusive, gender equal world!