Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve

Raised in Miami by Colombian immigrants, Emmanuel Sanchez Monsalve took his love of art, dance, and fashion to New York City in 2015 to build a career.

With a background in dance and experience in fashion—including an internship at Wilhemina Models—Monsalve cultivated a distinct photographic style, with an intuitive knack for casting and composition that emphasizes the human body. His images feel at once raw and intimate as well as slick and stylized.

Monsalve’s unique perspective has led to work shooting stories for major fashion publications like i-D, GQ, Vogue Italia, Harper’s Bazaar, Document Journal, and Teen Vogue. Additionally, he’s worked with music artists like Bad Bunny and acclaimed designers like Oscar de la Renta and Christopher John Rogers. You can check out Monsalve’s latest projects on Creatively here

What is the first creative project you remember? 

I always used to paint when I was a child. My mom is one of twelve kids and her brothers are painters and sculptors; I’ve always been inspired by my uncles growing up. I remember drawing an older man from an art book once, and I remember everyone’s reaction. It made me feel good to think that I was continuing a legacy. I don’t paint as much now, but I use photography as a form of art. Does that count as my first creative project? [Laughs]

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Fluid. Mysterious. Intimate. My favorite thing is to push gender.  

“Space Cowboy” for Vogue Italia, photographed by Monsalve in 2019.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on? 

About a year and a half ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Tahiti with stylist Alexander Julian and my best friend, Lina Palacios. We had the honor to photograph  Nonahere (a Tahitian dance team) and two of Tahiti’s top models. That week, our producer, Manu de Schoenburg, took us all around the island of Papeete to location scout. It was the most magical adventure I’ve ever been on and to share it with my best friend was epic. I’ve realized that shooting real people in their own country and environment, as well as learning about their culture, is very fulfilling to me. I left that trip knowing that traveling and photographing culture will be one of my biggest priorities as a photographer.  

A feature for i-D, photographed by Monsalve.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself? 

This one project was one of my first international editorials shooting outside of the country. I worked with one of the grumpiest fashion editors I’ve ever met. She was very negative and patronizing. Unfortunately, I let her get the best of me, made me question myself, and brought out many insecurities during the shoot. But what I learned from this experience is to not let people’s energy affect you and your work. I had to learn about my self-worth, and this experience has made me stronger. I believe that I had to go through that to learn how to value myself and my career.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with or something you’re taught? 

As humans, we’re curious. Through curiosity, we create, even without knowing. It can be both.

Fendi in Out Magazine, photographed by Monsalve in 2020. 

What’s the last dream you had? 

Lately, my dreams have been pretty dark, but I did have a positive one last week. I was in Colombia riding horses with my cousins. That’s actually one of my dreams: to own a farm in Pereira, Colombia.

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

I want people to see my work and feel inspired and moved. I want my platform to express all the types of beauty in our era, in our generation. That’s why I feel as though representation is the most important part for me.  I want to go deeper into my culture, for sure.

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Eric Friedensohn

Eric Friedensohn, better known as “Efdot,” is a New York-based muralist, artist and illustrator who describes his work as “art for optimists.” Efdot specializes in large-scale murals and art experiences that Hypebeast aptly described as “abstract-meets-figurative”—playful, vivid, and heavily influenced by skateboard culture.

Since founding Efdot Studio in 2012, Friedensohn has been commissioned by brands like WeWork and USA/SyFy Network to create works in Rio de Janeiro, Rockefeller Center in New York, and more. Outside of commissioned work, Efdot also produces limited-edition prints & apparel. You can check out Efdot’s latest projects on Creatively here.

What is the first creative project you remember?
Building with LEGOs and blocks in my room as a kid. 

Describe your aesthetic in three words.
Bold. Clean. Optimistic.

An Efdot mural on a rooftop football court in Monterrey, Mexico.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?
Tough call! All of the murals my team created at WeWork, particularly the ones painted in Latin America, are among my most fulfilling collaborations. Other than that, getting to work with Topps this year has been a dream come true. I never imagined to see my art distributed as collectible cards and printed on this large of a scale.

A 2020 collaboration with Topps to redesign iconic baseball cards.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?
I’d have to say The Optimist Project, which I like to call my “origin story.” This was right after I lost my apartment and almost all my belongings in an apartment fire. I learned through this project the power that my story and my art can have.

This rough sketch was one of the only things to survive an apartment fire in which all of Efdot’s possessions were destroyed. It became a symbol of hope for the artist.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?
I think everyone is born with some level of creative curiosity. From there, it is something that needs to be cultivated, practiced, and honed.

What’s the last dream you had?
I remember dreaming about being in a hot air balloon and I had no idea how I got there. Luckily, we made it down to land safely.

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?
I don’t think about this very often, but I hope that people will write about my work, saying it provided a joyful escape from everyday life—that is rooted in positivity and satisfaction. With each piece I make, I always strive to encapsulate a sense of discovery that reconnects us to our child-like curiosity, and to each other.

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Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective. 

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Synchrodogs

Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven, the Ukrainian creative duo known as Synchrodogs, don’t fit neatly into a single creative discipline. Their primary outlet is photography (often with Tania photographed by Roman), but their images are like a portal into a surreal, otherworldly landscape—meticulously crafted by two creative minds working in close partnership.

The duo first connected via a photography website in 2008 and started off shooting fairly traditional images before veering into experimental territory. Their creative work has since taken them from the American Southwest to the Carpathian Mountains, and along the way, they’ve partnered with brands like Burberry, appeared on the walls of the Dallas Contemporary Art Museum, and have been featured in outlets like Elle and Bazaar. You can check out Synchrodogs’ latest projects here.

What is the first creative project you remember?

One of the first projects together was taken 10 years ago: it was a cold winter in Ukraine, we got all lakes and rivers frozen, so we went walking and shooting on a transparent and sometimes dangerously thin ice that was cracking when we were walking across. We were shooting with almost no clothes on but can’t remember feeling any coldness at all, we were really concentrated and excited with those clear ice and all the trees around growing just from under the ice.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Colorful. Fresh. Disturbing.

Synchrodogs for Masha Reva.

 

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?

Recently we got our book published by Louis Vuitton called Fashion Eye of Ukraine, even though it has little to do with fashion as such—it is more an art project showing Ukrainian aboriginal aesthetics. We worked on the project for three years and consider it something we can be truly proud of, as it took us so many long and dangerous bike trips to get to those endless landscapes—really a big part of our life.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?

That must be working on the “Supernatural” project, which was a 6,000 km trip across the United States’ most deserted and far-to-reach places. It taught us that we can (and have to) fight all kinds of phobias to achieve the results we want. We have to be really devoted—overcoming fear of heights, poisonous snakes, swimming spiders, shooting in lakes full of alligators, being in the desert with no water, climbing rocks with no wires. No half-measures, only full devotion when our imagination flourishes.

From the “Supernatural” series by Synchrodogs.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?

Most probably born with, but everybody has a potential for sure—just in different scales—and it is everybody’s sole responsibility and decision whether to develop it or go the other way.

What’s the last dream you had?

It was a really big lunar park with literally hundreds of swings and people on them with beautiful sun rays lighting the scene. The view was rather entertaining.

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

Maybe in one hundred years people won’t write anymore (kidding). We think more about how to do something meaningful during our lives rather than how to achieve the effect of people praising us, so it is a tough question. We really hope that the topic of nature-friendly existence will be more and more important to people with time. We can only have a small influence on that, but if all small influences of all people are collected together, it can make a big change. We would love to be an inspiration for people to be the best versions of themselves, treating planet Earth with love and respect.

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Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective. 

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Adam J. Kurtz

Chances are, you’ve already seen Adam J. Kurtz’s eye-catching work—either on Instagram, where his following has grown to nearly 320,000—or on some merchandise (his web store features, for example, an empty jar marked “Feelings” and a ceramic trophy that reads “You Tried”). The Hawaii-based artist specializes in illustrative work that feels optimistic and funny, while also refreshingly honest and a little bit dark. This unique creative mix has won him legions of fans on social media, as well as featured work in The New Yorker, VICE, Adweek, and more. 

Kurtz’s books—including 1 Page at a Time: A Daily Creative Companion and Things Are What You Make of Them—have been translated into over a dozen languages, and his ADAMJK® art and stationary brand is sold everywhere from Urban Outfitters to MoMA Design Store. You can check out Kurtz’s latest projects on Creatively here.

What is the first creative project you remember?

We did a lot of drawing and glitter glue crafting growing up. No specific memories, but I definitely had the infamous RoseArt folio art kit that so many of us remember. Big Mr. Sketch fan too.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Simple. Direct. Colorful.

A pack of Kurtz-designed balloons currently for sale on his web store.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?

My Then & Now rainbow artwork began as a Post-It note drawing that I got tattooed for myself. It’s gone on to represent for and with LGBTQ people, as merchandise, as a neon sculpture installed at the Leslie Lohman Museum in NYC (produced with Lite Brite Neon), and then last year as a series of massive parade balloons for Atlanta Pride with Mailchimp. Something simple and personal that has continued to grow (both in reach and physical size) in unexpected ways. It’s really special.

Kurtz’s “Then & Now” rainbow as a neon sculpture in the Leslie Lohman Museum, produced by Lite Brite Neon.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?

My 1 Page at a Time art therapy journal taught me that actually, half a million people worldwide are a little bit f*cked up inside too! Thank you capitalism for making me feel less alone in my weirdo brain and in my art.

Kurtz’s 1 Page at a Time is a journal, scrapbook, and anything else. 

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with or something you’re taught?

Everyone is creative, but it manifests in different ways. You can absolutely learn new ways to grant yourself permission or explore, or you can embrace the things you already do that are rooted in creativity. I believe that creativity itself can be magical, but it’s not magic. We all have it.

What’s the last dream you had?

I very rarely remember my dreams but might remember the mood or tone. I was stressed out about something last night—might have been something I needed to do, a task or challenge to complete? Gone now!

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

I’m barely relevant right now, lmao. There is not a single part of me that expects to be remembered in 100 years, but I do think of my accessible art products as tiny little vessels out there in the world for others to imbue with emotional value. A keychain can be an heirloom. Maybe someone will still have one somewhere because it meant a lot to someone they loved.

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José ‘Xtravaganza’ Gutierez

José Gutierez, better known as “José Xtravaganza,” began his dance career at the age of seven, when he was selected out of thousands of students to be part of a dance educational program, and eventually attended the famed LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts in New York City. There, he became a fixture of the underground LGBTQ ballroom scene, including the legendary House of Xtravaganza, where his technical dance training melded with the underground dance called vogue.

His mastery of the dance earned him the attention of Madonna herself, who invited him to audition for her troupe. Not only did he earn himself a spot as one of the lead dancers on Madonna’s “Blond Ambition” World Tour, he was also featured in the cult documentary “Truth or Dare,” and continued to work with the pop icon for years after—earning himself a nomination for Best Choreography in a Music Video at the MTV Video Music Awards in the process.


As a choreographer, José Xtravaganza has worked with Aretha Franklin, Tony Bennett, The Rolling Stones, Icona Pop, and more, and he’s been featured in Vogue, Time, Details. In addition to working with director Baz Lurhmann on the Netflix series “The Get Down,” José was a key consultant on Ryan Murphy’s FX series, “Pose,” even appearing as a judge. You can check out José Xtravaganza’s latest projects on Creatively here.

What is the first creative project you remember?

The first creative project I remember was when I was in the third grade in public school. I won a scholarship that was paid for by the New York City Board of Education to learn the arts. Specifically, they taught us ballet and they really trained us. All the students got together and put on a show and I remember that was the first time that I performed on a stage––and it was the first time I did something expressive. From that moment on, I knew that I loved it. That it was something I wanted to do and that I needed to do.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Unique, Clean, and Passionate. 

Without those three things, all the other elements of the aesthetic are technical and means nothing to me. I think most dancers and artists have a sort of style that can be identified by their movements—even if the performer is completely covered up. I think my aesthetic carries over from my fashion sense (which is very unique, as I don’t follow trends but what speaks to me), and a major aspect is my cleanliness. It’s an attribute that comes from my training as a ballet dancer and something that separates me from the rest. In the heat of a performance or battle, cleanliness is almost always sacrificed unnecessarily for creativity. Clean lines, shapes, poses, and silhouettes are part of my arsenal in my performance. When you watch other voguers perform or battle, the heat of the moment means the loss of lines and to me is the opposite of what vogue is.

Photographed by Carlos Hernández.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?

I’ve got to say, it was working with Madonna during the “Blonde Ambition” Tour. To be a part of such a political moment in pop culture history was really something, and to be honest, it was unbeknownst to me. I was 18 years old at the time. I thought I was just doing my job as a dancer, performing. At the time, you’re not out there to touch people; as dancers, you’re always expected to be looked at in the background. So to learn [later] that through that part of my career, I was a part of something that moved so many people artistically but also personally.

Once, I was approached by a gentleman whose eyes were swelling in tears of gratitude for me simply being myself. I guess living and growing up in NYC afforded me a luxury most rural citizens don’t have, which is tolerance. This guy explained to me that he was borderline suicidal and depressed because he felt alone and felt like a freak because he was gay and feminine. He said he was at a friend’s house watching MTV when he saw the Rock the Vote commercial with Luis, Madonna and myself. He said: Seeing two unapologetic gay men flanking the superstar of the moment—dancing and singing, coming across as so comfortable in their skin—gave him someone to identify with. He explained that seeing us helped him out of depression and more importantly he felt he was not alone—and with that, he felt a reason to keep going, and no longer contemplated suicide. He drove me to tears because I couldn’t believe how much I impacted his life. That showed me the importance of representation. As an artist and as a human, that moment was priceless.

Madonna’s iconic 1990 Rock the Vote campaign, featuring José and Luis Xtravaganza for MTV.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?

Working on “Pose” [on FX] the last two seasons taught me so much about myself. I grew up in the ballroom scene; it is where I discovered voguing, and “Pose” is based on a community’s way of life. That was 35-40 years ago. [Being a consultant on the show] has grounded me and made me appreciate the scene even more, and has added to my artistry. I always saw the beauty of it back then, and now I am sharing that beauty with the world. Today, I get to watch new artists help tell my story. I look at it like that—they’re actors in a real-life story. It’s like art imitating life!

Working on “Pose” has given me [a whole new sense of] appreciation and admiration for the scene. See back then, no gay rights were given––you couldn’t walk down the street, and you could be arrested just for being gay in certain areas. We were not allowed to get married. I think of all my ancestors in the ballroom community who aren’t alive today due to the fact that the AIDS epidemic wiped them all out. All they wanted was what’s happening today: our community having a platform. To be on television, to be looked as an artist, and to be seen as even a human. I know that they’re watching and looking from the heavens. I hope they’re pleased. I always try to remember that, and remember the unsung heroes that deserve all the glory. It’s their story being depicted today. The language, the attitude, the story. [Laughs] Even your weather forecaster is saying things like ‘shady’ and ‘gagged’! And ‘you better work’! It’s strange and it’s weird but it’s great. I’m grateful and happy to be here. Never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams did I think we would have this platform today.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?

I think creativity is something that you’re born with. And it is something that has to grow within early on for the authenticity of the art. The earlier you realize your passion for it, the better you can express it. From first coming into contact with a craft or watching a dance performance or seeing something that moved you as a child … it can be enough to drive you to say: That is what I want to be when I grow up. And that shows in your artistry better than someone who says this is popular right now and I want to do that. However, it is not something that needs to happen in childhood—sometimes people discover their creativity later in life. The most important part of creativity is the development of your creativity. This means dedicating time to work on your craft to clean and perfect it, so creativity means taking out time to practice creativity. You must be devoted. Being creative is a way of life.

Photographed by Johnny Rozsa.

What’s the last dream you had?

I have a recurring dream that I’ve fallen and it’s weird. Right when I hit the floor, I wake, as I’m an inch from hitting the ground.

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

Oh my god, what would I want people to read or write about me? I want them to say: José was very kind, very charismatic, but also emotional to a fault … because I’m the type of person who leads with my heart and I’m very expressive. As for my craft, I can only hope that they would write: “He touched my heart with his craft. He said so much with the way he moved that he touched my heart.”

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Tyler Spangler

Tyler Spangler is a digital artist based in Seattle whose work plays with color and animation, often interposing bright color with aged black and white photos to create an eye-catching, pop-meets-surreal effect. 

A former psychology student, Spangler’s digital collage work has won him an impressive roster of clients including Chanel, Instagram, Nike, and Starbucks.

He describes his way of working as “a bit obsessive”: at one point, he created as many as 2,000 pieces in a single year, and has created five 440-page books filled with his own designs. Check out Spangler’s latest projects on Creatively here.

What is the first creative project you remember?

My first creative project was when my friend let me draw on his surfboard. I used to draw on my surfboards in my garage with paint pens and bright colors. Eventually, all my friends would want me to draw on their surfboards. That encouraged me to believe other people liked my art and put an emphasis that there is something here to explore.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Bubblegum. Curious. Nervous.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?

I would say my most fulfilling collaboration was with Coach. I thought it was cool because it was two worlds coming together. If I listed brands I want to work with, Coach wouldn’t have necessarily been at the top because I always work with skate and surf brands and have a punk rock edge, but to work with a fashion company where my mom had their purses was amazing.

Spangler was commissioned by Coach to create a typographic design and pattern based on the Coach monogram. The pattern was used in Coach retail stores, as well as on a variety of handbags.

The coolest part was taking my grandma into a Coach store at a nearby mall. She’d go up to everyone there and say: “Did you know my grandson designed this wallpaper?” To see my grandma so proud was really important to me. She thought I was famous!

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?

When I had to do figure drawing in art school, I was absolutely terrible at it. Somehow, all my models looked exactly the same. It was really discouraging looking at everyone’s pieces and to see everyone else’s figure drawings be meticulously crafted. 

I’m not great at realistic interpretations, which is why I prefer working digitally. There’s less of a messy trail and it’s more straightforward. This experience taught me that you don’t have to be good at everything—or the traditional things teachers tell you in school to be good at—to become an artist. You don’t have to be good at multiple things. You can find one thing and be really good at it and go all in.

Spangler created six typographic artworks for Instagram to encourage people to vote in the 2020 presidential election.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?

I think it’s a little bit of both. In psychology, everything is nature vs. nurture, genes vs. environment. Kids are always born curious and then through whatever path or environment, it either squashes that curiosity or encourages it. I have a four-year-old son and I always try to ask him: “What do you think?”

What’s the last dream you had?

I had a dream that I was getting shipped off somewhere to die––it was an ominous presence. In the dream, I’m being transported to this mysterious place with mysterious means to cease to exist. I woke up and I was like “Oh, I’m still here.” Maybe it’s my soul dying from the election. [Laughs]

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

“It made me smile.”

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Neffi Walker

Neffi Walker is an interior designer based in New Jersey who believes a beautiful life is one designed with intention. The founder and principal designer of The Black Home, Walker uses dark tones as the focal point in many of her designs—often accentuating black walls with pops of color or opulent gold mirrors. It’s a bold design approach that has won her accolades in Essence, Blavity, Domino, Elle Decor, Apartment Therapy, and more.

As a business owner and a mother of five, Walker is bridging the gap between family, creativity, and business—and her mission to highlight overlooked or undervalued beauties is mirrored in the way she approaches design. Check out her latest projects on Creatively here.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

The first creative project I remember was creating a washing machine out of cardboard at the age of eight. I lined the insides with garbage bags and had the audacity to add water and soap while my younger sister stood inside and turned around, stomping her feet, “washing” for what seemed to be an hour. I remember water everywhere, and when my mother realized what I’d done, she was happy that I took the initiative to try in the first place.

Describe your aesthetic in your 3 words.

All. Black. Everything. 

What has been the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on? 

I created comfortable environments for mothers and children in a family homeless shelter so they can feel as though their transitional space was still a home.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself? 

I once had a client who tested my every nerve. She did it with everyone so it wasn’t taken personally, but I realized my patience is a superpower and used to my benefit which helps move situations with love and ease.

Do you think creativity is something we’re born with or taught? 

Both. I feel as though my eye and intuition for how something should make you feel has lead me through career and life as well I also applaud those who learn the details through schooling and execute them to create amazing works of art.

What’s the last dream you had?

I had a dream I was cooking lamb chops. I love a lamb chop!

100 years from now, what do you hope people will write about you/your work? 

I want them to write: She was intentional with her design and she did it all for the culture. 

Follow @NeffiWalker on Creatively.

Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective. 

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Melanie Dunea

Melanie Dunea is an award-winning photographer and author based in New York City, who is best known for the book series My Last Supper, as well as her revealing photographs portraits of some of the world’s most celebrated artists, chefs, public figures and tastemakers. politicians and intellectuals. Dunea has established herself as a premier portraitist, covering a wide variety of subjects—from Taylor Swift and Tony Bennett to Anthony Bourdain and Misty Copeland.

Dunea’s most recent projects are two limited-edition scarf collections, titled ‘New York in Bloom’ and ‘Dream,’ based on her photography. (Both collections are available exclusively at [her online shop].) You can check out her latest projects on Creatively [here].

What is the first creative project you remember?

When I was about five years old, I used my Holly Hobbie cartoon sewing machine to make underpants for children who were less fortunate than me. (I imagined that if they were without food, that they must also be without underpants, and this preoccupied my child mind.) I remember my mother and I wrapping the packages in brown paper and mailing them off. The world should thank me for not pursuing a career in fashion. 

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Simple. Classic. Fun.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?

That’s tough because one way or another, I learn from each collaboration. Pushed to pick, it would be one of the latest commissions for Frenchette Bakery in lower Manhattan. The assignment came with a small list of “must have” shots and the rest was up to me. I amused myself creating lots of different shapes and images with the baked goods and breads. 

A portrait of Chef Daniel Boulud by Melanie Dunea.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?

Every shoot reminds me to thoroughly prepare for things to not go as you planned them. Over the years I’ve built up my ability to pivot on the spot.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?

That’s a tough one. Curiosity and creativity go hand in hand, but you can absolutely cultivate it. Dream and try. Stretch. 30 years into my career and I decided to try creating wearable art from my work. It can be done!

One of Melanie Dunea’s limited-edition scarves, titled ‘Twilight,’ from the Dream Collection.

What’s the last dream you had?

Hmm … I am sure it had to do with chocolate. 

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

Melanie worked hard to stay out of the picture and was successful in documenting what she saw.

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Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective. 

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Clare Vivier 

While working as a journalist for French television in 2003, Clare Vivier found that she simply could not find a stylish bag for all the work essentials—including a laptop—that she was carrying around. And so she made her own. The rest, as they say, is history: after making bags for her friends, a store in Los Angeles placed an initial order, and a handbag empire was born.

Since founding Clare V. in 2008, Vivier has opened eight retail stores and developed a signature aesthetic that’s been adopted by celebrities and influencers alike. Equal parts LA cool-girl and Parisian sophisticate, Clare V.’s bags and accessories evoke a certain spirited je ne sais quoi that’s both cheeky and polished. Vivier has made collaborations a major part of her business, working with brands & artists including Melissa McCarthy, artist Donald Robertson, Mike D., Adam Scott, and more; and supports an ongoing partnerships with Every Mother Counts, When We All Vote, I AM A VOTER., Everytown for Gun Safety, and Planned Parenthood. Check out Clare V.’s latest projects on Creatively here

What is the first creative project you remember? 

The first creative project I remember that led to my professional path was when I started making laptop bags. That’s how I started the company. I had the vision of creating a laptop bag which led to the creation of a work bag company. I remember going out to find the perfect foam lining and the perfect canvas and sewing it myself. I believe there was a hole in the market for cute work bags for women and was passionate about making it happen.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Chic. Colorful. Laid-back. 

Designer Clare Vivier, photographed by Katrina Dickson.

What has been the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on? 

We’ve worked with so many incredible people. I would say the collaboration with Mike D. from the Beastie Boys remains at the top of the list because it was working with someone in the music industry. Our company is mostly female, so working with a guy and to have that perspective to work from a creative person from another creative industry and the synergy and the way we brought the collection to life was incredible. We were able to launch both collaborations with him in Paris with two really fun dance parties. I think it was a really great way to showcase the two creative forces coming together. 

Clare V. and Mike D.’s collaborative capsule collection in 2016.

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself? 

One thing that I am really proud of was when we sold our laptop cases out of a room in my house to the Apple Store. It was really a groundbreaking moment for me. It was a very big order. But the day we were shipping, we ran into a hiccup. There was an issue with how it was shipped where Apple almost refused the order.

I had so much tenacity that I got on the phone with them. I told them we worked so hard to get this order and how big of a deal it was to me and that they must accept this order. 

It just showed me the strength, belief, and tenaciousness that I think is so necessary for having your own company for as long as I have. 

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?

I think it’s something you gotta be born with, but I think everyone is born with it. It’s about how we foster it. We’re all creative beings to some extent.

What’s the last dream you had?

I work with my niece, Franny, who is our model, social media manager, and one of our muses. I had a dream this morning where I thought she had left a curling iron on and it became a stressful situation where it felt like there were such grave implications from a curling iron. I haven’t told her yet!

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

I hope they write that I was a brand that so many women and people loved because it made people feel good. That [we] brought a sense of joy and happiness to them. And also that I was a true proponent of labor [rights] in the United States. I hope they will talk about how we created many jobs for Americans. 

Follow @ShopClareV on Creatively.

Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective. 

Questions or feedback? Email us at feedback@creatively.life

Accidentally Wes Anderson’s Wally Koval

Wally Koval was working as a product marketing director in New York when he started an Instagram account in 2017 called “Accidentally Wes Anderson.” Originally conceived as a kind of travel bucket list with his wife, Amanda, the profile—which serves as an homage to director Wes Anderson’s distinctive fanciful, nostalgic, always-symmetrical visual aesthetic—quickly went viral.

Now, Koval and his wife curate and publish daily content for more than a million followers (or “Adventurers”), a community that includes more than a few professional and novice photographers (or “Explorers”). (Every Koval and his wife receive thousands of submissions for AWA.) Koval recently even published a book spotlighting more than 200 idiosyncratic locations, including the stories behind each one. You can check out Korval’s projects on Creatively here.

What is the first creative project you remember?

In the eighth grade, I created a sculpture that was submitted to a state-wide contest. I won $100! I was super pumped and at the time, I felt like I had won the lottery. The sculpture still sits in a case in my parents’ basement.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Community-oriented––with a capital ‘C’. Symmetrical. Subjective.

I say “subjective” because we post one photo a day, 30 photos a month—even though we receive over 3,000 submissions a month. We look at every single one and even if a photo is not ultimately chosen, every single one resonated [as ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’ with the member of the Community who sent it our way, and that is what makes it so special].

Image captured in Lisbon by an AWA Explorer, Jack Spicer Adams.

What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?

Accidentally Wes Anderson, The Book––by far. Yes, Wes Anderson wrote the foreword, but from a collaboration perspective––just to make this book, it took the collaborative effort of 180 photographers from 50+ different countries. 

Accidentally Wes Anderson, the book, including a foreword by Wes Anderson himself. 

What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?

Not to be repetitive, but the book––by far. This was a two-and-a-half-year project. I’ve posted on IG on @accidentallywesanderson once a day, every single day, for three and a half years. I’ve posted on the day of weddings and funerals, in dentist chairs, and beyond. Outside of brushing my teeth, I’ve never been consistent with anything else like this in my entire life. It’s hard work, but it doesn’t feel like work. I know it sounds cheesy, but our community creates a level of excitement that Amanda and I [likely] would have lost.

Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?

I think it’s half and half. I think there are certain people who are innately more skilled at forming or creating pieces but I definitely believe part of this can be learned. There is something that you have inside of you that activates once you’re interested in something creative. 

What’s the last dream you had?

[Laughs] I got nothing. I don’t even know what I’ve had for lunch!

One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?

In 100 years, I hope that people say Accidentally Wes Anderson has influenced someone at some level to find some peace and positivity in the world and some level of excitement or engagement that spurred someone else to explore something new. Even if it was a new idea or a new reason to get off the couch and go down Main Street––or perhaps look behind a door that they wouldn’t have looked behind before. Even if it isn’t a mention of my project or my name, I hope that it creates a butterfly effect.

Follow @Accidentally Wes Anderson on Creatively.

Creatively is more than a platform—we’re a creative collective. 

Questions or feedback? Email us at feedback@creatively.life