Reports released in 2019 determined that even with the drive for inclusivity at major US museums, only 15% of art work comes from diverse artists.
Creators are part of our DNA at YouTube, so we recognized the need to stand by the next generation as they challenge that status quo. To answer the call, we launched Google Pixel Creator Labs.
The new incubator program aimed to amplify underrepresented narratives by providing artists a platform and the resources needed to tell their next story. We armed them with the latest Google Pixel and a gallery all to themselves in the heart of New York City. From there, they set off to create an exhibit that challenged the definition of mainstream art and raised awareness for important cultural narratives inspired by their lives.
The Google team knows how difficult it can be to break through in an established marketplace. It’s a challenge faced by a world of up-and-coming creators as they pursue their artistic dreams. Our intention was to provide these creators a platform that elevated their work and provided them meaningful brand collaboration.
We identified rising artists on Instagram and YouTube who were sharing distinct engaging visual stories from sincere, personal points of view. We challenged them to bring their voice, passion, and purpose to a new space: Creator Labs. In the new program, the artists would use Google’s latest technology and resources to illuminate under-celebrated figures, widen narrow definitions and interrogate human nature to discover new truths.
Our inaugural class of 10 photographers, filmmakers, and YouTubers each created a piece of visual work that would draw attention and conversation to the deeply personal social cause of their choosing.
To generate buzz for our artists and their upcoming exhibition, we leveraged Google’s ecosystem to drive awareness and excitement throughout the two-month creative process. Additionally, the artists documented their experiences in the program and shared them with their own platforms resulting in more than 40 posts per artist over the course of the program.
To celebrate the official launch, we created a physical art gallery in the heart of New York. On opening night, our artists blurred the line between digital and experiential art in a showcase that drove awareness for Creator Labs and the artists’ careers. More importantly, the body of work launched a wave of conversations around how art can inspire conversation & change, and the fact that anyone can break into it with just a Google Pixel.
The inaugural Creator Labs Artists & their work:
Mayan Toledano | NO MAMÉS
The vibrant LGBTIQ+ scene of Mexico City
Anthony Prince Leslie | FREE BIRD
The challenges of masculinity, sexuality & culture that are omnipresent in being a young male in the Jamaican community of Canarsie, Brooklyn
Andrew Thomas Huang | LILY CHAN AND THE DOOM GIRLS
Historical representation of Asian Americans
Josh Goldenberg | ULTRADREAMER
The mental health challenges of being an artist: Exploring the ebbs and flows of Concentration, Isolation, Loneliness
MaryV | YOU’RE THE ONE WHO HOLDS ME TIGHT
Representation, self-love, relationships, and the chosen family
Tim Kellner | FORESTS
The fragile ecosystems present in America's diverse & natural spaces
Myles Loftin | MASC
Masculinity for POC individuals
June Canedo | WHAT IS THE STORY OF YOUR NAME? QUAL É A HISTÓRIA DO SEU NOME?
Domestic and undocumented workers’ protection
Joshua Kissi | GEREWOL
Masculinity and courtship among the Wodaabe Fula people of Niger
Quil Lemons | BOY PARTS
21st century black masculinity
Google Creator Labs increased visibility and conversation around up-and-coming creators, underrecognized social causes, and resulted in 10 authentic pieces of art captured on the latest Google Pixel.
The body of work gave taste-making press outlets an unignorable reason to start conversations around Black artists and experiences, the LGBTIQ+ community, domestic workers’ rights, and women with Vogue, Essence, Paper Magazine, The Fader, WWD and other cultural powerhouses commenting on the exhibit amounting to 15M+ impressions and 16 dedicated press articles covering the initiative.
The 10 artists created 487 social posts about their two month run in the program, bringing the important conversations to 10 art and activism-obsessed communities.
The platform also connected the artists with each other, with many of them collaborating after their time in Google Creator Labs or setting off on their own to create culturally redefining works of art. Their future projects went on to include numerous engagements which can be seen in the "Where are they now" image included.