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All the Colors of Beauty
By Brendan Seibel – Marilyn Monroe standing on a subway grate, her white dress billowing around her hips—it’s an iconic Hollywood image. That immortal scene from The Seven Year Itch has inspired countless tributes and parodies over the years.

Artist Tya Alisa Anthony was researching the history of Black media when she came across an old Jet magazine cover featuring Donna Summer re-creating Monroe’s peek-a-boo pose.

Anthony’s parents had collected the weekly digest when she was a child, but re-examining back issues revealed a disconnect between the magazine’s eye-catching covers and its articles on Black agency and pride.

“These women were not being recognized or respected as Black women,” says Anthony. “They were representing European ideals, highlighted with stories like ‘Are Black Women Getting More Attractive?’ or ‘Stripper to Singer.’

It didn’t settle right with me, attempting to connect to the women on the covers.”

The portrait series Complexion is Anthony’s response. more>

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Finding Her Voice: Illustrator Samantha Mash
By Wren Sauer – Samantha Mash’s healthy client list includes DC Comics, Outside magazine, and Slack. But the line from art school to a thriving freelance career was not a straight one—in fact, soon after leaving school five years ago, she stopped drawing entirely for two years.

When she was a kid, art was Mash’s solace. “I had a really hard time making friends, and I felt ostracized,” she says. “I needed an outlet.” Online worlds like Neopets gave her a space for visual exploration. In college, she realized that illustration could also be a career.

Mash attended the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), in Portland, Oregon. All students start with a foundational year as an exploratory stepping stone, and then they choose a major in the second year. “What I clearly wanted to do was illustration,” she says. “The school gave me a path of actualization of this career.”

But like many young artists, Mash struggled to maintain a momentum with her practice after school ended. “I was pretty burnt out; I didn’t know what I was going to do,” she says. “I immediately jumped into the food industry, and I got kind of lost. I knew I had talent—you have to believe it at some point…. But you get out of art school, and you don’t really do stuff with what you have.” She fell out of drawing for nearly two years. more>

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BUST Magazine at 25: You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby
By Jenni Miller – 25 years ago, BUST Magazine began life as a cut-and-paste zine that the founders quietly photocopied while at their then-day jobs.

BUST was a beloved side hustle for co-founders Debbie Stoller and Marcelle Karp, who were eager to spread messages about feminism and pop culture. Art director and now co-publisher Laurie Henzel, who previously worked at Rolling Stone doing mechanical graphic design with an X-ACTO blade and physical type, found a cheap printer in Queens and taught herself what was then called desktop-publishing software.

In the early days, the BUST aesthetic was low-fi and DIY, like the underground zines of that age—but sexier. more>

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Updates from Adobe

BRIT(ISH): Visualizing the UK with Type
By Isabel Lea – I’ve always believed the role of a designer to be like that of a translator. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with words and languages, and so I’ve naturally gravitated towards a kind of design that allows me to translate these things from the written to the visual, bringing them to life.

As the first Adobe Creative Resident based in the United Kingdom, I’ve been afforded the opportunity to spend a year visualizing culture and language in our everyday lives through design. BRIT(ISH) is my starting project for the residency. The project is an attempt to explore insights and ideas about being young and British during this turbulent time. I aimed to visualize often-intangible emotions in a playful way that other people can understand. Each object in the collection directly responds to quotations, insights, and stories I collected from the environment around me in the UK.

For me, projects that respond to stories and insights are often the most interesting because they add a level of unpredictability to the process and can result in something much more authentic. more>

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Inside the Mind of Digital Dreamer Archan Nair
By Charles Purdy – Self-taught visual artist and illustrator Archan Nair creates complex, imaginative, and lushly colorful digital art that expresses his fascination with the interconnectedness of the universe and the mysteries of existence. Working primarily in Adobe Photoshop CC, Nair creates compositions for a wide variety of clients, including Sony, GQ, Samsung, and Nike, as well as his own personal projects.

There are many ways to create a rough canvas on which to begin building an abstract Photoshop creation in Nair’s style. Nair started with a radial gradient layer; he used the Gradient Editor dialog box to experiment until he had a gradient he liked, consisting of two tones of reddish tan. (If you’re new to the Gradient Editor, check out this primer.) He then duplicated this layer, set the duplicate’s opacity to 15%, and changed the layer’s blending mode to Color Burn.

He added a photograph of a woman on a new layer, set that layer’s opacity to 25%, and changed the layer’s blending mode to Overlay. Then he duplicated that layer and changed the duplicate layer’s blending mode to Soft Light.

After making further adjustments, Nair added a layer on which to draw some outlines of the woman’s face, using a brush with sharp edges for definition. Then he deleted the layer with the original photograph on it. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Minimalism and Milad Safabakhsh
By Alyssa Coppelman – Milad Safabakhsh began photographing six years ago, coming to it “accidentally,” he says. While studying graphic design in university, he started playing around with a phone camera and sharing the results on Facebook. He submitted images to a Facebook page on minimalism, and one of them was featured. Another Facebook photography page selected one of his images as a pick of the week, and he decided to pursue photography more seriously.

After shooting photos for two years, he was drawn to incorporate photomontage into his art because it allowed him to share the “world inside your mind that has always been with you,” as he puts it. To build a composite image, Safabakhsh mostly pulls from his photo archive, occasionally shooting new images when his vision demands it.

Safabakhsh declares himself an “artist who loves the sciences and beyond.” He’s especially interested in quantum physics, and his first series, “The Space In-between” is about the holographic world, a theory that says our universe was formed in a radically different way than with a big bang. more>

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How Digital Textile Designers Make Wearable Art
Adobe – Thanks to digital design tools, textile design is experiencing something of a renaissance. The field attracts graphic designers and illustrators because it employs many techniques they are already familiar with, but it enables visual thinkers to expand beyond the page and the screen. Fabric offers new opportunities and challenges with designs that move, flutter, and twirl along with their wearers.

In addition, some creatives see designing textiles as a way to make the switch from corporate design to crafting objects that are more personal. Clothes have the power to be more abstract and intimate than many client-based assignments.

For her part, Kaylan K. turned to drawing at the age of six to cope with “a very traumatic childhood” in Montreal.

“Art was my way of escaping all of this trauma around me and putting my energy into something that makes me feel alive,” she explains. more>

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5 & 3/4 Questions
Alicia Rius – My work with animals is like an immersive experience. I like to get close to the subjects so you can feel yourself in them. The images are clean, simple, and emotional.

I’m a memory collector. I’ve been documenting my life’s experiences with photos and in writing since I was a kid. But 2010 is when I started to take it more seriously. I bought my first DSLR, and I learned everything with YouTube videos and countless hours of practicing.

One day, when I was out there, I stumbled upon an abandoned farmhouse. It was amazing to see all things they had left behind, all those memories! How could they? That eerie feeling hooked me up, and then I started to document abandoned places around Europe.

The work that I feel most identified with is the work that has the right balance of beauty and eeriness. Both my Abandoned series and my hairless cat series are good examples.

Both are personal projects, and personal projects allow me to be who I am as a photographer. more>

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Updates from Adobe

Variable Fonts Are the Future of Web Type
By Mandy Michael – A variable font is a single file that acts like multiple fonts. Variable fonts can improve page-load times, but their appeal goes way beyond that: Site visitors get an improved reading experience, and designers get greater creative freedom.

While it’s still early days, some software applications—including the latest Illustrator and Photoshop—and many web browsers do support the technology, and more will follow. It’s a good time to understand how variable fonts work and how to use them in your web designs.

Inventive type designers aren’t restricting themselves to expected variations, such as weight, width, or italic. They’re creating variations that address effect, readability, and style. more>

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Getting into Travel Photography: Find the Details
By Jordana Wright – Look at a photograph with an interesting texture and it might give you the impulse to touch it.

Examine a photograph filled with pattern, and your brain may start to extrapolate that pattern or perceive movement in it. Both sensations are common and heighten the connection between photograph and viewer. We have an innate level of comfort with what we can touch and visually understand, so images with texture and pattern draw us in and make us pay attention.

When photographing Patterns, gear is probably the least important part of the equation. Patterns as a subject won’t dictate what lens to use—instead you’ll find yourself choosing a lens based on the scale of that particular Pattern. If you wanted to photograph the Pattern of sandpaper, you’d need to use a macro lens or even a microscope to draw out the dimensionality of the grain. more>

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