Six Powerful Dynamic Women Shaping the Art World

Feb 16, 2017 5:41PM

 Annesta Le, LaShawnda Crowe Storm, Rine Boye,  Amy Van Winkle, Angela Swan, and  Lucy Slivinski.   

Six Powerful Dynamic Women Shaping the Art World:  

Annesta Le, LaShawnda Crowe Storm, Rine Boye,  Amy Van Winkle, Angela Swan, and  Lucy Slivinski.

Amy Van Winkle “Beauty, despair, color, line, etc. surround us all at every moment. She thinks the key is just taking the time to look around and breathe it in.”

Amy Van Winkle was born in Norwood, MA. After a few moves, her family settled outside of Chicago. Amy has always struggled with being an artist without an art degree.  She worried about how she would be viewed and accepted by other artists, galleries and collectors.  Now, after many years of self-doubt, Amy realize that it was only her issue. She has also come to realize that her education and work history in marketing, project management and sales has been a huge benefit in building her art career. Amy has the advantage of knowing how to communicate efficiently, network effectively, market and brand myself and source information that can further enhance my career.

Amy wanted to be a professional artist since she could remember. Unfortunately and fortunately, she took another path with her education and career for many years. Through all my career choices, she continued to create, take classes and find artistic outlets. Art was her therapy and escape from the daily grind of corporate America. In 2001, the week of 9/11, she opened a home décor shop specializing in art from Southeast Asia. Amy’s business grew over the next seven (7) years as well as her vision to bring fresh art to the Chicago market. This included many local Chicago artists as well as her own art. Amy started attracting collectors.  She was thrilled and honored that something she created would be admired and loved by someone else.  With the birth of my son in 2011 Amy decided to take her art to the next level and pursue it as a career.  Her son, Declan, is her greatest creation and by far the biggest influence for living the life she has always dreamed.

Amy’s early artistic pursuits involved a #2 pencil and a sketchpad. From there she began creating mixed media work on canvas with old textbooks and acrylic. In 2000, Amy moved to Hong Kong and began traveling around Southeast Asia. She opened a home décor shop in September of 2001 and represented artists from her travels in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos as well as local Chicago artists. She also began showing and selling her work and building a following.

Amy now works mainly in the medium of Encaustic, a wax based medium. Amy considers her work abstract expressionism. That being said, she often incorporates a landscape vibe and throw in mixed media elements to direct the eye and help communicate her message.  Amy does not always work in series, but she does always choose a color palette and let the colors direct the process. Almost always, her vision is not realized but the outcome is typically better than she envisioned. 

For more information visit Amy Van Winkle at 

Wonderful Unknown XX by Amy Van Winkle  

Angela Swan  “I want to offer people and myself the reassurance that we are not alone. I want my art to be the warm hug and the reassuring whisper of human connection.  We are never alone and we all share the experience of being human."

Angela Swan shares “My Mom always said I should have been an engineer, as she sensed my near compulsion to figure things out.  As a child, I remember being very interested in connection as well.  I wanted everyone to know, and understand how I felt. In high school, I was in a swing choir and had no fear of performing. I just knew I loved to express myself through art.  I choreographed some of our routines and even started out as a dance major in college.”

Angela got married the day after she graduated from the University of Iowa. The couple moved frequently; at one point, she drove a paper route 65 miles a day in the country.  That is why she knew how to drive in reverse so well!  Angela has always enjoyed the backwards process of taking things apart and putting them together in an entirely different way. 

After her divorce, her career path involved working with lots of different communities. So far, Angela favorites have been working with disadvantaged young women and the elderly.  She really enjoys connecting with them and sharing her joy.  Art has been her constant companion throughout her life; she loves to dance, sing, cook, take pictures, do yoga, and sculpt.  Angela uses her art to express her deepest feelings and reassure herself about her connection with the world. She breaks through her tendency to isolate with her art.  This has helped here enormously during stressful times in her life.

Angela feels like she has always been led to the right place at the right time; in her view, her only job is to show up, ready to work.  Her ideas seem like gifts. She does not experience stress as she creates. She feels joyful relief. 

Angela feels very fortunate to receive recognition and income from something that heals her.

Angela brands herself as beautiful, simple and elegant. She likes her website to be clean and unadorned. Angela wants the art to speak louder than the technology.  She does not like too much text.  She is fanatical about clean lines so that people can experience her art without distraction. She wants people to see her and connect with them through her art. Angela hopes that they connect with each other as well.

Angela’s art is very personal, so she only puts out what she feels is absolutely beautiful.  When she photographs her sculpture, it needs to evoke the works’ sensuality. Angela is very concerned about the visual impact of her work.  Angela says “I don’t see myself as selling a product. I actually feel like I am exposing or selling myself.”

Angela’s artistic process involves her collecting discarded or unusual redundant materials in bulk. Then she ponders and plays around with how to connect them. She searches for the logical connection between the objects and an experience of being human or a personal feeling of hers.

Angela finds many of her materials at a store that supports Habitat for Humanity. She likes the idea of supporting charity with her purchases.  Sometimes she finds objects in the garbage. One of her favorite pieces, tension, was created when she noticed a burnt-out mattress next to a dumpster.  When she finally took it apart months later, she threw all the metal onto the ground.  That’s when she saw her piece. Then Angela simply wired the pieces together creating tension. She has gotten really good feedback about how people relate to tension. They say they can actually see and feel tension in the piece.

For more information visit Angela Swan at 

Duality by Angela Swan

Annesta Le  “I find inspiration in almost everything around me. Lately images of imperfection and irregularities has been on my mind. Often in social media and print media I tend to see flawless faces or highly glossed and photo shopped celebrities. I find there is beauty in the unpolished and raw, somehow it feels more human to me.”


Annesta Le is a contemporary abstract artist who has been living and working in Brooklyn, New York since 2006. She typically works on canvas with heavy acrylic and oil paints, and she also specializes in bending neon glass. Annesta’s aesthetic is characterized by her use of strong, bold, expressive – yet unbridled – marks in a highly contrasted color palette.


Born to Vietnamese immigrant parents who escaped the country in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, her formative years were marked by emotional turbulence. Annesta’s art is fueled by the grit and determination she developed in her capricious upbringing, often torn between the tempest of chaos and responsibility. In her teens, Annesta honed her creative skills through graphic design and programming. After landing her first client at just 15 years old, she was featured in Visual Arts Trends magazine thereafter as an upcoming young designer. Annesta’s artistic ability flourished further when she discovered liberty and a conscious sense of self through painting on canvas in a bold, abstract style and experimenting with neon.


Although her work spans but a few years, Annesta has developed an intuitive style and self-awareness in her process and product with both abstract painting on canvas and neon pieces. Her art is dynamic in its creation – an open, experimental, unpredictable method balancing the intentional and unintentional. Subsequently, each piece becomes a life form unto itself, enabling the viewer to become entangled viscerally and emotionally. The resultant compositions are intense, energetic, and interconnected, highlighting the spontaneity and uniqueness of her work.


Annesta presented her first solo show in November 2014 at Parenthesis Art Space in Brooklyn, New York. The exhibition showcased five of her specially crafted neon pieces that intertwine both her raw energy and gentle humanity. She also showed her work at the inaugural edition of X Contemporary art fair during Miami Art Week 2015 this past December in Miami Beach.

Annesta has been fortune to be around so many amazing artists in Bushwick (Brooklyn, New York). Collaborating with them, having an honest and real feedback loop from artists working in different mediums with unique perspectives has been eye opening. She has always felt that a lot of great and unexpected things can come from collaboration. She does not think a community is necessary for creating art, but she does feel that it’s important to be engaged with others. 

Annesta finds inspiration in almost everything around her. Lately images of imperfection and irregularities has been on her mind. Often in social media and print media she tends to see flawless faces or highly glossed and photo shopped celebrities. Annesta finds there is beauty in the unpolished and raw, somehow it feels more human to her.

Annesta never had the intention to have an art career. She just made work out of an internal necessity to create. She spends a lot of time on self-analysis and the psychological contents of that work have highly influenced her art.

Fore more information visit Annesta Le n her facebook page at

Flow by Annesta Le

LaShawnda Crowe Storm  “I don't believe my art can necessarily change the world, but it can at least influence the dialogues around me. And during these conversations help individuals down a more healed, conscientious and tolerant future, which ultimately impacts society.” 

LaShawnda Crowe Storm describes herself as an accidental artist.  In essence, she did not find art, art found her.   LaShawnda’s states “My journey into the creative realm is one of the most a-backwards manners one could imagine on the road to artdom - while hiking cross the good ole United States of America.”


Summer 1997 would be the pivotal moment for LaShawnda. Before that fateful trip she spent two plus years taking continuing education art courses to scratch her intellectual curiosity. After the first class she was hooked.  LaShawnda also knew that working in the community was were her heart and soul were devoted. So, instead of furthering her education as a social worker, LaShawnda quit her job, packed her bags and went gallivanting across America. During this adventure she examined which path her life should take - art or social services?  During that journey LaShawnda found the peace and quiet that she needed for her brain and soul to align.


In the end, LaShawnda chose both paths. For what she discovered is that art is her social work.  LaShawnda states “I don't believe my art can necessarily change the world, but it can at least influence the dialogues around me. And during these conversations help individuals down a more healed, conscientious and tolerant future, which ultimately impacts society.”  LaShawnda says as Gandhi so eloquently stated, be the change you want to see in the world."  Now aren't those good words to live by and better yet create by?”


The journey which lead LaShawnda to launch the Lynch Quilts Project is very long and complicated but in short, she lived in the southeastern United States and consistently encountered history in different ways. LaShawnda was intrigued and horrified. She “knew” the history in a certain way, but encountering the photo of Laura Nelson changed how she connected with that history. LaShawnda states “Here was a woman like me. I am not a quilter, but spent two years working with this image trying to honor the woman within and bring a new voice to this history to ensure it was not forgotten.” Over time it made sense that the art form should match the subject matter as is the case with so much of her work. Ultimately it made sense that quilting should be the vehicle through which we talked about this Laura Nelson and this history. Quilting is about piecing together remnants into a whole fabric, reclaiming bits of fabric here and there. Working in a community setting to stitch these segments into one. That is so much reflective of this process. Bringing together pieces of the history with communities across the country to reclaim, remember and honor this history. And in doing so hopefully, heal a portion of it.

For more information visit LaShawnda Crowe Storm

Her Name Was Laura Nelson by 

Lucy Slivinski says “I am a person that has always enjoyed challenges and testing the waters to new possibilities.  My spontaneous use of found materials, in new ways, challenges perception, observation and what is possible.”


Lucy Slivinski, holds an MFA, from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BFA, from Northern Illinois University. This past year Slivinski had two one-woman exhibitions at the 300 S Riverside Plaza Building in downtown Chicago. She also had a one-woman show entitled Sizzle at Mana Contemporary, Chicago and one at Chicago Academy of Music, entitled Rebirth. Slivinski co-curated and exhibited her work at Elevation at Block 37 downtown Chicago. In 2014, she installed Reflections of Scott’s Mill a public installation commissioned by the City of Naperville, at the Knoch Knolls Nature Center, in Naperville, Illinois. This past summer Slivinski had a one-person exhibition at Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago, entitled Soul Touch. In spring of 2013, Slivinski created the Ancestral Throne installation for Elevation Project that was commissioned by Musique De Nuit, at the Roche de Palmer, in Bordeaux, France. In the same year N’Namdi Contemporary, Miami, FL, commissioned her, to create the Energy Throne an installation and performance during Miami/Basel. In the fall of 2012, CS Interiors Magazine named Slivinski Best Lighting Designer in Chicago. In 2010, Lucy completed Silversurf Gate a public installation commissioned by the Chicago Park District located at the Logan Skate Park. Then in 2009, Slivinski completed Mammoth Coal Shark and Paleo Indian Gathering a public installation for the Hidden Oaks Nature Center, in Bolingbrook, Illinois.


She also had a one-woman exhibition entitled, “Inspired Terrains, Celestial Light in a Forest of Love,” at the Freedman Gallery, at Albright College in Reading, PA. In 2009, Slivinski had a one-woman show at Flatfile Galleries in Chicago, Illinois, entitled Inspired Terrain, In the Land of Love There is No Garbage. And Lucy was celebrated in New York, in a one-person exhibition, at Phyllis Kind Gallery.


She has exhibited several site-specific installations in Chicago, at Art Park, Buffalo, NY, Longwood University, Farmville, VA.and in Columbus, Indiana. She has work in many private and public collections such as, Capital Investments Collection, Chicago, Illinois, The Longhouse Collection in New York, the City of Chicago, City of Bolingbrook, Illinois, City of Naperville, Illinois and the City of St. Cloud, Minnesota. Her work has been written about in Art in America, New York Times, and Sculpture Magazine, Chicago Interiors, and Luxe Magazine.


For Lucy’s extensive exhibition experience, her critically acclaimed one-woman exhibition at the Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York City had a significant impact on my career.  It was the first time her work was shown in New York and to a greater audience. Around 2000, was the beginning of her work evolving into using installation as a form of experiential story telling. Lucy presented these works at Flatfile Gallery in Chicago, and at the Freeman Gallery, Albright College, in Pennsylvania bought to critical acclaim.  Finally, showing her work for the last four years at Miami Art Basel has brought Lucy great exposure to the international art market.

Lucy says it is important for an artist to understand their voice and how that voice impacts the promotion of their brand. Her goal in branding Slivinski is to create a strong body of work that can be shown and promoted globally.  As a result establishing her artistic voice as a significant cultural brand. 

For more information visit Lucy Slivinski at

Rine Boyer “I find hipsters interesting because they defy a strict definition. As soon as something is identifiably hipster, it no longer is cool and people have moved onto the next thing. This is why hipsters hate to be called a hipster – ideally one should be ahead of the crowd and know of things that have yet to be broadly defined.” 

Rine Boyer grew up in Buffalo New York, studied art at Reed College in Portland Oregon, and moved to Chicago in 2004 where she fell in love with the variety of characters and neighborhoods.  Upon discovering Bridgeport, a neighborhood that has been home to many of Chicago’s politicians as well as a growing arts community, she set up her studio in the Zhou B Arts Center in 2009.

Gallery representation has been an important part of Rine’s art career. She started working with a gallery about three (3) years ago, and it has boosted her confidence as well as helped her to find an audience for her work. Prior to that Rine experimented with a variety of ways to reach people who may be interested in her work, and she feels that experimenting was a great learning experience and something that she still incorporates in her career.

Rine does not believe a single event has brought her more opportunities, but believes being consistent in making and showing her work has led to opportunities. For example, as Rine was getting started as an artist in Chicago.  She had a successful show at an alternative space in which she received some nice press and sales from the show. However, Rine was so drained from putting the show together that she did not follow the show up with any additional activity, so any momentum she gained from the show was lost. Now Rine tries to be as consistent as possible in producing work, showing it, and going to see what other artists are doing. As possible being a key phrase in that sentence because it is not easy to juggle all three.

Rine participates in national and international shows her most recent being solo exhibitions at Bluerider ART Gallery in Taipei City Taiwan and Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago Illinois. Rine has exhibited predominantly in Taiwan, through the gallery that represents her, Bluerider Art Gallery. Working with the gallery has been a great way to reach new audiences. Not only does Bluerider Art Gallery show her work but the gallery takes her work to art fairs as well. Through an invitation from Injung Oh, another artist in the Zhou Center, I participated in a group exhibition and art fair in Korea.

Reviews of Rine’s work have been featured in the China Times, NOWNews, Newcity, and Gaper’s Block. Recognition of her work includes a juror’s award at the Beverly Arts Center and an honorable mention at the Rockford Midwestern exhibit held at the Rockford Art Museum.

Rine’s work depicts people, which she suppose puts it in the representational bucket, although my paintings are not a window into another world. Rine have always liked the flatness of modernism, so to keep that flatness she puts a layer of shapes over the surface of her paintings. Depending on the series, these shapes can reflect the subject’s interests, what they are thinking, or a characteristic that links them to a larger group.  In separating the way a person looks from how she views them she shows the distance we have to overcome to understand one another. 

For more information visit Rine Boyer at

Carnival by Rine Boyer

 Read the complete article on Six Powerful Dynamic Women Shaping the Art World in the ACS Magazine January/February 2016 issue at