Creator Labs Features 13 Visual Artists for Season 5
The visual arts incubator helps support rising artists capture work grounded in social causes.
Creator Labs, a unique visual arts incubator presented by Google and SN37, shared the 13 artists that are a part of this year’s program. The program aims to support rising talent and emphasize the need for cultural narratives, through providing the necessary resources and platform for the selected photographers and filmmakers to capture their work. Each of these works are centered around a social cause, including illuminating under-celebrated figures and widening narrow definition, all while being captured on Google’s Pixel smartphone.
Explore this year’s Creator Labs artists below.
Kennedi Carter | Project: Blood & Bone
Having photographed the likes of Beyoncé and Simone Biles, photographer Kennedi Carter’s newest project with Creators Lab is captured in the style she has developed a reputation for: visually arresting and highly stylized. The project, titled Blood & Bone, focuses on the world of bodybuilders, to which she describes as “some of the few people in the world that have autonomy over their bodies.’’ This is a continuation of her previous projects that center around identity and self-expression. Blood & Bone, in particular, “captures the dichotomy between our ‘public persona’ and our ‘internal selves.’’’
MaryV | Project: Self
Drawing on inspiration from the natural world, photographer and performance artist MaryV project with Creator Labs showcases her astride a horse on an open field and an empty snow-filled slope. When speaking on why she chose Denver, Colorado as her project’s location, Benoit states, “I chose this type of scenery because I feel emotionally charged by it.” This current project is a part of her series titled Self, but this time, Benoit is committed to understanding her very own—and is asking the questions in order to do so.
Pegah Farahmand | Project: Untitled
Untitled is what Iranian photographer and artist Pegah Farahmand calls “postcards to the self.’’ Being her first session with Creator Labs, the project features a single subject whose accessories and articles of clothing are stitched over with embroidery. This embroidery was done by Farahmand herself, and was inspired by Spanish postcards dating back to the ‘40s and ‘50s. To build on the sense of the “artist’s hand,” the project also includes excerpts of poetry and other hand-written elements.
Texas Isaiah | Project: Family Ties
Different from his high-profile covers in Teen Vogue and TIME, Family Ties is Texas Isaiah’s more intimate works. The project centers on Isaiah’s parents and their living space, in order to display his parents’ influence on him. Isaiah details their home as a place “filled with photographs, souvenirs, and other materials collected over more than 30 years.”
Aidan Cullen | Project: Coexistence
Artist and filmmaker Aidan Cullen aims “to portray a comprehensive portrait of the generational divide within one photo” in his first project with Creator Labs, Coexistence. Having collaborated with Drake, Halsey and more, Cullen’s artistic style is all about visually explosive, full of life and unconventional—much like today’s youth culture. To him, Coexistence not only illustrates the similarities and differences between the youth and older generation, it also showcases “different attitudes, styles, body languages, and subject matter.”
Tim Kellner | Project: Landscape Projections
Inspired by the natural world, Landscape Projections is artist, filmmaker and composer Tim Kellner’s ways of portraying how “every different environment and landscape brings out a different emotion or feeling.” The photographs, displaying an isolated Kellner and colored LED lights, depict his process of clearing his mind, and how nature brought him peace.
Myles Loftin | Project: Chosen
In his current project with Creator Labs, Chosen, photographer Myles Loftin focuses on the idea of a chosen family that queer people seek “outside their own nuclear family unit.” Featured in Forbes “30 Under 20” back in 2019, Chosen continues off of Loftin’s previous body of work which brings “the experiences of the queer and Black communities” to the forefront.
June Canedo | Project: Untitled
Untitled captures artist June Canedo’s exploration and longstanding interest in nature. The project combines sculpture, performance and painting in order to add to her theme of “the connection to places, imagined and real, which we call home.”
Andre Wagner | Project: Cedric Bakayoko: A Day In Flatbush, Brooklyn
Cedric Bakayoko: A Day In Flatbush, Brooklyn embodies Andre Wagner’s “characteristic verité eye,” but with a more personal feel. Bakayoko and Wagner first met when Bakayoko was 8 years old, around the time the two were neighbors in Bushwick. The photos capture Bakayoko’s life, who is now 16, and also “a teenager doing what teenagers do on a Saturday in Brooklyn.”
Josh Goldenberg (Glassface) | Project: Ultradreamer Portrait Series
Film and image-maker Josh Goldenberg, also known as Glassface, further explores the emotional complexities experienced by artists in his work, Ultradreamer. The series, inspired by his own creative process, centers around the theme of impermanence, as well as how creators can manifest their visions. Outside of his project with Creator Labs, Goldenberg has worked with the likes of Lil’ Yachty, Kendrick Lamar and Drake.
Natalia Mantini | Project: Petrichor
Artist Natalia Mantini uses the Californian landscapes as a place for inspiration for Petrichor. The project focuses on the effect nature has on the self, and the ways in which we interact with it. Mantini describes her images as a documentation of “the process of forest bathing.’’ Additionally, it is her way of “highlighting the deep and immediate need to protect our natural resources and land.”
Anthony Prince Leslie | Project: Spyda
In Spyda, multimedia artist Anthony Prince Leslie references the character Anasai, a folktale character that comes in the form of a spider, and uses it to represent “the resilience of the Black diaspora.” The project also emphasizes the need for storytelling “as a method to preserve storytelling.” Spyda, much like his previous work, combines experimental imaging techniques, performances and highly-stylized costumes, in order to continue Leslie’s dialogue around cultural identity, social justice, and performativity.
Mayan Toledano | Project: Havi
All about focusing on the primary figure(s) and intimacy, photographer and filmmaker Mayan Toledano centers Havi on the LGBTQ+ community in Mexico—a group she has long featured in her work. Here, Toledano captures her subjects in their homes to depict the “equal measure” of vulnerability and strength.