Women's History Month: Painters You Should Know About from Your Intersectional Feminist Buddy at YOUHANGIT

If you don't know what intersectional feminism is, here's a great article about it that everyone should read. But, in case you didn't click on that link, here's the basic definition:

Intersectional Feminism: "The view that women experience oppression in varying configurations and in varying degrees of intensity. Cultural patterns of oppression are not only interrelated, but are bound together and influenced by the intersectional systems of society. Examples of this include race, gender, class, ability, and ethnicity.” (Thank you for coining the term in 1989, Kimberlé Crenshaw.)

March is Women's History Month, so we thought we'd focus on some of the most influential — and some of the most obscure women painters history has not given much credence to. The reason I, your feminist buddy at YOUHANGIT, chose to write about these painters from an intersectional viewpoint is because feminism on its own does not include all of these painters because they are of different cultural, racial, and other backgrounds. For example, the writer of this article is intersectional because she is Latina, in an interracial marriage, and has psoriatic arthritis. But enough about me, am I right?! Here are the women painters we want you to know about, and we hope you'll be inspired to buy a print of one of their paintings online (and when you do, we hope you'll tag us on Instagram or post your sweet print on our Facebook page).

Mira Schendel, Graphic Objects

Mira Schendel, Graphic Objects

Mira Schendel (June 7, 1919 – July 24, 1988): Best known for her rice paper paintings and drawings, Schendel was a Jewish refugee of Swiss descent who settled in Brazil after being thrust out of Rome in 1949 by fascist Italian dictatorship. Despite her birthplace and upbringing in Italy, Schendel is known as a Latin American artist. Her works are not confined to paintings and drawings — Schendel was also a sculptor and poet. Despite the breadth of her art being composed through the 1940s–1960s, her works were all but unknown until a retrospective showing at The Drawing Center of New York in 2001. The Mira Schendel painting featured here, Graphic Objects, is currently at the Tate Modern in London.

Frida Kahlo, What the Water Gave Me

Frida Kahlo, What the Water Gave Me

Frida Kahlo (July 6, 1907-July 13, 1954): Born and raised in Mexico City, Kahlo began painting in earnest after a horrific accident bus accident, which left her with injuries that would haunt her for the rest of her life. Though she is quite famous, she is most often mentioned for having married Mexico's most famous painter, Diego Rivera. Perhaps the most iconic woman painter of all time, Kahlo is best known for her self-portraits. The tragedy of Kahlo’s fame as a self-portraitist is that people aren’t familiar with her other works, like the one featured here, What the Water Gave Me (1938): a surrealist view of her feet during a bathtub daydream she had after noticing something odd with her right foot — diagnosed 12 years later as gangrene — four years before her death. Kahlo was absolutely revolutionary and is in good company amid a tiny handful of women painters who were celebrated while still alive, and whose work actually sold during her lifetime after being shown at some of the world’s most famous galleries and museums. A courageous, gender bending, LGBTQ, communist, survivor, visionary, feminist, political activist who painted through an intense and radically unique lens — this is Frida Kahlo.

Janet Sobel, Heavenly Sympathy

Janet Sobel, Heavenly Sympathy

Janet Sobel (1894–1968): Jackson Pollock is known as the father of American Abstract Expressionism and is usually credited for the invention of "drip painting" — but in fact, Janet Sobel invented drip painting years before Pollock set cigarette-laden hand to canvas. Born in the Ukraine in the late 1800s, Sobel arrived to the US as a teenager the way most immigrants of her day did, through Ellis Island. Her drip paintings and other works were featured in a book published in 1945. And, though it is hardly a known fact, Pollock mentioned in passing — practically under breath — that he had seen Sobel's drip paintings in this book and noted they had "made an impression" on him. Keeping in mind Pollock's hyper-famous works sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars... after he rebranded this technique as "action painting." Nonetheless, Sobel's work is a breathtaking look at the work of a foreign-born, Americanized painter, and is a quintessential part of American art history.

Solange Knopf, Spirit Codex No. 15

Solange Knopf, Spirit Codex No. 15

Solange Knopf (1957- ): Born in Brussels, Knopf is a self-taught artist and globetrotting survivor of what remains rather unclear. Her brilliant acrylic, graphite, and other mediums show us the view into the mind of a wounded soul with beautiful precision, detail, and acuity. Her notable struggle with depression and tragedy are magnified in her enormous catalog, most notably the Behind the Darkness series and the Spirit Codex series. Even though she is a contemporary artist of clearly crucial relevance, very little is known about her — while it's possible to find tomes of her work online, you won't hear anyone talking about Knopf at your local coffee shop. Knopf is an enigmatic figure, but an important one: the under-representation of her work and that of so many others is sadly a testament to women artists falling into the shadows of their male counterparts — even in the "liberated" 21st century.

From all across the world, there are women artists from every era in history, these are just a few. Here is a more comprehensive list for those who would like to read up on intersectional women artists from every corner of the world:

Countless others can be found on the Wikipedia page of Women Artists, which dates back to the Neolithic era. Long live the woman artist: celebrate Women’s History Month by purchasing a print from one of these amazing contributors to art history and human culture.

Fabric + Large Scale Canvas = 1-2-3 DIY Designer Art

Simple DIY art: duo using fabric stretched across canvas stretcher bars

Simple DIY art: duo using fabric stretched across canvas stretcher bars

Sometimes, when you first move into a new house or apartment, you have little to no art — and you aren't having any luck when you try to track down any affordable artwork at any of your area shops. If you're the kind of person who refuses to buy mass retail art from, well, mass retailers, first let us say, you're pretty cool for not giving in, even though the price is right. Second, let us say there is a way for you to create your own DIY art on the cheap.

Stretch Your Own Large Canvas: Getting Started

All you need is a canvas of whichever size you want (or can find) from the thrift store, nearby dumpsters (hint: look behind galleries and craft stores). If you're really committed to the idea of large scale art, you may have to stretch the canvas yourself — here are some simple instructions on how to do that (keeping in mind your canvas will be blank).

Once you've handled that portion, let your canvas (or canvases) sit while you head off to the fabric store. The best fabrics to make square canvas tapestry art like this is the same kind of fabric used for upholstery. Lucky for you, there are billions of upholstery fabrics that vary from totally bland to absolutely wild prints — like cats playing pianos, melting clocks, or peacock feathers and rainbows.

Measure Twice, Cut Once: Ensuring You Get Enough Fabric for Your Large Scale Art

A nice BoHo Chic touch for this homey kitchen

A nice BoHo Chic touch for this homey kitchen

First, you're going to measure your canvas width and height (write those numbers down, please). You're going to pick fabrics from reams that are taller than your canvas — that means you will have to go to a craft or fabric store, because they aren't likely going to have the large scale upholstery fabric you need to completely cover your canvas. Once you find a pattern you like that is large enough to stretch across your canvas, ensure that the person cutting the fabric cuts larger than you need. For example, let's say your canvas is 48 inches wide. Have the clerk cut the fabric at around 55 inches so you have plenty of extra fabric to stretch and work with — just in case you measured wrong :)

Creating Art from Fabric on Large Scale Stretched Canvas

When you get home, lay the fabric out evenly and flatly across a hardwood, laminate, or other hard floor. Next, grab your canvas, which should now be stretched across canvas stretcher bars (per our instructions available in the link above). Use the same method to stretch your upholstery fabric across the stretcher bars that you used to stretch the canvas (this is why we don't use materials like jersey — because it stretches way too much, revealing the canvas underneath.)

Once you've done this, you're done — you have art. If you really want a specific part of the pattern to be in the center, the corner, or a specific side of the canvas, make sure the fabric is cut with that pattern close to the center or corner you want it in.

Creating a Duo or Triptych Using the Same Canvas Stretching Method

Just like you see in the top photo, the person who created these pieces of fabric art, also known as framed or stretched tapestries, utilized the repeat of the pattern on the fabric to their advantage, creating a visually appealing set of large scale pieces that compliment one another. You can also do this with three pieces (a triptych) or you can take several smaller canvases and pick multiple fabric patterns that work well together in terms of design. 

Fun for the Whole Family: Stretching Very Large Scale Canvases

If you are stretching a particularly large canvas, perhaps anything larger than four by four feet, it's nice to have some help from friends and family when it comes time to stretch, staple, cut, and so on. The cool part is that these huge pieces of art are a lot like hanging a tapestry, but these don't sway in the wind, and they're not fun for the cats to play with the ends of, leaving you with a frayed hunk of fabric just chilling on your wall looking pretty tragic. In fact, if you have a tapestry you like, stretching it across canvas stretcher bars can be a great way to preserve it.

Once all of this is done, you'll need to add wire to the back of the canvas. Here's a fun video that explains exactly how to do that. Once you've accomplished this, your fabric art is ready to hang on the wall! Depending on how heavy your fabric art is, you may want to consider using more than one Sexy Metal Hook from your YOUHANGIT Kit — in this way, your art will always be level because two hooks can keep art in place and keep it from swinging and becoming off-kilter the way it gets when it's hung on only one hook. Plus, when you use a Sexy Metal Hook from YOUHANGIT, as long as you use the hook(s) of the correct weight, you don't have to go looking for a stud — you can hang these pieces wherever you like — no stud required!

We hope you guys will get into the DIY art spirit and create a few of these and tag us on Instagram @youhangit or post images of your stretched fabric artwork to our YOUHANGIT Facebook page so we can all see and comment!

Happy fabric shopping — be sure to find the cats playing pianos and/or something with unicorns incorporated into the pattern :)

Turn Your Kid's Art Into Something Presentable: the Transformational Value of Painter's Tape

You don't deserve this. No one deserves this. Make a different kind of memory that won't give you the shakes every time you recall it.

You don't deserve this. No one deserves this. Make a different kind of memory that won't give you the shakes every time you recall it.

Maybe you've been privy to a scene like the one here. A wild child running rampant through a room of your house on a Saturday night yelling, "I painted somfin' special fer you, mama!" The little darling doesn't understand that mama and daddy will be on their hands and knees with everything from rubbing alcohol, bleach, and vinegar to make that floor right.

So, a couple of things here. Number one, keep the paint out of the reach of your kiddos. We are telling you this from experience. Next, if you plan to allow your kids to run ape wild with the paint, invest in the biggest tarp on the face of the Earth. If they cannot paint outside due to weather, spread that tarp across every inch of the floor... maybe just refloor your house with painting tarp.

Kids love it when you save their art, hang their art everywhere, and Lord have mercy, do they ever notice when you don't hang it up or when you take it down. So instead of freaking out about huge messes and loading up your walls with "baby's pretty paintings" utilize painter's tape to help them create masterpieces. Trust us when we tell you — it TOTALLY works!

We were squirreling around the Interwebs when a YHI Team Member found this amazing article about using painter's tape for kid's paintings, and it's kind of amazing that no one else has thought of this before. So here's the basic gist, and it is VERY basic — plus it creates actual artwork you can hang on your walls without sighing afterward.

Step One: Throw down that tarp the size of Belize

Ahhh, that's more like it! Image courtesy of RobinEggBlue on Blogspot

Ahhh, that's more like it! Image courtesy of RobinEggBlue on Blogspot

Step Two: Grab a couple of 20 by 24 canvases per kiddo. BEFORE you hand them out, use the painter's tape to create cool geometrical shapes across each of them, as seen in the photo here (this is the finished product, but you can see where the parent placed the tape — use this theme for your shapes or think up your own ideas, like diagonal stripes, triangles, squares, and so on.)

Step Three: Strip those kids down to their chonies or put them in clothes you absolutely don't care about whatsoever... because there is going to be paint everywhere.

Step Four: Let loose the dogs of war. Paint war, that is. Allow your little wild things paint with brushes, their fingers, sponges, their feet, whatever.

Step Five: Don't let things get too out of hand — at the first sign of paint on the canvases starting to get muddy and no longer have distinct, vibrant tones, grab those rug rats and throw them in the bath. Keep in mind, this is a two-parent, two-bottle-of-wine job. So while one parent scrubs down the kids and throws them in their jammies, the other parent will grab all the canvases, set them somewhere safe to dry, and take the Belize-sized tarp outside and hose it down.

Step Six: Wait for the paintings to dry completely. This will take 24 hours. (HINT: DO NOT USE OIL PAINT!!!!) Once you've waited 24 full hours, gently remove the painter's tape to reveal sweet patterns and designs, like the ones you see in the image here from Robin Egg View Blog.

Step Seven: Now you have beautiful art made by your kids. These are so cool because if you have your children make enough of them, you can actually hang them super close together to make one gigantic collage for their bedroom or play room, nursery, or even your living room if they're cool enough.

Once the canvases are complete, you can add wire to the back using these simple directions, making them easily hangable with one 10-pound Sexy Metal Hook from your YOUHANGIT Designer Kit.

Once you've done a couple of these, be sure to upload pics to the YOUHANGIT Facebook page or tweet us your images @YOUHANGIT. We can't wait to see what you all come up with — all thanks to good, ol' fashioned painter's tape!

YOULEVEL: The Single Most Useful Tool After Earthquakes, Tornadoes, and Other Natural Disasters

Maybe our favorite standalone part of the YOUHANGIT arsenal: the YOULEVEL

Maybe our favorite standalone part of the YOUHANGIT arsenal: the YOULEVEL

Recently, one of our YHI Team Members living in Central California experienced a 4.9 magnitude earthquake. Thankfully, everything was okay, and no one was harmed. While 4.9 may not seem like a huge earthquake, it's certainly enough to throw things off balance, including all the framed photos, artwork, mirrors, and other items hung on the wall. This got us to thinking: the YOULEVEL — our hands-free level found in many of the YOUHANGIT Kits you can find in our online store, on Amazon, and at Michaels — is a pretty great tool on its own.

After you've gone through the process of hanging all your art, speakers, photos, mirrors, and other wall-mountable items upon moving in to a new space, keep your YOULEVEL in an easy-to-reach and find place.

As in the instance of our YHI Team Member, the YOULEVEL allowed her to re-level all the artwork in her home without breaking out any large, unwieldy tools like some of the other hands-free levels you see on the market today (huge, wacky looking contraptions) that are sold separately, whereas the YOULEVEL is sold both as a one-off item as well as in most of the YOUHANGIT Kits, including the Designer Kit, the Decor and More Kit, the Sounder Kit, and others.

If your home withstands the blows of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, tornado, or hurricane and you're lucky enough for it not to destroy your house, the YOULEVEL allows you to quickly and easily ensure that all your wall-mounted art, photos, shelves, and mirrors are hanging straight.

This simple tool is so easy to use: it takes pretty much zero direction, but here's some anyway — check out this video on the various ways the YOULEVEL works for leveling art and photos as well as for things like leveling curtain rods, towel racks, surge protectors, and other items before you hang them.

Our other favorite thing about the YOULEVEL is how portable it is. You can carry it in your pocket as you make your way through your house, checking on each individual frame, canvas, or even candelabra.

Our homage to the YOULEVEL is a personal one: of course, this is a product we sell and have always stood by as a key contributor to successful wall hanging jobs. But understanding now that it can be utilized as a tool to make life just a little bit easier after a rough and tumble afternoon or early morning with Mother Nature... makes this innovative hands-free level that much cooler in our eyes.

How to Find the Best Thrift Store Art and Hang it Right the First time!

There's seriously nothing better than thrift store art

There's seriously nothing better than thrift store art

If you've recently moved and/or don't have a lot of art (or any) on your walls, on of the best and most affordable places to start is your local thrift store. While it may seem passé, trendy, or even silly, trust us when we tell you: thrift stores are virtual treasure troves when it comes to art you can hang on the wall.

Landscape Paintings for Lovers of the Pastoral and Bucolic Arts

Thrift stores usually have plenty of landscape art. From floral fields to forests, mountainous musings to valley views, and more, you can find landscape art from every imaginable season and era when you delve into the back of your local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any one-off, mom-and-pop thrift stop.

The Utterly Wild: The Kind of Art You Can Only Find at Thrift Stores

If you're the kind of person who loves something a little wonky, anachronistic, or just extraordinarily "out there," in your wall hangings, the thrift store should be your first stop.

You'll find everything from the Muppets playing poker to Jackson Pollock-esque pieces that actually beautify the home. There's no shortage of oddities in thrift stores and other resale outlets.

Portraits of People You Never Knew and Other Thrift Store Paintings

Maybe some of the coolest — or most haunting — types of thrift store paintings are portraits of people you may or may not know. Perhaps you'll find a novice or even well done portrait of a famous person like Dolly Parton. But chances are, you may also likely find portrait art of family members that were cleared out of a home at some point. These are often beautifully done, and you might be wise to pick up a painting like this simply because it is well done, offers beautiful coloring, and best of all, because you can tell visitors to your home it's a revered person from your family lineage.

Other portraits that are very popular in thrift stores of those of religious figures: Jesus, La Virgen de Guadalupe, or the whole manger scene. These can be great finds whether you're religious or not, simply because they are great art.

Other Thrift Store Finds: Wall Hangings of All Kinds

Thrift Stores are loaded with all manner of mirrors, candelabras, shadowboxes, curtain rods, and wall fixtures, which can all be easily mounted to your wall using the YOUHANGIT Designer Kit — the hands-free YOULEVEL comes especially in handy when trying to level a candelabra or other unique sconce or other eccentric piece of wall art.

The Best Way to Hang Thrift Store Art

If the art you find is already framed and still has its original wire hanger in good shape, you're good to go — you'll simply hang it using one (or two, depending on size and weight) YOUHANGIT devices to make your mark, and one (or two, depending on size and weight) Sexy Metal Hooks to hang the painting once you've made your marks with the YOUHANGIT(s).

If, on the other hand, the artwork you picked up is a little shabby in the "how to hang" department, you can affix your own wire hanger using D-rings and wire purchased from a frame shop or from Michaels.


Focus on frames: amazing thrift store finds!

Focus on frames: amazing thrift store finds!

In some instances, you may need to hang using keyholes or sawtooth hangers — you can pick these up at most any hardware store — the Hillman Group makes very affordable art hanging hardware, which is available at Lowe's. For more on how to install these onto the back of your art, check out our instructional blog about hanging art on slanted walls — there's an instructional there on how to install keyholes with ease.

Using Thrift Store Paintings for Their Awesome Frames

Sometimes, the best thing about a thrift store painting is the frame it's in. Don't let a poorly painted piece of artwork detract from a frame you could use for something else, such as a DIY home project like this one. Likewise, if you are a painter yourself, you may find a killer frame at the thrift that will work wonderfully for something you've painted yourself. Rather than spending a fortune on a brand new frame, head to your local thrift joint to find some incredible art frames for your own work or that of a friend or family member.