Airdrie artist Veronica Funk recently embarked on a 100-day project to paint a portrait each day of a woman she admires – local heroes who she said inspire and empower her. The “Nasty Women” project is Funk’s contribution to a growing movement promoting equality and acceptance.
“For equalization in pay and for fair treatment for everybody, people of different nationalities, different genders, sexual orientations, everything,” she said. “The political climate in North America right now is frightening, and in order to be a good mom to my two young women daughters, I need to step up.”
While Funk participated in a number of creative challenges in the past few years, the idea for this project came from a podcast Funk’s daughter recommended to her. The podcast included a discussion with Nina Donovan, a young woman who wrote a poem called Nasty Women, which was read by Ashley Judd at the women’s march in January 2017.
“It talked about how we all have to stop being apathetic and, at first, I felt a little irritated by that comment – but the more I thought about it, I realized she wasn’t pressuring anybody,” Funk said. “She just felt that if we want change, we all have to get on board. Not just women, but men, too.”
Having recently completed a 52 weeks of portraits challenge, Funk decided to paint 100 women over 100 days – but this time, women she knew personally. Before getting started, however, she needed to find willing subjects.
“I put out a call, and within a few hours I had 150 people responding and wanting to be a part of it,” she said.
With the consent of her subjects, Funk scoured social media to find a picture of each woman that made her feel a connection. Then, she prepped 100 8x10 gallery canvases to get them ready for their new life as pieces of art.
Funk painted the first portrait in the series on Sunday – a self-portrait. The next two paintings were of her daughters, and now, she has started working on unique portraits of the many other women who have helped her feel brave and empowered.
“When I started looking at the women who responded to me, I realized that I really admire all these women for very different reasons,” Funk said.
“I feel very lucky to live in a great country, in a great time, that these women in my life can do all of the amazing things they do.”
While Funk said she has had some people stop following her social media since she started sharing information about the project, she’s also welcomed plenty of new followers who are eager to see the challenge progress. She even recently received encouragement from Donovan herself, in the form of a comment on Instagram.
Funk’s pieces will be shared on her social media and her website, veronicafunk.com, on a daily basis. At the end of the project, she said she plans to organize an exhibition at a local gallery where each woman can have her photograph taken with Funk’s portrait – a piece she hopes will capture the “essence” of each individual.
“It’s really sad that in this day and age, we’re still fighting for these same basic things,” Funk said.
“This is a message that needs to be shared. I know some people won’t like it, since this idea feels kind of like rocking the boat, but I really think it’s just about being true and honest.”