This AAPI Heritage Month (APAHM), we’re proud to be placing creative leaders of Asian and Pacific Islander descent at the forefront of our community channels. Today, we invite you to meet Khyati Trehan, an Indian graphic designer and visual artist based in New Delhi. 

Khyati Trehan specializes in playful 3D renderings, rooting her work in texture, emotion, and copious amounts of research. Trehan is an independent graphic designer and 3D visual artist who cuts across many disciplines. Trehan believes that all things both physical and digital are connected through invisible strings, and her job as a designer is to discover those threads, drawing out such connections that may otherwise go unseen.

Trehan’s expertise has led her to create work for the Oscars, New York Times, New Yorker Magazine, Apple, Adobe, Absolut, Deepmind, Instagram, and Snapchat. In 2017, she was recognized by Print Magazine’s 15 New Visual Artists Under 30, was chosen as the Artistry Creator of the Year at Adweek’s Creator Visionary Awards, and won the ADC Young Guns 19. If that weren’t enough, she made it onto the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 list in India. 

You can check out more of their work here on Creatively and @hellocreatively on Instagram. 

Meet Indian graphic designer and visual artist, Khyati Trehan.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

My sister and I remixed a nursery rhyme into a very very bad pop song. It was from the series Poldy and friends, a group made of a scarecrow and three birds, which is hilarious in retrospect. I still remember my rap bit in it.

Describe your aesthetic in three words.

Emotive, playful, optimistic.

New York Times, Sunday Review Cover

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

Having worked in several companies, it always felt like I had to make a choice: either I’d be doing high level, strategic, discovery-rich, research-heavy work, or I’d live in the granular world, carefully crafting the details. I found the sweet spot in collaborating with Karin Fyhrie and her design collective, Sovereign Objects. The work spans from strategy, building brands, and image-making to expanding beyond marketing, logos, and worldbuilding missions. 

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

My college classroom project “The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams” taught me that ideas are really about discovering patterns and finding relationships between seemingly unrelated things; as if every object, person, and concept on the planet is connected by invisible strings. My job as a designer is to do detective work and hunt for the string. Since this project, my design practice has been a lot about drawing parallels and hunting for invisible connections that others don’t see until you show them.

The Beauty of Scientific Diagrams

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

Definitely taught. I believe every trait is conditional. Creativity is a habit, it’s something that can be practiced, requires an open mindset, and takes a lot of work.

What’s the last dream you had?

I swear I remembered it this morning but it’s vanished now. So annoying when that happens!

2 of Hearts

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

I hope people say my work makes them feel something, communicates more than words ever could, and lingers in people’s minds long after their eyes have moved elsewhere.

Follow @khyatitrehan on Creatively

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

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

This AAPI Heritage Month (APAHM), we’re proud to be placing creative leaders of Asian and Pacific Islander descent at the forefront of our community channels. Today, we invite you to meet Shomi Patwary, a Bengali-American director and producer based in New York City. 

Shomi Patwary is a creator who leaves his unconventional mark on every project that he touches. His skills range from directing and producing, to cinematography, editing, and graphic and web design. An audiovisual storyteller, Patwary has worked on projects with cultural icons ranging from Beyonce to Mariah Carey, A$AP Rocky to Diplo, and Shah Rukh Khan to Wu Tang Clan.

Patwary is the co-founder of Illusive Media, a creative collective that specializes in music videos, branded content, and commercials. Hailing from Virginia Beach, he’s built long-standing creative relationships with fellow natives like Pharrell, The Neptunes, and Clipse, notably working with them since early in his decades-spanning career. With an eye for the absract, Shomi has directed award-nominated videos and worked with top brands including Adidas, Snapple, Apple, and Sony Music. Most recently, Patwary has taken on a new role as a television director for the hit Showtime late-night series Desus & Mero.

Patwary’s signature approach is to be up-close-and-personal with the camera, moving as one with the subject—culminating in a visual experience that is at once both dynamic and authentic.

You can check out more of their work here. 

Meet Bengali-American director and producer, Shomi Patwary.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

The first creative project I remember is designing the CD cover for The Clipse’s “We Got It 4 Cheap” mixtape. This was at a time when I was still learning how to use Adobe Photoshop. I didn’t even consider myself a designer yet at the time, but I acted like I did just so I could land the gig.

Shomi and Pharrell, early 2000s

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Vibrant, abstract, gritty.

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

The most fulfilling collaboration I’ve worked on was with A$AP Rocky; he and I were frequent collaborators in the 2010s and we co-directed Yamborghini High together, a video tribute to our friend A$AP Yams who had passed away. This wasn’t a radio-friendly record, yet it went platinum and got more than 100 million views. 

A$AP Mob “Yamborghini High”

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

I was hired to direct a short film for a high-end luxury eyewear brand called Gentle Monster, and it was the first time I worked with what felt like an unlimited budget. I had access to the best talent in every aspect of filmmaking, from an amazing set designer to an incredible cinematographer. This was a project that I impressed myself with, I am typically not impressed with my work as I am my biggest critic. I realized that if I surround myself with the best of the best, it allows me to learn and evolve as a visual artist. 

Gentle Monster – Project 13

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

I think it’s both. Some people are naturally more creative, but that doesn’t mean they have the best taste or education. With a proper education in the arts, you can potentially tap into your creativity to the max. 

What’s the last dream you had? 

I feel like I dream about the most mundane things. It’ll be something like one action that loops over and over again to a point where I actually don’t ever remember my dreams. I think it’s a result of sensory overload in my waking life. 

On set at “Desus and Mero,” with The Kid Mero and Lil Nas X

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

As I’m getting more into TV and film, I hope that people describe what I did as honest and pure. 

Follow @shomipatwary on Creatively

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

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

This AAPI Heritage Month (APAHM), we’re proud to be placing creative leaders of Asian and Pacific Islander descent at the forefront of our community channels. Today, we invite you to meet Alvin Kean Wong, a Singaporean photographer based in New York City. 

Wong originally studied mechanical engineering throughout his schooling, but always gravitated towards more artistic pursuits. He had picked up his first camera at the age of eight; this after-school passtime, unbeknownst to him, would eventually become a means to explore, understand, and travel the world. 

After a stint in the Airforce, Wong moved to New York in 2009 to launch his photography career. Thus began an informal 10-year apprenticeship with some of the best commercial and fashion photographers in the business, a period that helped Wong form his own creative vision. Wong’s effortless technical mastery has given him the freedom to inject personality into everything and everyone he shoots, leading to representation by Seen Artists and work for brands such as Abercrombie+Fitch, Anthropologie, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle Magazine, L’Officiel, Glamour, and Vogue, among others.

You can check out more of their work here

Meet Singaporean photographer, Alvin Kean Wong.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

Probably the first time I was trying to make a portfolio to send out to magazines. I remember my partner Shu and I bought a live baby crab as a prop (we eventually brought the baby crab back to the aquarium we got her from.) Shu bought a few swim suits and we went to the beach to catch the sunrise with a model. Shu has a very balanced eye, so her taste is easy to understand; I am much more nerdy in the gear and proper techniques. My pictures from the beginning of my career are nothing special. I encountered less emotion because, at that time, it was all about the gear and trying to prove to the world that I was a photographer. It is ironic, these days I am less technical and logical about my photos.

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Don’t think, feel.

Elle Mexico, June/July 2020

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

I would say my current book project, Rolla Zuko, I am working on publishing about Japanese rockabilly culture. The collaboration with the rockabillies and the friends who offered to give their professional and networking skills towards this is really heartfelt.

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

Growing up, I was taught to do my best and be a good person, but I would sometimes overstretch myself trying to prove my worth. I think it is important to do things for ourselves, especially as creatives. That’s why we are hired: to offer our creative language and ideas, not just to snap pictures blindly to please editors or clients. I feel better having space to work and finding people who share my creative vision.

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

For me, it’s definitely taught—I was an engineer who switched to photography. I was really lucky to work with a lot of amazing photographers in my assisting days. I pushed myself to learn all the different styles of lighting to keep myself employable. 

Rupert Friend, Schön! 39 digital cover

What’s the last dream you had?

I think I was swimming in the ocean.

The Phone a Friend Issue, Flaunt Magazine

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

I am curious what they will write. I am just a person trying to make a living doing what I love. It’s an indulgence to think people will remember in 100 years. People forget you if you are inactive on social media for 2 days…

Follow @alvinkeanwong on Creatively

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

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

From a young age, thuy always knew she wanted to be a pop star, however, as a Vietnamese-American, there weren’t many artists she could look up to. Discouraged, the aspiring singer-songwriter traded her ambitions for a career in medicine, an industry she worked in for a few uninspired years, but “on the other side of fear, lies freedom,” she likes to say, a mantra that pushed her to take the plunge and embrace her musical gifts. thuy recorded her first song, “Hands on Me” in 2017, winning the KMEL 106.1’s Home Turf radio contest and taking her first step towards pop stardom.

Since then, thuy has released several records showcasing her angelic voice and modern R&B style, amassing over 50 million streams worldwide. Her viral success laid the foundation for her long-awaited debut EP, which dropped in 2021, marking a turning point for the relative newcomer whose songs have garnered support from major outlets including, Billboard, Paper, NBC, Lyrical Lemonade, Flaunt, Earmilk, Spotify’s New Music Friday, and Apple Music’s Best New Songs. thuy hopes to be a voice for those who long to feel seen, writing music “to give people the strength to shine and inspire them to go for their dreams.”

You can check out more of their work here.

Meet Bay Area R&B Artist, thuy.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

I’ve always been very creative, but the first creative musical project I remember is the making of my first song “Hands on Me.” This song was the start of it all. I remember being bright-eyed and so excited to be in the recording booth. That feeling has never really changed. I still get so excited every time I’m on the mic!

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Bright, dreamy, and colorful. 

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

Right now, I’m in the process of finishing my sophomore project! It’s different from the first project because I get to be in the studio from start to finish. Being able to create a song from just one guitar melody and then write and record the track off that energy is single handedly one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. I love being able to collaborate with other talented artists and people who genuinely love music. The energy in the room is contagious. These moments are what keep me going as an artist. 

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

My first project “i hope u see this” taught me that I have the ability to curate an entire world where listeners can come and escape. I learned that I have such a story to tell and a voice that allows me to spread that story far and wide. I learned that my voice can be very healing, not only for myself, but for others as well. 

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

I definitely think there’s an innate part of creativity that just can’t be taught. For me, I’ve always been creative, but when it comes to music, I never had singing lessons nor did I grow up writing songs. However, when I’m in the studio, I don’t feel any barriers or self-doubt because my musical creativity is instinctual. I don’t ever think about my next move because it’s already in me, if that makes sense. Creativity just naturally flows.

What’s the last dream you had?

Crazy enough, I have the most vivid dreams, but I can’t seem to remember! Usually I have to write down or vocalize my dreams so that I don’t forget. If I don’t, I tend to forget by the end of the day. There was actually a specific week recently where I woke up multiple times throughout the night to record a voice memo of a melody I heard in my dream. My dreams feel very real and sometimes I can even take myself back to a specific moment in a dream. I feel like my mind is very powerful in that way and it’s probably why I dream big in my professional life. 

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

I hope that my work has touched people and helped them enough that in a hundred years they’ll write about how much my music impacted them. I only hope that my music allows people to heal and feel good.

Follow @thuymusic on Creatively.

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

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

Throughout the month of April, we’ve partnered with Exceptional Minds, a nonprofit academy and post production studio for people with autism. For nearly a decade, Exceptional Mind’s programming has enabled artists with autism to launch careers in animation and the digital arts. With up to 85% of adults with autism facing unemployment, the Exceptional Minds community of teachers, mentors, and students is working towards a goal we share here at Creatively — creating a future where neurodiverse perspectives advance an inclusive hiring culture in the entertainment industry. 

Working with industry leaders in animation like Netflix, Marvel, and Nickelodeon, Exceptional Mind’s students hone their craft while preparing for careers in animation and digital effects. Today, we asked 5 students in the program, Brian Urquhart, Kyle Payne, Jordan Farrell, Katherine McSpadden and Eli Gross to answer our Creatively Q&A. Describing themselves as everything from “adaptable to “curious,” the students’ perspectives are just as diverse as their bodies of animation and design work. 

Meet some of the Exceptional Mind’s students. 

What is the first creative project you remember?

My first project I can recall was making a LEGO stop motion animated short for my old church called “Joseph Smith and The Golden Plates.” I was about 10 or 11 years old when I made that, I learned the basics of editing, title formatting and got my first taste of animating to a longer extent back then. Now the quality in about everything in it was laughably terrible but if it wasn’t for that short. I wouldn’t have had the drive to make films and dream of working in the animation industry to which my recent work I have done now FAR exceeds the skills I had back then and I’ll continue to push my skills further and further into the stars.

—Jordan Farrell

“‘Dark/Grey/Blue’ Trailer,” Jordan Farrell

What was the most fulfilling design or animation you’ve worked on and why?

The installation piece I made with my brother for the music festival Electric Forest. It was our first installation art piece and it was so fun to see people pose in front of them and share with them online. They became very popular on social media sites like Instagram. 

—Katherine McSpadden

“Christmas Train of Toys,” Katherine McSpadden

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

In a hundred years, I would like it if people would use my works to be the building blocks of their stories. Improving on my unique ideas and making up for my flaws to make even more memorable stories.Then their stories can also be the building blocks of future stories.

—Brian Urquhart

“Myth Logic,” Brian Urquhart

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

Something that I have learned on more than one occasion is that sometimes when you make some amount of progress due to a crash, an unsuccessful save or what have you, starting again can turn out even better than the first time.

—Kyle Payne 

“2D Animation,” Kyle Payne

What is your superpower? 

My superpower is being good around animals. It may not seem all that related to animation, but it has given me an edge when coming up with designs, knowing many types of anatomy as well as character movement. 

—Eli Gross 

“Happy Walkcycle,” Eli Gross

You can check out more work from the Exceptional Minds students here.

Much of John Samels’ work is grounded in highly contrasted blacks and whites, giving his images a certain eye-catching severity. From this foundation, he’ll introduce a pop of color, like a neon chartreuse or an antique mauve, to draw his viewers into the message at hand. Samels is a multidisciplinary art director based in New York City who works on creative content across video and print platforms for a wide range of industries. Presently, he serves as the Creative Director for Colossal Media, leading their in-house creative agency, Colossal Studios, working closely with brands to turn murals, billboards, and activations into memorable experiences. 

From creating album covers for musical artists and posters for film and television productions, to collaborating with entertainment and culture-based commercial brands, Samels’ focus lies in image-making, photo and video direction, and typography. He has created imagery for brands, companies, and television networks including Converse, Vice, VH1, HBO, and Target, among others. Samels is sure to inject his gritty style, funky lettering, and masterful play on color into any given project—three essential elements that come together to not only catch your attention, but maintain it. Every client’s dream.

You can check out more of their work here. 

Meet Creative Director for Colossal Media, John Samels.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

My first design project was in 1999. I was a senior at a high school that focused on the arts, and I jumped at the chance to design an album cover for a student band. We had a few computers on campus with a very early version of Photoshop and I fell in love. 

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Clean, dirty, clean.

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

I have worked on a number of music collaborations. As a music creator myself, it has always been uniquely challenging yet fulfilling to approach designing content for another field to which I’ve contributed.

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

I think with all creative output there is a desire to be regarded and admired for the work you do, however with graphic design, I prefer to approach all decision making with the content in mind. I always want the design to be supportive without taking center stage. I have found this is also very much a part of my personality—I tend to make sure others around me are taken care of before I cater to my own needs. 

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

I think creativity is synonymous with curiosity, and we are all born with curiosity. What is learned is the implementation of creativity—whatever the skillset may be: painting, photography, fashion design etc. To make creative output one needs to be curious about doing things a different way, pushing against the status quo and declaring one’s personal vision based on what has been done before. That’s the process of finding your voice, and it takes courage, vulnerability, and determination to do well.

What’s the last dream you had?

Ha! Last night I had a dream that I was late for a meeting but I couldn’t get out of bed because my bed was made of pizza.

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

I think some design is inherently ephemeral and some is intended to be timeless. I hope they say my work deliberately oscillated between the two.

Follow @johnsamels on Creatively

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

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

Throughout her childhood, Nigerian-Canadian artist Lizzy Idowu could be found molding, drawing, or crafting small worlds with popsicle sticks and a glue gun. But it wasn’t until she went off to the University of Toronto where she majored in Communication Culture Information Technology and double-minored in film studies and sociology that she discovered her true passion for creating at the intersection of art and technology.

Idowu’s work explores expressions of self-love and nostalgia transformed into cartoons, animation, and clay sculptures of the female form across a wide range of mediums, including painting, photography, videography and digital design. In 2021, she listed her first NFT series on OpenSea, the largest digital marketplace for crypto collectibles, and sold her first piece in less than 24 hours. Since then, she’s been featured in digital publications such as CoinDesk, Korea IT Times, and Contemporary And (C&). Based in Toronto, Idowu works as the social media manager at OpenSea and continues to actively be a part of the artist community on Twitter and Clubhouse. For a taste of aughts nostalgia, check out her signature Ether Puffs, a series of collectable, personified cartoon figures inspired by the iconic Powerpuff Girls. Saving the world before bedtime, one NFT at a time.

You can check out more of their work here

Meet multi-disciplinary artist, Lizzy Idowu.

What is the first creative project you remember?

The first project I remember is making the Big Ben building in the UK in grade three. 

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Cohesive, colourful, textural. 

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

I worked as a creative art director with a small makeup brand called 1day beauty. I was entrusted to cast the models and crew, and was able to work with an incredible team of women—what we created was just pure magic. 

From Idowu’s collaboration with 1day beauty

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

A project I worked on for a photoshoot taught me that I could try new things and find out how great I am at them. Also, being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

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

I was definitely born creative. I was an only child growing up, so I always found ways to keep myself occupied, and I found that art came naturally to me.

What’s the last dream you had?

I’d rather not say, it was a bit wild and so out of pocket.  

One of Idowu’s signature “Ether Puffs”

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

That it moved them in different ways. That people were able to find something to relate to from various genres that I produce. That nostalgia influenced their perspective of my work. 

Follow @lizzyidowu on Creatively

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

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

Balloon art has come a long way from the four-legged dog or birthday party sword. Balloonski, based in Los Angeles, California, has over 11 years of experience creating custom balloon artwork and installations. Inspired by the intersection of retro nostalgia and current cultural trends, he thinks outside of the box to push the medium to new heights. When he’s not putting his lung capacity to the test, you can find him creating resin sculptures and colorful NFTs. 

With each inflatable masterpiece, Ballonski aims to “Create fun in abundance.” His blown-up creations appear on city streets and various galleries and events around the nation, such as Art Basel Miami and DesignerCon. In defiance of the ephemeral nature of balloon art, Balloonski also developed a “Forever Balloon” allowing his creations to defy deflation. 

You can check out more of their work here

Meet visual artist, Balloonski.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

The first creative project I can remember was my first punk band in 2001 called The In-Crowd. I started as a writer and lead singer—we actually still play and record.

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

My aesthetic in three words would be BIG, impactful, party.

One of Balloonski’s “Forever Balloons”

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

The most fulfilling collaboration I have worked on has to be the interactive Art Experience with @PizzaBoyzzz and the @BloodyGums crew, called “Nothing Cheezy!”.

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

The creative project that taught me the most was probably my installations for POW!WOW! Korea and Japan simply because I realized that the world is so amazingly different but fundamentally the same.

Balloonski’s installation with POW!WOW! Japan

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

I think creativity comes from a place that can’t be created without some connection to your imagination. That being said, hold on tight to any trace of imagination you have left and use it to express yourself.

What’s the last dream you had?

I live my last dream daily. This life is what I have been concocting in my dreams for over a decade.

A snapshot from Balloonski’s online art gallery, the GatorVerse

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

100 years from now I hope people remember me in any capacity. If they do, I hope they say that Balloonski kicked down the doors of acceptance for lesser known art mediums to thrive without industry assistance.

CTA: Follow @balloonski on Creatively

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

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

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re shining a light on storyteller and poet extraordinaire, Mahogany Browne. Based in Brooklyn, NY, Browne is a writer, organizer, and educator who was selected as one of Kennedy Center’s Next 50. Browne also served as Lincoln Center’s first-ever poet-in-residence where she curated Woke Baby Book Fair, a family-friendly festival promoting diversity and justice-oriented narratives in children’s books. 

Browne’s recent works include “Vinyl Moon,” “Chlorine Sky,” “Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice,” “Woke Baby,” and “Black Girl Magic.” Her latest project is a poetry collection responding to the impact of mass incarceration on women and children, entitled “I Remember Death By Its Proximity to What I Love,” published by Haymarket Books. She has received fellowships from Agnes Gund, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, and Mellon Research and Rauschenberg. Aside from dreaming up stories and making words harmonize, Browne serves as the Executive Director of JustMedia, a media literacy initiative supporting the groundwork of criminal justice leaders and community members. Nothing will stop Browne from using the power of her words to drive change. 

You can check out more of their work here. 

Meet poet, Mahogany Browne.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

I remember several attempts at honing my creativity. One was in fourth grade when I made my very first storybook. It had cardboard and beautiful wallpaper as the book cover with my wonderful etchings on the front. It was magic to hold, to sew those pieces of paper together, to create a world to hand over to friends and family for their approval or surprise. It was the awakening I needed as a burgeoning writer, even though it would take another 15 years to show up.

Describe your aesthetic in three words. 

Bad Ass Woman, Fly Black Woman, Black Girl Magic—all of these are in rotation until further notice.

One of Browne’s recent works, “Black Girl Magic”

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

There are so many moments of joy. I am lucky my poems get to live in the world in this way. I have written poems for so many amazing spaces, all of which felt like a workshop on encouraging my younger self to boldly speak up. So whether with a team of dancers for my ensemble production of Redbone, or beside a jazz singer and bassist for Celebrate Brooklyn, or matching the fierceness that is alice + olivia alongside Queen Ebony Williams, all of these writing collaborations feel vital to my reimagining. I once thought no one could care a thing about what I said, books or otherwise, and now I feel like I am speaking to my younger self. I’m just allowing the world a seat at the dinner table.

From Browne’s collaboration with alice + olivia

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

Performing alongside the New York Philharmonic Orchestra taught me that voice is a large part of art. And to use my writing as a bone in the body of fellowship is an extension of my ancestors—I write because they asked me to be introspective, and I perform because they remind me to speak for myself. I reckon this is only the beginning. I have so much more to say.

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

I think everyone is born with creativity. Not all of us have the aptitude to harness that energy into a tangible thing: a song, a poem, a painting, a dance. Some of us channel the creative flow into a pie chart or fundraising. Some of us have the capacity to ingest amazing art and correlate the vision into a framework for others to understand. Everyone loves a good story. Stories are our heirlooms for our children.

One of Browne’s recent works, “Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice”

What’s the last dream you had?

Such a great question. I’ve had a doozy of dreams that woke me in a panic. I can’t remember exactly what was happening, except I was running. It could’ve been because I fall asleep with the news on sometimes. It’s a horrible habit. There is little peace there, lately. But if I may be sappy, my daughter is my dream. She is 24 now and really just bum-rushing the world with her songbird fashionista ways. It’s inspiring to look at her and see the most brilliant human I could ever imagine. She’s the girl I wish I had the bravery to be as a teen. And now she’s growing into such an amazing woman. I’m so happy I get to sit courtside and watch her work!

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

In 100 years? I hope they remember that my work fought for Black people to be honored and safe. I hope they remember I wrote and mentored and fought for Black, Brown, and marginalized women to feel beautiful and considered. I hope they remember I am always in the business of celebrating and supporting women who uplift other women; I am in the business of nuanced, messy, loving, and spicy stories from a woman’s perspective.

Follow @MoBrowne on Creatively

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

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

Throughout Women’s History Month, we’ll be championing femme-identifying artists across the creative landscape—from design to film to fashion, and more. We know that the creative industry, like many others, often falls short of true gender equity—especially when it comes to executive roles and equal pay. We’re committed to helping femme-identifying creative professionals achieve their boldest ambitions. If you’d like your work to be featured, please email us at casting@creatively.life or tag us! And head to creatively.life to see all the incredible creators we’re showcasing this month, including Adrienne Lofton

Known for driving transformation, advocating for her teams, and amplifying the voices of minorities, Adrienne Lofton sets a high bar for leaders in marketing and tech. Lofton is a marketing executive with over 20 years of experience in developing differentiated brand strategies, leading digital acceleration, and building unbreakable consumer relationships. Based in Los Angeles, she is currently Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Google and serves on the Board of Directors of Alaska Air Group, Inc.

Prior to joining Google, Adrienne held executive positions at several leading Fortune 100 brands such as Nike, Under Armour, Levi Strauss & Co., and more. Lofton has been recognized for her contributions as an industry leader by Ad Week, Black Enterprise, and NBC News, among others, and is the recipient of an Ad Age Brand Genius Award. Between spearheading efforts that have consistently resulted in new market domination and multicultural, purpose-driven growth, and her proclivity for transformative storytelling, it’s no wonder Adrienne Lofton is at the top of her field. 

You can check out more of her work here

Meet Vice President of Global Brand Marketing at Google, Adrienne Lofton.

What is the first creative project you remember? 

In elementary school, creative writing was an important part of the curriculum. Each year, we all had to write a book with a full narrative and artwork which would then get bound and produced—a true prize for all that participated! Those moments were so critical in helping me understand and fall in love with the art of storytelling; I learned to express myself during major life moments through the written word, and I never looked back.

Describe your approach to marketing in three words or phrases.

“Consumer obsessed” to identify the most important truths required to authentically tap into the hearts and minds of the target market I serve. 

“Purpose and values driven” in how I think about ways to give back to the communities that are loyal to the brands I lead. I also try to ensure that the teams I serve are motivated by a higher purpose in order to feel fulfilled in the work we do everyday.

“Constantly curious” to push into new edges of storytelling and experiences. If we aren’t asking the right questions or requiring new ways of working or understanding, we won’t discover what’s possible.

What are the most fulfilling collaborations you’ve worked on?

I served as a multicultural leader at Target where I was part of the team that pitched and successfully sold-in the introduction of a natural hair care product line for Black Women owned by up and coming Black entrepreneurs. Being part of the team that brought such an important program to Target and helping us Black Women feel truly seen is something I will never forget. 

Launching the Women’s Category at Under Armour in its early days was a major growth chapter for my career. It was amazing to sign athletes like Lindsay Vonn and Misty Copeland and watch them stand next to the boys and get the recognition they deserved.

Misty Copeland for Under Armour

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

Each of the above taught me that I have a natural ability to influence others, but it’s about how I craft that skill to achieve a goal much bigger than myself. I have also learned that I am driven by purpose and finding ways to allow the unseen to feel cherished. This likely comes from my experience as a Black Woman and knowing first-hand what that feels like. I always find a way to dig deep, persevere, and find the right solution to a challenge. 

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

We are all creative people, I believe it’s a question of whether or not we’re constantly building our creative muscles. I don’t consider myself a creative in the literal sense, but the way you dissect challenges, write a brief, solve a marketing operations issue, think about integrated media, strategy, marketing technologies… All of these sub-functional areas of expertise are best when they are grounded in creative thinking. So yes, we are all creative if we know how to tap into it and use it as a weapon.  

Adrienne Lofton speaks on equity in tech and purpose-driven initiatives, with Q&A by 72andSunny’s John Boiler.

What’s the last dream you had?

I tend to dream about whatever the latest complex problem is I’m working through. So, suffice to say my dreams are about my new role and team at Google and all the amazing work that’s to come from our shop. 

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

“She had a level of perseverance and determination to do what was right on behalf of the people and communities she served, bringing culture-shifting, game-changing chapters to some of the most iconic brands in the world. Everyone around her felt empowered, able, and ready to take on any challenge. She didn’t rest until the work was done, and her teams always found a way to do it with laughter and joy.” 

What progress do you wish to see for women in the workplace? 

I would love to see more “me’s” in the room. If I hadn’t been lucky enough to have impeccable leaders remind me that confidence can come no matter what you see in the room, I wouldn’t be here today. I wish to see leaders representing the consumers they serve and opening doors for other women and people of color. At times, this means having tough conversations with corporations that they won’t always be ready to have on topics like the importance of representation. Ultimately, I want more women and people of color to have a seat at the table where decisions are truly made.

Follow @adriennelofton on Creatively.

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