100 Women We Love 2015

We are thrilled to present this year’s 100 Women We Love—an incredibly diverse group of out entertainers, athletes, artists, activists, business leaders and elected officials.

SAM KIRK

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, in a mixed-race family, Sam Kirk says it was unusual to think she´d grow up to be a successful artist. But she uses her lived experience and travel through similar communities as inspiration for her multidisciplinary work, which explores culture, identity and urban politics. Drawing cues from contemporary artists like Wangechi Mutu, Kara Walker and Kehinde Wiley in her vibrantly colored paintings and illustrations, Kirk has exhibited in Chicago, New York, Miami, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles and Minneapolis, and maintains studios in Chicago and Brooklyn. She designed the Chicago Made space for SXSW this year, and won the Curator´s Choice award in the 2014 Red Bull Curates Chicago competition. Global brands like Guinness, Don Julio, Smirnoff, Ciroc, Rolling Stone and Proctor & Gamble have commissioned her work, but she says the best thing about her career is being able to donate 25 percent of her profits from direct art sales to organizations that help the LGBT community and women in need. “My work has become a tool to communicate about social issues that impact our community,” Kirk says. “It has opened doors for me to connect with youth who have had a similar upbringing, and help them realize their potential.” -KL