While researching Australian street artists to feature in a few weeks I came across Dabs and Myla. Originally, I was interested to see how they created work as a street art husband and wife team. However, the first portrait of the pair I came across was this one, which features the artists jokingly engaging in intercourse. This image was the leading one in an interview spread of the pair in Juxtapoz magazine and IT IS NOT OKAY.
Not only is Ian Campbell’s portrait creepy and weird, but an inappropriate way to contextualize a female artist. Often in canonical art history, female artists are often referred to in terms of their more famous male couterparts, take Lee Krasner for example. By showing the pair of artists jokingly having intercourse for their portrait, this ideology is only further reinforced. This picture equates the idea that as a woman artist, you have to have sex and attach yourself to a male artist to be known.
I would say even more-so than other art forms, female street artists are few and far between; when one does exist, they rarely make wide-spread recognition like their male counterparts. In the 80’s, street artists said that women couldn’t climb the layup walls to paint subway cars because they were too delicate and fragile. Even as street art has changed, this stereotype has persisted. Through imagery such as this portrait of Dabs and Myla, the idea of a woman street artist as not being equal to males is perpetuated in a different light.
Please note that even with my strong feelings on this portrait, we will still be featuring Myla in a few weeks, but I thought it would be inappropriate to so negatively editorialize while featuring their work.
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