Visual Artists


Whether it's designing theater stages, logos, comics, posters or images, the visual artists in Adweek's list display an innovation and artistry that both inspires and challenges.

Laurence Philomene

PHOTOGRAPHER AND DIRECTOR

Since the age of 14, Laurence Philomene has been taking photos, beginning with images of dolls, later evolving into photos of friends, who remain largely the subject of personal and commercial pieces. Many of the Montreal native's photos deal with identity, queerness and color theory, which is particularly evident in their ongoing series: NonBinary Portraits.

"The idea behind it is to showcase a different side of the trans community than what was being shown in the mainstream media," says Philomene, who identifies as non-binary and has photographed friends and others in the community who also identify as non-binary. The series challenges perceptions of beauty and gender. "A main goal of mine is to make people feel calm and loved and included as much as possible," Philomene says.

"I've had so many people reach out to me and tell me that my photography has helped them to cope with their identities," Philomene shares. "I've also had people reach out to me and tell me that it's made them think about what can be beautiful and what is beautiful and things like that. And that's something that I really love and am really glad that I'm able to do."

Philomene, who directed the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why You Matter--Canada campaign and photographed for VSCO and Converse, developed the Artist Interview Series on Adolescent.net that features emerging artists in various fields.--NICOLE ORTIZ

Amy Reeder and Natacha Bustos

CREATORS OF MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR

Marvel's Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur has flourished as an example of a more inclusive future in comics thanks, in large part, to the writing of Amy Reeder and the distinct artistry of Natacha Bustos.

Since 2015, the creative team behind the hit comic has chronicled the adventures of Lunella Lafayette--a quick-witted 9-year-old girl, heralded as the smartest person in the Marvel Universe--and her mentally linked, gargantuan partner in heroics, Devil Dinosaur. Co-created by writer Brandon Montclare and colorist Tamra Bonvillain, the comic is a look at Lunella's cosmic battle to save the world from evil while fighting a genetic mutation that is destined to morph her into something inhuman.

Though the comic succeeds in taking the reader on a boisterous, action-packed ride, it manages to do something even more iconic: It centers the dynamic story of a young, brilliant black girl who excels in invention and openly embraces her intellect. "She's a genius, she's young, she roller skates, she's black, she wears glasses, she likes science, she has difficulty relating to other people," Reeder says of the award-winning character. …

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