3 Female Writers You Didn’t Know Were Also Visual Artists

From Cardi B to our dearly departed Mary Oliver, female artists are having a moment, and inspiration is swirling. Many women find that it’s necessary to have more than one creative outlet, from theater to photography to songwriting to sculpting. Here are three of my favorite voices in poetry, books, and songwriting who also happen to be brilliant visual artists.

Looking for something new to read? Here’s a suggestion for you!

Patti Smith

patti smith portrait redferns images

Redferns photo via NBC

Love outspoken women? Punk rocker, photographer, poet, activist… Patti Smith is a versatile and lasting powerhouse. Perhaps known mostly for her music, she’s also a National Book Award-winning and bestselling author, and more recently was featured in the New Yorker with a collection of photographs she took in Frida Kahlo’s home.

patti smith poet writer artist photographer painter frida kahlo photos crutches

“Frida Kahlo’s Crutches,” La Casa Azul, Coyoacán, Mexico, 2012 via the New Yorker

Sometimes her visual art includes pieces of original poetry, as in this mixed media work from 2006.

patti smith poet writer artist photographer painter contemplation and prayer

“Contemplation and Prayer, 2006 via the Robert Miller Gallery

Some of my favorite works, however, are her wordless paintings with splashes of color, like this silkscreen on canvas work from 2002.

Patti Smith poet writer artist photographer painter South Tower Skyline.jpg

“South Tower Skyline,” 2002 via the Robert Miller Gallery

Zelda Fitzgerald

Zelda Fitzgerald portrait writer artist painter.jpg

Getty via the New Daily

Scott Fitzgerald’s muse, Zelda, was a novelist herself. Her book Save Me the Waltz was republished in the 1990s along with other works that weren’t published during her lifetime. In the past few decades, her writing has finally been getting the praise it deserves.

Are you also an aspiring writer? Here’s some motivation.

zelda fitzgerald writer artist painter brooklyn bridge

“Brooklyn Bridge” in Zelda: An Illustrated Life via Brainpickings

What most people don’t know about Zelda is that she was also a prolific visual artist. She paints real life images, like that of New York City (above), as they might appear in a dream. Her art also includes fantasy scenes, like Hansel and Gretel, below.

Zelda Fitzgerald writer artist painter Hansel and Gretel.jpg

“Hansel and Gretel” in Zelda: An Illustrated Life via Brainpickings

Here’s a fun little aside… Rumor has it that there are two forthcoming films about Zelda, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlet Johansson!

Sylvia Plath

sylvia plath portrait from nyt.jpg

Bettmann via the New York Times

One of my favorite writers, Sylvia Plath, a poet and novelist, has a never-before-published short story coming out this month. Yes, I’ve pre-ordered a copy, and I’m impatiently waiting. In the meantime, I’m rereading The Bell Jar and poking around online looking at her paintings.

Sylvia Plath self portrait in semi-abstract style.jpg

“Self-Portrait in Semi-Abstract Style” courtesy of the Estate of Robert Hittel, copyright Estate of Sylvia Plath via Huck Magazine

Plath is also known for her struggle with mental illness and her suicide at only 30 years old. In her short life, she contributed immeasurably to literature. It’s a treat to know that she left behind these beautiful paintings, as well.

Sylvia Plath Triple-Face Portrait.jpg

“Triple-Face Portrait” courtesy of the Lilly Library, Indiana University, copyright Estate of Sylvia Plath via Huck Magazine

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Which of these artists is your favorite? Leave a quick comment!

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