As an art student in college in the 1990s, Stephanie Rond noticed how advertising always seemed to objectify women. Now an accomplished street artist working in Columbus, Ohio, Rond has dedicated her career to portraying women in a more honest fashion. “I thought it was important to present women as real, actual people,” she said recently.
Rond began by using ads from the 1950s to inspire her hand-cut stencil art, then progressed to featuring young women, to open a dialogue around how we are raising girls today. Her street art and murals have been gracing the streets of Columbus for the past 14 years. Over the past four years, Rond has shifted to ever-larger murals of local female luminaries, many of whom she has befriended over the years. “These are people that I really respect and are doing important things in our communities,” she said. “It’s not about me at all. It’s about, ‘How do I honor somebody else’s voice?’”
Rond’s current series of outdoor portraits, “Dare To Be Heard,” began in 2016; three such works are currently on display in Columbus. For these murals, she collaborated with local poets to add their words to her images. Rond has always incorporated diverse voices and perspectives in her artwork, believing that inclusivity is both important and inspiring. “Everybody has the right to see themselves in artwork,” Rond said. “I don’t think of what I do as public art, but an intervention.”