Although I'm not actually a parent, I spend a lot of time thinking about awesome, feminist baby names to give my hypothetical children. Lately, I've been thinking a lot about baby names for artistic women — that is, names inspired by my favorite female artists. For some people, names are just the thing you're born with, and there's too much variance for there to be any real significance between someone having the same name as someone else. For others, though, there's a lot of stock to be had in sharing the name of someone you admire, or someone whose career or personality you want to emulate.
For me personally, I think everyone makes their own destiny, so I'm not sold that giving my future child the name of an artist I admire is likely to give her an extra creative boost. However, I think that giving a child a name that has a history of empowerment and success is a cool way of passing on someone's history; it can be inspirational, regardless to what specific path the baby grows up to take. As women are generally under-represented in the art world as it is, I also think it's cool to give a nod to the women who have been and are actively putting so much amazing, feminist art into the world.
By its very definition, Frida means "beautiful" in English and "peaceful" in Swedish. As far as art goes, though, Frida is most commonly associated with Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, most famous for her paintings and self-portraits. Frida is frequently associated with feminism and women who innovated the art world, with her progressive gender expression and experimentation in art and craft.
Georgia means "farmer"; it's the feminine version of the name "George." Georgia O'Keeffe is the famous artist associated with the name Georgia, most known for her paintings and her work in modernism. She worked heavily in landscape, but is probably best known for her paintings of enlarged flowers (which many speculate look like vulvas and vaginas) and animal bones.
Eva is a name with ties to many cultures, but it's probably most known for its Hebrew definition of "life." For Eva Hesse, art means exploring the definitions of "organic" and "natural" in terms of the materials we use to create art, as well as what we're comprised of as people. Basically, her art raises the question of where anything — even our minds — belong in an "organic" world, which is some pretty complex and awesome stuff.
By definition, Francesca means "free," which I think can speak to the freedom artists feel when creating their work. Francesca Woodman is an American photographer who is most known for her work depicting women in various states of solitude. Her work explores themes of gender, sexuality, and expression of self. Fun fact: She actually began her work as a photographer at the age of 13.
Shirin, by definition, is a Muslim word which means "sweet" and "pleasant." Visual artist and photographer Shirin Neshat explores themes that go well beyond traditional sweetness; she explores Islam versus the West, feminity versus masculinity, public life versus private life, and antiquity versus modernity. As an Iranian artist, Shirin's work often explores the differences and similarities between life for women in the West (in her case, the United States) and her native home of Iran.
In French, Louise is defined as "famous in war." While I'm not sure about war in particular, artist Louise Bourgeois is seriously awesome and definitely famous in art circles. Up until her death in 2010, Louise kept creating mostly in the form of larger than life sculptures and installation art. Louise's work mostly explored themes of femininity and sexuality, though it also heavily explored death, the unconscious, and the subconscious. Louise was also an outspoken advocate for women's rights and LGBTQ rights, right up until her death at the age of 98.