I recently had the opportunity to interview Micaela Blondin, Canadian artist and co-creator of Flush Fatale about the project, and how her experience as a woman in the fine arts led to the project’s creation.
Connie: Can you explain what Flush Fatale is? How did you come up with the idea for it?
Micaela: Absolutely! So, Flush Fatale is a deck of cards illustrated by 54 different women from across the globe, and each card in the deck represents a different woman from history. I originally came up with the idea when I was asked to submit finished illustrations to a project without pay. I was tired of being asked for artwork without any compensation. So, I pitched the idea to my sister of a deck of cards, illustrated entirely by women, where we would pay the artists for their time. And once we got the ball rolling, we decided to make the theme of the project “Women from History,” since so many women of the past (and present, unfortunately) are not recognized for everything they did. So, it’s our way of trying to showcase the incredible things women in history achieved, while also supporting women artists.
C: That sounds like an incredible initiative. What has the response been like so far?
M: It’s been incredible to see the amount of support. When we launched our call for artists, we received over 3,250 portfolio submissions from women around the world, which we needed to narrow down to 54. It was an incredibly daunting task, but we got to see so much talent and hear the stories of women who were inspired by ladies throughout history. Even after our call for artists, everyone who has heard about the project has been exceptionally positive. It just shows us how important it is to have projects about women, pioneered by women.
C: I absolutely agree. You had mentioned earlier that the idea came about because of an incident involving being asked to submit illustrations without pay. As a woman in the fine arts, do you find that you’re held to a different standard than men?
M: Absolutely. I find that my skills are undervalued constantly, and when I post art anonymously, I often have men in particular assume that as a creator, I am male, especially in the video game and concept art industries. I’ve also had men tell me that I should use more revealing images in profile pictures or my website because my body would attract more customers than my art. But on the same note, I’ve been lucky to find an amazing community and family of other women artists. They understand the struggle of being a woman in the arts, and push me to want to be better, and create opportunities for other women artists.
C: What do you think needs to change in the art community regarding how female artists are treated, and how their work is evaluated?
M: Women artists need to be respected. Their art, their bodies, their personal space. Everything. Things are slowly changing; women are breaking into male dominated art fields, but it is slow-going. So when women do make strides to further the treatment of women artists and art, their achievements need to be respected and celebrated by everyone. But it is more than just helping women break into male-dominated fields. The areas that women already have a place in, such as illustrating children’s books, need more respect. Pay women what their time and energy is worth, and stop demanding free work in exchange for exposure. Respect our skills. Respect how hard we have had to work to get where we are today.
C: Do you have any advice for any female readers who may want to begin branching out when it comes to their art?
M: Dive into anything that fuels your passion. Want to try something but afraid to fail? Do it anyway. Every time you fail at something you learn from it, which you can in-turn use on the next thing you create. If you ever feel that there are no opportunities, or that the world is holding you down, then create moments and projects for you and those around you. Not only will you find a community to boost and learn alongside you, but in you will find inspiration to make something you never thought possible.
At the time of publication, the Kickstarter to fund the creation of Flush Fatale was unsuccessful. However, Micaela plans on revising and relaunching sometime this year. For more information, and to stay updated on the project, please visit www.flushfatale.com.
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