Small Equals offers fine art prints, buttons and home goods with sophisticated design, affordable prices, and a belief that powerful ideas can be expressed in beautiful, positive and uplifting ways.
I'm Liza Cowan, owner and artist. I've been designing art and small products for over 40 years, and I love that there's always a learning curve to climb. That's what keeps life interesting.
I started designing pinback buttons and greeting cards back in the 1970's. My company was called White Mare, Inc. and was quite successful. I ended the business when I decided to go back to college and graduate school, to raise my daughters, and to focus on painting and photography.
In 2005, in Burlington, Vermont, I opened and ran an art gallery, Pine Street Art Works, featuring work by mid-career artists from around the US. Then in 2010, I opened Small Equals, which was a 90 sq. foot shop inside a collective studio/exhibition space. I focussed on selling very small, very cool products including custom-made wooden keepsake boxes. By 2011 I decided to quit the brick and mortar side of my business, to focus on my online shop, and to take on some other local projects.
In the Fall of 2015, my work found surprising fame when a photo I took of Alix Dobkin in 1975 wearing a shirt that read "the future is female." was discovered on my blog.
The photo became the inspiration for a remake of the t-shirt in the photo. The remake of the shirt was done by, and still available at Otherwild.com. It became so wildly popular that it was written about in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Elle, and dozens of US and European fashion magazines and blogs. The shirt and the slogan became, and remain, a worldwide viral sensation. I still can't believe that the photo and button I made in 1975 could have such an epic trajectory.
I still have a few of the original "the future is female" buttons that I made in 1975 available here in the shop.
My painting, designs and photographs have been shown in galleries around the US, and featured in articles in The New York Times, i-D, Marie Claire, Some of my work was featured at The Museum Of The City Of NY in a 2016-2017 exhibition - and book - called Gay Gotham. The silkscreen DYKE IS OUT is for sale in their gift shop.
My photo of Alix Dobkin wearing "the future is female" shirt is featured in the exhibition catalog for the show, Is Fashion Modern, at The Museum Of Modern Art in New York City.
You can read more about all of this and tons more at my blog www.seesaw.typepad.com