Welcome the second group of Adobe Stock Artist Development Fund recipients

Photography crew working in studio backs facing to the camera amongst cameras and lights looking towards white wall shoot space

Credit: Adobe Stock / Rawpixel.com.

By Irene Malatesta

Posted on 08-10-2021

Today we’re pleased to introduce you to the second group of recipients selected for the Artist Development Fund, a $500,000 creative commission program from Adobe Stock: Maliha Abidi, Sophie Alp, Mecoh Bain, Mizuho Call, Monika Jurczyk, Wiji Lacsamana, Adam Perez, and Shawn Pridgen.

We selected these artists from many impressive applicants for their demonstrated ability to authentically portray visual cultures through the lens of their own regional, ethnic, and lifestyle communities. As we take steps towards a truly inclusive stock collection that accurately reflects the diversity of the real world, we are thrilled to partner with them and support their projects.

The Adobe Stock Advocates program is part of our commitment to supporting and promoting accurate, inclusive representation in stock imagery, and we’ve invested $500,000 in an Artist Development Fund especially targeted to help self-identifying artists from underrepresented communities explore new creative projects, offsetting costs that all too often become dream-crushing barriers (like hiring models, renting spaces, and covering equipment costs).

In collaboration with the Adobe Creative Residency program, Adobe Stock is awarding $12,500 each to 40 selected artists as they undertake new projects focused on accurately depicting their diverse communities and unique experiences in a visually fresh, inclusive way. Applications are open; videographers, photographers, and illustrators who identify with and depict underrepresented and diverse communities are encouraged to apply.

Photo of woman's hands painting.

Credit: Adobe Stock /Westend61.

Meet the latest Artist Development Fund recipients

Photo of Maliha Abidi.

Image credit: Maliha Abidi.

Maliha Abidi

Maliha Abidi is an artist and author with a focus on women’s rights (including topics such as girls’ education, banning child marriage, and domestic violence). She is passionate about mental health, anti-racism, and shining a light on societal issues through her work. Born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan, she immigrated to the U.S. when she was 14.

Maliha’s Adobe Stock commission project will include diverse depictions of women at work, across different fields and occupations. She says, “Art is a great tool to celebrate diversity, tell stories and communicate important messages which may be too complex for words. Through my participation with the Artist Development Fund, I aim to create art that amplifies diverse and intersectional stories.”

Image credit: Pavel Postovoit.

Sophie Alp

Sophie Alp is an illustrator and surface pattern designer, whose work can be found in editorial publications, as well as on textile and paper products carried by boutiques across Canada.

For her commission project for the Artist Development Fund, Sophie is creating illustrations that display a diverse representation of gender and backgrounds in “non-typical” social and professional settings. Growing up alongside her mother’s journey in the science field has been an inspiration that she would like to share, and a reality that she would like to help see reflected more in the visual landscape.

Photo of Mecoh Bain.

Image credit: Mecoh Bain.

Mecoh Bain

Mecoh Bain is a Filipino-Canadian freelance photographer based in Calgary, Alberta. Her photography practice is anchored in storytelling and community. She says, “As a biracial woman and mother, I feel a responsibility behind the lens to shift the narrative and bring diversity and representation of the BIPOC and LGBTQ2IA+ communities to the forefront of contemporary art and commercial photography.”

Mecoh’s commission project for Adobe Stock will respond to the Celebration of Self creative brief. In a society where hustling is expected and personal wellbeing is often the last thing on the to-do list, Mecoh says, “I strive to create soulful imagery that gives people permission to rest their mind, body, and soul in a way that feels unrestrained, approachable and imperfect.”

Photo of Mizuho Call.

Image credit: Mizuho Call.

Mizuho Call

Mizuho Call is an illustrator, born and raised in Shiga, Japan. As a young person in Japan, she recalls she dreamt of a life in America after watching the Japanese dub of “Beverly Hills 90210.” After high school, she made that dream a reality by moving to a small town in Virginia, where she studied photography and graphic design, and subsequently embarked on a decade-long professional career as a designer and art director while raising her three children. She then decided to pursue her second dream: to become an illustrator.

2021 marks her 19th year in the U.S. and her receipt of recognition from the Adobe Stock Artist Development Fund. Her commission illustration collection presents details and memories of the lifestyle, food, and cultural artifacts of Japan in the form of minimalist, heartwarming, hand-drawn icons. Mizuho says, “This program has allowed me to reflect on and preserve one of the most important parts of me — my Japanese culture.”

Photo of Monika Jurczyk.

Image credit: Monika Jurczyk.

Monika Jurczyk

Monika Jurczyk (also known as Monsie) is an illustrator and “nomadic creative” currently based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Born in Poland, she gravitated to visual art and drawing, then expanded to photography, collage, graphic design, and printmaking, maintaining visual journals and records of her extensive travels through Japan, Vietnam, Spain, France, and the U.S. She has created imagery for clients including PBS, the Guardian, Vans, and others.

Monika’s project for the Artist Development Fund is centered around women. She plans to include illustrations exploring the concepts of womanhood, sisterhood, relationship, connection, self-acceptance, and women’s rights.

Photo of Wiji Lacsamana.

Image credit: Wiji Lacsamana.

Wiji Lacsamana

Wiji Lacsamana is an illustrator, tattoo artist, and reiki healer based in the Philippines. She has explored a wide range of creative endeavors, sharing her unique visions in imagery, books, oracle cards, and even limited-edition natural perfumes. Her commission for Adobe Stock is a series of illustrations celebrating a new era of Filipinos navigating the troubles of the world with beliefs and rituals that are both inherited and created.

Of her Artist Development Fund project, which will respond to the Beliefs & Rituals creative brief, Wiji says, “Our recent withdrawal from the outside world [during the pandemic] has provided us with space for expansion that begins with a better understanding of the roots we are tethered to. We have woven these rich traditions with the seemingly simpler daily rites that have helped us gain some version of inner peace and focus: these little moments that provide us with miniature doses of wonder.”

Photo of Adam Perez.

Image credit: Adam Perez.

Adam Perez

Adam Perez is a first-generation immigrant queer photographer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles, CA. His intimate work across portraiture, reportage, and documentary film explores themes of systemic poverty, migration, queerness, and climate change. Adam is currently an Emerson Fellow working on a photo and video project entitled “Pandemic in the Heartland.” The project explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated marginalized communities in California’s Central Valley, which produces a quarter of the food in the U.S. He’s also an adjunct professor at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

Adam’s commission project for Adobe Stock is called “Latinx Next-Gen,” a portrait and lifestyle series focusing on genderqueer Latinx Millennials and Gen Z’s. The series aims at empowering the image of a marginalized group that has been neglected in visual media. He says, “The inspiration for the work came from genderqueer Latinx individuals who’ve shared their experience online. Over the years, I saw a larger movement rebuking the rigidity of old gender standards. Many blend their Latinx culture and queerness to push the boundaries of fashion and culture.” Adam says his project’s vision is to “illustrate the diversity within the genderqueer Latinx community and counter the idea that the Latino community is monolithic.”

   

Photo of Shawn Pridgen.

Image credit: Shawn Pridgen.

Shawn Pridgen

Born in San Clemente, California, and based in Brooklyn, New York, Shawn Pridgen began his photography career during the rise of the Black Lives Matter protests against racial injustice in 2020. He has since published his work in Harper’s, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. A graduate of DePaul University, he is the founder of his own documentary photography business focused on racial equity. He is a recipient of numerous honors including Google Arts & Culture: Black Lenses Matter, which features unique Black Creators (documentary photography), and the Directors Fellowship from International Center of Photography (ICP), where he was previously a student.

Shawn’s commission project for Adobe Stock Artist Development Fund is called, “Can I Kick It?!?” The project encompasses both empowering new imagery and a component of direct community service. Shawn explains, “To promote and empower a diverse community through fitness, mental health and wellness, with a special focus on people of color, I’m creating content featuring a minority-run and operated mixed marital arts facility in New York. I’ll also contribute to the gym’s younger low-income clients and potential clientele, with a goal to elevate, educate, and to give a platform to an underserved community.”

Discover inclusive, unique, contemporary imagery. Learn more about Adobe Stock Advocates program.

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