The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery has announced a new digital comic series, Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists.
The series looks at visionaries and rule breakers: Alma Thomas, Berenice Abbott, Carmen Herrera, Kay Sekimachi, Mickalene Thomas, Corita Kent, Maria Oakey Dewing, Anni Albers, Edmonia Lewis, and Romaine Brooks.
The digital comics will focus on the lives of these important women with the hopes of inspiring a new generation. Each comic will be drawn by a student-illustrator at the Ringling College of Art and Design.
Read the comics now and check out the each below.
BENEATH THE HOLLY TREE: A COMIC ABOUT ALMA THOMAS
Illustrated by Lauren Lamb
Alma Thomas became the first woman to graduate from the art department at Howard University, as well as one of the first Black women to receive a degree in art. Her exuberant, colorful paintings explore the natural world around us, from garden to galaxy.
THREADS OF HISTORY: A COMIC ABOUT ANNI ALBERS
Illustrated by Emily Fromhage
Anni Albers studied art at the innovative Bauhaus, where she discovered weaving. She fled Nazi Germany and became an influential teacher at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.
PICTURING A CITY: A COMIC ABOUT BERENICE ABBOTT
Illustrated by Madeline Kneubheul
Born in 1898, Berenice Abbott discovered her gift for photography in Paris. When she returned home, she created iconic portraits of buildings and people in New York City, images that still move us to this day.
IN AWE OF THE STRAIGHT LINE: A COMIC ABOUT CARMEN HERRERA
Illustrated by Ezra Gaeta
Carmen Herrera was born in Havana, Cuba, then lived in Paris before moving to New York City in 1952. She faced discrimination in the art world for being an immigrant and a woman and only found success late in life for her minimal, beautiful works.
A LIFE IN COLOR: A COMIC ABOUT CORITA KENT
Illustrated by Mica Borovinsky
Corita Kent joined a religious order after high school and became fascinated with screen printing. She would go on to be described as “the pop art nun who combined the sensibility of Andy Warhol with social justice,” and helped to bring a little more color to the world.
BREAKING THE MARBLE CEILING: A COMIC ABOUT EDMONIA LEWIS
Illustrated by Rachel Bivens
The daughter of a Haitian father and an Ojibwe mother Lewis overcame many obstacles before finding success as a sculptor in Rome, where her fame brought countless visitors to her studio.
THE WEAVER’S WEAVER: A COMIC ABOUT KAY SEKIMACHI
Illustrated by Emily Ehlen
Kay Sekimachi and her family were forced into a Japanese incarceration camp during WWII. There, she spent her time making art. After the war, she discovered weaving and her innovative practices and mastery of techniques earned her the sobriquet “the Weaver’s Weaver.”
A GARDEN-THIRSTY SOUL: A COMIC ABOUT MARIA OAKEY DEWING
Illustrated by Kippy Sage
Born in 1845, the American painter known for her depiction of flowers described herself as a “Garden-Thirsty Soul.” Her promising career was overshadowed by her marriage to a more famous artist. Her artworks remain unsurpassed in celebrating the beauty of the natural world.
PORTRAIT: A COMIC ABOUT MICKALENE THOMAS
Illustrated by Shayna Cohen
When contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas was in art school, she couldn’t afford traditional materials and gravitated towards craft stores and the glitter and rhinestones within. Her paintings speak to female empowerment and of women of color owning and defining their own spaces.
DO YOU THINK I’M HIDING? A COMIC ABOUT ROMAINE BROOKS
Illustrated by Abigail Rajunov
Romaine Brooks suffered an abusive childhood but triumphed as an adult, embracing gender fluidity and her queer identity. Her fierce independence is inspiring to people today.