SAN DIEGO — In an industry typically dominated by men, two female artists are saying it’s time for a change.
For Roxy Prima and Phoebe Cornog, every project is a chance to fight for representation.
“Especially muraling, it’s hard for women to get the same opportunities, the same exposure and recognition as our male counterparts even though there are so many women in this industry,” Prima said.
Their passion is what makes them great friends and business partners but also what led them to start their nonprofit, Ladies Who Paint. Some data from the National Endowment for the Arts shows female artists earn less than 81 cents for every dollar made by male artists.
“We actually created Ladies Who Paint because we got invited to a mural festival, and [there] were 40 different artists and only three others were women," Prima said. "And that ratio didn’t really sit well with us because there’s so many amazing, talented female artists all over the world."
"It really is a problem. Just day-to-day, we face a lot of sexism," Cornog said. "Walking into the hardware store, like ‘oh are you sure you need that much paint, are you sure you can carry that, are you sure you’re able to operate the scissor lift?’ It’s constant.”
Ladies Who Paint is the first all-female mural festival. Since 2018, more than 20 murals have been painted all over East Village, Downtown and other parts of San Diego.
"It’s really fun when people come down from their apartment buildings and say, ‘I’ve been watching you install this mural, thanks for making my view better, it’s not just gray concrete anymore, it’s beautified, thank you.’ So that always feels really nice,” Cornog said.
They both hope to break down barriers with every wall they paint.
“We’re glad that the murals are going to be up hopefully for a really long time and people will get to see them,” Prima said.
Prima and Cornog also just published a new book they wrote together called "Wonder Walls" that gives practical and DIY advice to people who are interested in doing their own artwork at home.