5 Women Artists in the Underground Art World

Fine Art and Real Estate Broker Anna D. Smith celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring 5-notable Women in Art.


Swoon – Activist and Humanitarian [https://www.widewalls.ch/artists/swoon/

Swoon is known for her instantly recognizable life-sized wheat-paste prints – all hand cut – of highly detailed figures situated on walls and abandoned buildings in Brooklyn and Manhattan. 

Being an activist and humanitarian, Swoon’s work reflects social and environmental issues. Her art is inspired by both art historical and folk sources and largely based on the pictures as reference, ranging from German Expressionist woodblock prints to Indonesian shadow puppets.


Maya Hayuk

 https://www.instagram.com/mayahayuk/ Maya Hayuk (born 1969 in Baltimore, Maryland) is an internationally exhibited American artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. She is best known for the bold geometric patterns she employs in large-scale murals.

Hayuk received a BFA in 1991 from Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she has also studied at the University of Odessa, in Ukraine and at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

She gathers her inspiration from pysanka, mandalas, chandeliers, views from the Hubble Telescope, holograms, Rorschach tests, and the surrounding environment.

Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions and commissions at venues including UCLA’s Hammer Museum, The Museum Of Contemporary Canadian Art, Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht and Socrates Sculpture Park in New York.


Kristi Russell


This isn’t really my whole story, just a lil about me and my artistry and why I am in Prison.

I grew up as a ward of the court in and out of foster care. I am a survivor of childhood trauma by my own family. I basically raised myself in the streets/ addicted to numbing drugs and prostituting (and trafficked) to survive the basics in life.

I’ve been in and out of institutions my whole life each time I try something new and manage to do well. Loneliness and despair are my downfalls…ironically, I’m a loner with major depression…lol.

Some of my work is Kristi’s Portraits. And I just started drawing 2016-2019 while in TDCJ (I’m self-taught). In fact, when I got out, I started a business “portraits2tattoos” 

Because my heart had prospered into desiring a newness for life, unfortunately, my foundation hadn’t changed at all. Hence, being in the Department of Corrections again.

As a matter of fact, I basically relapsed after many years of being clean and sober. When I moved in with my birth mom Feb 2020 and things didn’t go so well. In short; Covid hit, I had no job, I had a car note due then my mom kicked me out. So, I found ease and comfort in the bottle and within weeks was selling drugs to survive and then ingesting them in defeat at what had become of me. May 2020 I was in jail and my history’s points got me back in prison.

Thankfully I have job skills such as bookkeeping, law clerk, drug counselor, caregiver and now an artist!

I have no family or even friends to speak of so I’m going it alone.

I’m honored to share. Prayerfully things will be different! I don’t know how or where yet. But I remain hopeful!


Bianca Xunise

A lifelong Chicagoan, Bianca Xunise was inspired by everything from Sailor Moon to the modernist artwork of Paul Rand in developing her own professional art career. After graduating with a degree in graphic design, Xunise became a prolific cartoonist and designer, publishing work through Vogue, The Washington Post and Shondaland. She is also the second-ever Black female cartoonist to work on a nationally-syndicated comic strip, with her work on King Features’ Six Chix.

Xunise has published her own webcomics and online journals including Say Her Name, Rock Against Racism and Goth Throb to award-winning acclaim. Addressing issues facing the Black community and her love of rock and roll, including socially conscious punk bands like Bad Brains, Xunise’s work showcases a strong artistic voice on the rise, catching the spirit of the time.



 [Bay Area Artist | Tessie Barrera-Scharaga Art Studio (tessbscharaga.com)]

artist statement:

I’m a conceptual installation/assemblage artist that creates site-specific and time-based environments, using a variety of media and technology. In my work I incorporate clay, found and rescued objects, recorded sound, photography, video, and printmaking, particularly silk-screen and polymer-plate generated images. The themes I draw on are based on my questions, insights, hopes, concerns, and conclusions about the world around me. I have always been fascinated by the connections between social and cultural phenomena and personal psychological experience. Human stories inspire me, fill me with admiration, and also terrify me. My work is at times painful, at times joyful, and always viscerally attached to the realities of contemporary life, my own and the lives of those who share this planet with me.


Tessie Barrera-Scharaga finds many ideas for her work in the creative tension between private subjective values and social concerns. She is a mixed-media installation/assemblage artist who draws a direct correlation between her artistic drive and process, and her experiences growing up in South and Central America. Catholic nuns introduced her to the poems of Ruben Dario, Gabriela Mistral, and Pablo Neruda, and thus began a life-long addiction to poetry and an appreciation for symbolism and metaphor. Her assemblage and installation pieces go beyond the boundaries of media, to the symbolic realm where both the conscious and unconscious minds are accessed. Ephemera takes center stage, and Barrera-Scharaga arranges her materials to allow for associations between the ordinary and the extraordinary; the rational and the irrational. 

 Found objects are combined with paper, wood, metal, clay, fabric, video, and sound.  Unexpected pairings channel and challenge the viewers’ collective memory: a chair obliterated by the lines of a poem; a wedding gown covered in clay; a house bandaged in surgical gauze. Her themes move from love and loss, to desire, transformation, and transcendence. Through her work Barrera-Scharaga directs the viewers’ attention to a broad spectrum of personal, political, and environmental concerns.

 Born in New York City of Colombian and Salvadoran parents, Barrera-Scharaga followed her family’s trajectories through the Americas (North, Central, and South) in her childhood and teenage years, returning to the U.S. to attend college. Though she has resided in California for most of her adult life, she continues to maintain a deep connection to her Latin American cultural roots. Tessie Barrera-Scharaga received a BFA in Spatial Arts from San Jose State University, and an MFA in Studio Art from Mills College. She lives and works in San Jose, California, where she has shown her work extensively. She also participates in art shows in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and abroad. 

Recent shows include Living With Endangered Languages in the Information Age at Root Division in San Francisco, CA, Songs and Sorrows at the Oakland Museum, and most recently, Kindness as Resistance, at the Euphrat Museum, in Cupertino, CA.  

Tessie Barrera-Scharaga has been the recipient of grants from the Center for Cultural Innovation and the San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs. She has also received recognition from local art organizations for artistic excellence, and awards for her leadership in community art projects.    


Women’s History Month is a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society and has been observed annually in the month of March in the United States since 1987. Women’s History Month 2022 will take place from Tuesday, March 1-Thursday, March 31, 2022. 

The actual celebration of Women’s History Month grew out of a weeklong celebration of women’s contributions to culture, history and society organized by the school district of Sonoma, California, in 1978.

Women’s History Month is a dedicated month to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history. From Abigail Adams to Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth to Rosa Parks, the timeline of women’s history milestones stretches back to the founding of the United States.

Want more of this kind of content? Be sure to read my February’s blog for Black History Month, “5-Notable Women in Real Estate.”

$1,000.00 Savings

For Woman’s History Month, Mar 1 – 31, 2022, Fine Art and Real Estate Broker Anna D. Smith is taking a $1000,00 off on all prints priced over a $1,000.00, by California prison artist Donald “C-Note” Hooker.

Visit the Home Page to shop for over 200 Art prints by C-Note, the world’s most prolific prison artist.

Enter the discount code EGDKTC. This offer expires on Mar 31.

If you know someone whose Women’s History Month story should be told, tell me and my audience about them in the reply.

If you have additional information, my audience and I would love to hear about it. Tell us about it in the reply.


If you have additional information, my audience and I would love to hear about it. Tell us about it in the reply.