International Women’s Day: 4 Artists You Should Know

On March 8th every year, International Women’s Day calls for a celebration of the great accomplishments women have achieved all over the world. In spite of innumerable obstacles, women throughout history have fought tirelessly for gender parity and equality, and that critical work continues to this day. As we look toward the future with optimism, we’d like to recognize some of the women in our artist community who make Threadless such an eclectic, imaginative, and unpredictable place to find art.

Each of the following artists has a unique perspective that informs their art style and makes their designs among our personal favorites. We’re excited for you to get to know them better—in their own words! Happy International Women’s Day!

Cosmic Medium illuminates Black culture and femininity.

Cosmic Medium is a bold, bright celebration of Black culture. What are some of the themes you wish to convey through your art?

L. Laura Coleman, founder of Cosmic Medium: My creations aim to provide and cultivate diverse art of women and women of color by depicting women of color in a positive light from my perspective. My vision is represented in my art to systemically support women that strive to have a voice in this modern world and the future world. My artistic journey and process will continue to be shared for women creatives to learn from and inspire more women to incorporate ideas within their creations.

How have your experiences as a woman influenced your work?

A career as an independent Black female artist/creative can be challenging and, at times, isolating. As a result of my experiences, I hope to create a community of female creatives to connect them with other industry professionals and creators, and to collaborate and cultivate new projects. My mission is not just to serve myself, but to serve my community and the future of female creators by creating a place for female artists to converge with a new creative mindset, form allyships, and build lasting friendships.

Cosmic Medium Instagram Post

You’ve released a few coloring books, including Color in My Style, Black Queen Coloring Book, and Black Queen Coloring Book and Planner. What inspired you to make coloring books and what are some of the benefits of coloring, particularly for adults?

I was inspired to create coloring books because coloring was an enjoyable activity that I looked forward to during my childhood. It brought me back to good memories during my childhood. Fast-forward to adulthood and parenthood, I needed that simple activity to bring back good memories during stressful times. So I created coloring books for adults, and enjoyed calming their nerves and eliminating worries. Some benefits of coloring for adults include increased focused, improved mood, and reduced anxiety levels.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

If any female artists of color are looking for a collaborative creative community, I am planning to launch an art collective at BlackCreativeGirl.com. I have not officially launched but I have a few artists who have signed up and expressed interest, and I would like to extend the invitation to others who may be interested.

I Heart Guts shows it’s what’s inside that counts.

You describe yourself as “anatomically obsessed.” What started this obsession? Have you always been curious about the inner workings of the human body?

Wendy Bryan Lazar, founder of I Heart Guts: Well, I have always been a huge nerd. Ask anyone I went to school with. Art and science were always my favorite subjects; I was either doodling or dissecting worms and frogs. Being nerdy is cool because it just means being interested in stuff. The human body is especially interesting because we all have one! For me, art and science are close to my heart because both help explore the world around us.

I Heart Guts Instagram Post

The story behind your award-winning plush organs is as inspiring as it is heartwarming (pun intended). What is your favorite organ and which makes the best cuddle buddy?

Ooof, that’s a tough question! That’s like asking me to pick my favorite child! But if pressed, the uterus plush is my favorite. This organ is everyone’s first cramped home, you know? No matter who you are, you got your start inside a uterus—that’s pretty amazing! As far as cuddles go, our penis neck pillow is very snuggly—it’s just such a supportive pal! How many penises can you say that about?

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Like so many other parents, COVID-19 has thrown my work life into turmoil. I have kids at home and it’s been hard to find time for work and creativity. Lately, I’ve been taking our anatomy infographics—like “How Your Thyroid Works” or “All About Ovulation”—and turning them into prints, blankets, and tote bags on Threadless. It’s fun for people to have a little anatomy lesson on a cuddly pillow, and it helps breathe new life into old artwork!

Frog Witch conjures positive energy with frog memes.

On Instagram, you describe yourself as a frog, a witch, and sometimes an artist. Where did your love for frogs originate?

Frog Witch: First, let me say that as a frog, a witch, and sometimes an artist, I am also an intersectional feminist. I am absolutely honored to be interviewed for International Women’s Day.

Long story short: frogs are (and always have been) my special interest. I’m pretty sure my love for frogs started when I leaped out of my mother’s womb. As a kid, I always had a magical connection to frogs. I’ve only gotten more infatuated with them as I have grown older. Frog symbolism is all over the place. Some believe frogs are good fortune and a sign of transformation. While on the opposite end, others believe that they are the familiars of witches. I feel like frogs can be multifaceted and be all those things perfectly, which I realize is such a Libra thing to say, but life is all about balance—right?

What gave you the idea to start creating frog memes?

Funny enough, I have a heavy art background. I was previously an art teacher and I have my master’s in art, but I now work as an operations manager. As much as I get fulfillment from gainful employment, as an “art person,” my brain just wants to create and make stuff. I have always had a quirky sense of humor, so it just felt natural to incorporate my pent-up creativity and silly jokes into making memes with something I was passionate about: frogs. I humbly never expected anyone other than my parents to like my posts, so it’s extremely flattering to me that people enjoy them.

As a creative person, I have struggled with having a non-creative career and wanting to be an artist, but oddly in this journey, I have come to the conclusion that I can do both successfully. It feels really nice in my brain and art heart. I strongly encourage anyone having the same crisis to just create! Do it in any capacity you are able to! It has truly brought me back to life.

Frog Witch Instagram Post

Many of your inspirational frog memes are centered around positivity and self care. What are some of the activities that help you recharge amid the daily chaos of the world?

Thank you for noticing those themes! I’m a huge advocate for self care and mental wellness. I really try to listen to my brain and body to understand what they specifically need. As for my personal favorite ways to recharge: nature has always grounded me. Hikes, rockhounding, soaking up the sunshine, or just exploring Arizona all recharge my body. When I’m not purposely lost in nature or looking for crystals in the forest, I absolutely love to take ritual baths or do Yin yoga in my apartment. My dog is very good at Shavasana (the part where you just lay down) so I let her join me. During the pandemic, I stress purchased a mini air fryer so now I can have mozzarella sticks anytime I want! Hot cheese in any form = self care.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Looking into the crystal ball, the future of @Frogwitch is more mystical frog things with sprinkles of sass in the storm of good vibes. I’ve been incorporating my meme templates in my posts so people are able to make their own memes. I absolutely love to see when people make memes or art from my posts. @Frogwitch has always been a space for positive and creative experiences, not just for me, but for everyone.

To the Threadless community and frog community: thank you so much for your ongoing support. It truly means the world to me that you enjoy my memes. It’s REALLY cool. My heart is so full. One last thing: If you are ever in a creative rut or need inspiration, just draw some frogs! XOXO

Jessie Paege sings about issues that really matter.

You’re a multitalented musician and artist who takes on themes such as mental health, body positivity, and embracing your identity. What advice would you give someone on their own path toward self-discovery?

Jessie Paege: I had a bad relationship with spending time alone. Back in high school, I felt this pressure to fill my time without letting myself just reflect. When I was alone, I needed to catch up with my favorite television show or fill that time in a productive way. I think I was intimidated by the idea of just being alone with my thoughts. It took a lot of time, but I realized that having this time alone with your thoughts is so incredibly important. It’s not easy and we might discover things about ourselves that will make life more challenging. But once you really listen to yourself, it’ll be worth the challenge to finally understand who you are on the inside.

Who are the women that inspire your art the most, whether it’s music or any other medium?

Sadie Samet did my art for “Full Course Meal” merch. She’s an amazing LGBTQ+ artist that makes comics and stories ranging from her Coming Out Story to Gay Mermaids. It’s fun and emotional. They’re LGBTQ+ stories that show us how beautiful sexuality is, but don’t belittle the emotional struggles of the community.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I just released an EP! I’m releasing all the music videos for that with my merch, but while you’re waiting for that, you can look up Jessie Paege on Spotify. :)

We’d like to thank all of the artists who participated in our International Women’s Day celebration! There are so many more women in our artist community who create amazing, thought-provoking art. We wish we could spotlight them all! To continue the celebration, read our interviews with Tragic Girls creator Katie Mansfield and illustrator Gemma Gené.

The designs featured at the top of this post are “Love U” and “Vadges of Many Colors” by I Heart Guts.

Rafael Velez

Copywriter at Threadless. Lover of thin-crust pizza, heavy metal, and B horror movies. Food source for a husky and two cats.