How these Adobe employees are elevating Black creatives
Brandon Baker grew up in a family that was always interested in the arts. His mother a photographer, his father and uncle musicians. His own artistic pursuits have led him down a path of music, film and a variety of other mediums.
Isaiah Everett has always been passionate about photography and digital art. His father is a photographer and when Isaiah turned 8, he remembers getting his first digital camera. Since then, he’s been interested in capturing the lives and perspectives of people.
For Paul Are-latosa, he’s never really considered himself “creative” but since joining Adobe, he’s dabbled in products such as Photoshop and Adobe XD. Not only that, he’s become passionate about evangelizing artists—a majority of them who are using our creative products to make an impact.
The three of them met in Adobe’s Black Employee Network (BEN), and after months of preparation, they recently hosted a virtual art showcase for employees, all around the theme of Recreating the Black Narrative. Here’s how the three Adobe employees used their passion to elevate black creatives.
How it all came together
Working for a company like Adobe, it’s hard not to be surrounded by creativity. When people join the company, many learn to use our wide range of products, which naturally creates a community of employees who are passionate about the arts. For Brandon, Isaiah, Paul and the Black Employee Network, they often gather for First Fridays in Oakland, California, an event where they can bond and admire music and art together.
Inspired by the art showcase at First Fridays, and wanting to bring it alive within the walls of Adobe, San Francisco BEN leadership decided to host an internal event that showcased their very own Black creators in the Black Employee Network. It was a hit and soon after, Isaiah worked with Brandon to take the lead on hosting another art showcase, but this time also inviting artists outside the company and opening it up to all Adobe employees.
“I was so passionate about hosting this event because I really wanted to showcase Black artists to the broader Adobe community. I believe there’s a narrative that art can only be done by non-BIPOC, so I wanted this showcase to be about recreating that black narrative.”
With that in mind, Isaiah began to reach out to Black artists who have inspired him—top fashion photographers, digital artists, and more. “I was looking for artists that represent black culture in a variety of different ways” Isaiah explained.
For Brandon, he also saw this digital showcase as a perfect opportunity to share his own project—“Black is Beautiful,” a multi-media experience he’s produced with photographer Kwame Brathwaite, and original musical compositions from Grammy award winning musicians Marcus Gilmore and Nicholas Payton. “One of my dreams is to create a musical score. When I had an opportunity to work on a project with artists who I really admire, I jumped at the chance. I was really excited to show this project to employees” Brandon said.
With Paul taking the lead on moderating the event, he summed up the importance of it by saying, “The world we’re seeing today is told through stories in a variety of different mediums—cinema, photography, music, and more. To see our Adobe products being used to make these artistic expressions is really inspiring. It’s empowering for employees to learn about our culture from a showcase like this, as well as understand how our customers are using our products. It’s also impactful for the artists to get a direct line to Adobe.”
After months of planning, the three hosted “Recreating the Black Narrative” digitally for all Adobe employees. Since then, feedback after the digital showcase was overwhelming, and they’re now planning their next event. Here’s snapshot of which artists were featured in the art showcase.
Adobe BEN Presents: Recreating the Black Narrative
Temi Coker, Shapes X Portraits
Chi Modu, UNCATEGORIZED
Isaiah Everett, SF Butterfly Oil Painting
Black is Beautiful, Kwame S. Brathwaite, Brandon Baker, Marcus Gilmore, Nicholas Payton
Learn more about the ways we’re coming together and empowering diverse voices:
- Adobe.com Diverse Voices Page
- Celebrating and Empowering Women Today—and Everyday
- Nurturing Diverse Voices in Film
At Adobe, we believe that everyone deserves respect and equal treatment, and we also stand with the Black community against hate, intolerance and racism. We will continue to support, elevate, and amplify diverse voices through our community of employees, creatives, customers and partners. We believe Adobe has a responsibility to drive change and ensure that every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We must stand up and speak out against racial inequality and injustice. Read more about the actions we’re taking to make lasting change inside and outside of our company.