Welcome to the first installment of The Creative Class, a new monthly feature that shines the spotlight on unique women who are contributing to the fields of art, comedy, film, and more in unique and surprising ways.
Our December selection highlights the works of visual artist, writer, and director Miranda July alongside photographer and music video director Nadia Lee Cohen. There’s also Golden Globe-nominated television star and writer Issa Rae as well as Caroline Solomon, the hilarious woman behind Instagram’s @LowCheekbones parody account.
Artists like Miranda July do not come along very often. As a perpetual curator of life experiences, she’s a little bit of everything: an experimental/installation/visual artist, a writer, a director, an actor, a dancer, an interviewer, an activist – the list goes on. She creates new specimens of art from the mundane like a mad scientist alchemizing coal into gold in an underground lab. As a writer, her prose is singularly unique, startling, and even strange, yet there is something familiar at the heart of every story.
The 2005 arthouse film Me and You and Everyone We Know – which July wrote, directed, and starred in – speaks volumes of her creative brilliance. One particularly memorable scene depicts a goldfish in a plastic bag, forgotten on the roof of a car, and plays out in mesmerizing fashion. Her best-selling collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, also comes highly recommended.
Nadia Lee Cohen
In 2012, Nadia Lee Cohen won the coveted Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, and was exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery. She was only 22 at the time. She’s as beautiful as a supermodel and not shy in front of the camera lens, often acting as her own subject. It’s when Cohen turns her creative eye to American suburbia, however, that her visual talent truly shines.
Her photo series, while vibrantly hued and deeply saturated, is also acidic in its portrayal of the suburban housewife, surrounded by the trappings of Los Angeles excess. Her work is shot through with echoes of David Lynch surrealism and John Waters campiness, and includes disturbing portrayals of the female body or traditional modes of femininity – yet it is not without a sense of humor. Case in point: the terrifically bizarre and aggressively styled music video for “Gilligan” that she just shot for D.R.A.M. featuring A$AP Rocky and Juicy J. Cohen has also landed major fashion campaigns for brands like Miu Miu, and recently landed a photoshoot with two of our favorite influencers, Simi and Haze Khadra.
There used to be a dearth of TV shows featuring all-black casts, but they are appearing on the cultural horizon much more frequently in the present day. Of the crop of emerging black television stars, Issa Rae stands head and shoulders above the rest.
Her HBO comedy series Insecure is a massive hit and was nominated for a Golden Globe this year, despite wrapping only its second season. Not only has Rae contributed mightily to creating a realistic portrayal of modern black life in southern Los Angeles, but she has also crafted a show that depicts genuine female relationships.
The parody-driven @LowCheekbones account on Instagram is run by one fabulously funny woman named Caroline Solomon. A former beauty editor based in New York City, she delightfully skewers beauty tutorials with her own unique versions that demonstrate, for instance, how to turn your face into the Wonder Bread bag.
She also pokes fun at fashion’s serious side with a character who possesses a posh accent, parades around with poodles, and wears the latest “Gucci” creations (like a “halter dress” made from a torn Gucci bag). @LowCheekbones has already been dubbed the “funniest account on Instagram”, so if you need a good laugh – and who doesn’t – click the Follow button immediately.