Artists Equity was founded in March 1947 by more than 160 leading American artists, including Will Barnet, Thomas Hart Benton, George Biddle, Paul Cadmus, Stuart Davis, Arthur Dove, Edward Hopper, Jacob Lawrence, Louise Nevelson and the first President Yasuo Kuniyoshi.  These diverse artists were all clear on one point -- they had to band together to help one another.   

Meet some of the members of today's Artists Equity community.


tone sculptor of American culture

"When you say that somebody’s an artist, that means they can express pain in their medium and then release it."

Multimedia artist interested in more than what meets the eye

"I like to explore how things are presented and how people react to things. When creating work, I don’t initially think about how I can get people to like the work. I do it because I need to do it. The second step is then to think about how people would interact with it, and add more layers to it."

Art critic, curator, and founder of AS | Artists Studios

"What I find most interesting about underrepresented artists is that they go into their studios regularly and create amazing work that might never be seen. They do this because they feel it is important, which is an incredibly remarkable phenomenon."

Graphic, biomorphic, abstract painter

"The art community is important, which is why something like Artists Equity is important. It’s a resource and a hub where artists can get together and exchange ideas." 

Oil painter of the urban landscape

"The first thing I do when I enter someone’s home is look to see what they have hanging on the walls or what they have scattered about, all their little knickknacks, because that tells a lot about a person. I can’t imagine a life without art."

A peripatetic, abstract painter who currently happens to be looking at people

"In my experience, it’s about doing the things you love. And not for the market or for money because that all will follow if you’re doing the thing you love." 

Political, conceptual and public artist

"I like the term conceptual artist. My work starts with the idea, and the project comes out of it whether it's a book, idea, or party."

Painter of human interactions

"If you have a feeling that you need to make something, just really follow that feeling and try not to listen to anybody telling you anything otherwise."

A lens-based multi-media artist, scholar, and educator, who explores intimacy, structures of desire and the ways in which the sexual and the spiritual intersect

"I think people see their own truth reflected in my work. Even if the narrative is different, it gives them permission to think about intimacy in a more open-ended way."

Long time painter, drawer, and sculptor with numerous public art commissions

"You hope that someone looks at your work and has a connection to it; wants to stand in front of it for a while, wants to have it, live with it, and be with it."

Artist and curator

"Because of our virtual world, it’s easy to think you’ve actually seen the work if you’ve looked at images. But there’s no replacement for seeing work in the flesh. "

Former professional artist turned art lawyer

"The New York we live in can be, sometimes at all costs, financially driven. I find that artists are often instead single-mindedly true to themselves in pursuing a passion and a creative idea."

Senior Marketing Coordinator at the Whitney Museum of Art

"[An artist 'image'] is about how to use what is inherently true to yourself in order to create a 'brand', and not fitting into what is trending or in the news all the time."

Artist working in small scale and Assistant Director at FLAG Art Foundation

"The difference between being a curator and an artist is blurry for me – both are creative processes that involve problem-solving, thinking on your feet, and defending good work and ideas."

Founder of Ed. Varie and the Independent Art Book Fair. Art Director and Stylist. 

"In the arts, you should be able to be multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary. You don't have to do this to be a good artist, but I think that an artistic and creative mind can be open to a multitude of ways to creating."

Composite interior painter

"I always want people to feel when they look at my work, 'She really gave us everything she could, she poured out everything she had, she didn't hold back.'"

Founder of Red Art Projects, curator, and art marketing expert.

"I have a fascination with artists who address big ideas, and I’d like to give exposure to artists who haven’t had as much of a presence in NY as in Europe. "

Cross disciplinary artist

"It’s critical that artists still engage and talk with each other and work with each other. It goes back to diversity of ideas, communication, interacting and seeing shows, both historic and contemporary."