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Brittany Vogel

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Brittany Vogel

Brittany Vogel

A Powerful Artist Paints Powerful Women

By Tara Ryazansky

Photos courtesy of Brittany Vogel

Artist Brittany Vogel paints iconic women she admires like Kamala Harris and Harriet Tubman. Graphic portraits of her subjects pop against colorful collages depicting their accomplishments.

“The series is called Powerful Women,” Vogel says. “It’s meant to celebrate extraordinary women in history. The idea is to amplify the stories, lessons, and achievements of amazing women. If I could place a spotlight on these women, then there’s an example others can follow. It’s really meant to be inspiration for the next generation or to give strength to women who are already trying to make their way.”

She didn’t know that she would have to draw on that strength and inspiration herself to make her art.

“In January of 2020 I did a mural at the Columbus Circle subway station called Suffragists Marching,” she says. “It was an interactive mural that was 12 feet wide and eight feet high. They wanted me to actually make it in front of everybody as they were walking by. I had never done anything like that before, to have commuters coming by and watching me make the work,” Vogel found it daunting to be on display. “I just thought of Susan B. Anthony and all the things that she had gone through, and I thought, ‘Well, if she can do that, I can do this.’ It did give me strength to just go ahead and do it.” Channeling Susan

Susan B. Anthony is especially meaningful to Vogel. “The first powerful woman in the series was Susan B. Anthony,” Vogel says. “She was so instrumental in women gaining voting rights in this country. She faced incredible hardship in order to try and push that vision forward.”

The mural depicts suffragists marching in a New York City protest walk with picket signs. Vogel created actual signs that passersby could hold to become part of the piece and enjoy a good photo op. “I made signs that are more current-day; what women are trying to achieve now,” Vogel says. Home Works

These days, Vogel creates art in her Hoboken home. She gave up her New York City studio in the early days of the pandemic. She has lived in Hoboken since 1997, arriving after college to work for IBM. She abandoned the corporate world after having her first child. “He was two months early and had some health problems,” Vogel says. She became a stay-athome mom but still wanted to create. “I took the opportunity to become an artist,” she says. “It was about making space for myself.”

Culture Kid

Despite a business and marketing background, Vogel had been interested in art since childhood.

“Growing up in my family, all of our vacations revolved around going to museums and castles,” she says. “My parents were always involved in supporting the arts. When I moved to New York, I immediately joined the MOMA junior associates group which was an incredible education. I’ve always been inspired by being around art. Then I started working at the Art Students League of New York. It’s an amazing institution that’s been around for more than 125 years. It’s by artists for artists.”

Artists in Residence

Here in Hoboken, Vogel has noticed a growing art scene. “I think recently they have been trying to place more of an emphasis on art,” she says. “You see more murals popping up. Main Street Pops is doing a lot of work with local artists as well.” Vogel is among them. “I had a solo show last November and December at the Pilsner House with Main Street Pops,” she says. “That show featured the Powerful Woman series.”

“I just recently started creating prints to make my work more accessible,” Vogel says. “They are archival museum-quality prints that are hand-signed.”

She adds, “I am now able to announce that in July your readers can also find my work at Unjumbold, 257 First Street in Hoboken.”—07030