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Adobe Creative Residents Share Tips You Need to Know in this Interview

Adobe Creative Residents Share Tips You Need to Know in this Interview

When I first heard about the Adobe Creative Residency, my first reaction was “Does Adobe really pay you to make the art you want to make for a year?”. I was surprised as to how much they are investing in the creative community. It sounded like an opportunity that was too good to be true. 

So I applied. Womp womp womp. I didn’t get it. However, the process of submitting the Adobe Creative Residency application and everything I had to do taught me a lot. It isn’t something I regret doing. In fact, the rejection helped push me more into starting this blog that helps artists and creatives like you. 

That being said, I am interviewing 3 amazing artists that were able to achieve something I wasn’t able to. They are extremely talented creatives that will share their experiences in the Adobe residency and give you some tips and pointers with the adobe creative residency application, if you choose to apply. 

interview with artists

What is the Adobe Creative Residency?

The Adobe Residency is a program that helps artists and creatives pursue their personal creative works for the duration of one year. All residents receive creative tools, Adobe’s resources, a yearly salary, mentorship and guidance to do what they love. 

In this year, residents share their process, insights, and inspirations with the creative community. If you think this is something you’re interested in, you can get more details here

Interview with Adobe Residency Alumni

Aiko Fukuda – Digital Illustrator 

Adobe Creative Resident 2019-2020
1. What does the Adobe Creative Residency mean to you?

It was amazing, exciting, and a hardcore year. Some people can be afraid of quitting a job and/or not taking any freelance work to jump into residency, but I’m glad I did that because I could take a break from commissions and ask myself about what makes me happy, and who I want to become. 

2. What was it about your application that you think made it stand out and get chosen by Adobe?

I’ve never asked about it to my managers, so honestly I don’t know. Making your application visually eye-catching is a fundamental requirement to get chosen, but also I think they felt my passion through my application.

Also my project and my career vision are connected to each other, so this can be it. Adobe Creative Residency is a career accelerator program and Adobe encourages creatives to do what they love to do for work.

3. What inspired you to mix advanced technologies with digital illustration to create a pop up book? Can you share with our audience on overview of your process of how you created this?

I ended up creating an AR popup-book because it was one of the things I wanted to create. I was more interested in “What is possible with my illustrations?”, and I wanted to mix different mediums to integrate art into everyday life, and mix technology such as AR and paper-cut art to develop my illustrations as new ways of art.

I posted a couple of my works on Behance, so you can take a look how they are like and how they are made. https://www.behance.net/gallery/87059161/VIRTUAL-GARDEN https://www.behance.net/gallery/93041217/TEA-PARTY-IN-AR

4. Looking back at your time with the Adobe residency, was there anything you thought was going to be difficult at first, but it ended up being not as difficult?

Since I love perfection, it was hard for me to show my work in progress to my community because I thought imperfection made me look unprofessional, but my audience totally loved it. I realized that this is part of my work and something I can also inspire to other creatives, so I love sharing my process in the end.

5. Not including your main project, were there any projects or tasks you enjoyed working on?

Oh every single side project was really fun, but especially Adobe MAX Booth project was my dream and I enjoyed working on it.

Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident

Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident

Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident

Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident

6. What was your day-to-day like during the residency?

Since our studio was based on where we are, it’s not necessary to show up to work in some place, so it’s quite the same as being a freelance illustrator. I had extra meetings compared to before I became a resident.

7. What is the biggest mistake you made during the residency? And how did you handle it?

Time management was difficult for me since lots of exciting side projects were around me, so definitely the “saying no to client” mindset helped me concentrate on my project. Because of my cultural background and personality, I was afraid of saying that because saying no could be mean, but when I think about my long term career, I could choose what projects are best for the vision of my career. So creating my career plan helped me pick the right project for me. 

8. How much did you travel? Were you allowed to bring loved ones when you did?

3, 4 times a year. I traveled to SF, LA, and NY to present my project, and attend the creative events such as 99U and Adobe Max. No one brought loved ones, but possibly we could.

9. How often did you spend time with the other residents, whether it was for a project or for fun?

We all are located across the world. It was hard to meet in person, but we are connected on socials, so we talk there daily. Also, we sometimes had online meetups to discuss our projects and our future career. Oh, we actually had a trip to Joshua Park together last November, and it was awesome! We rented a house where we all cooked and slept. The house was in the middle of the desert, so it was an absolutely surreal experience and enjoyed our deep conversations with my fellows.

Aiko Fukuda adobe creative resident

10. I hear that residents often forge invaluable relationships with their mentors during the residency. What are some insights you learned from your mentor that helps you in your creative journey today?

There are a lot, but the most useful insight for me was how to work on my passion project as commissions. It’s all simple. I create my work and keep showing them on the social. Also, it’s very important for me to feel happy doing it because work can be 1/3 of the time in our life, it has to be enjoyable.

11. Are there any tips you can share with future applicants looking to apply?

If you have a passion project, then you are ready to go, But just make sure your career vision relates to your project and propose your timeline in as much detail as possible (since ACR is a career accelerator program). Actually this year’s ACR has a community fund program, so you should check this out.

https://www.adobe.com/about-adobe/creative-residency/community-fund.html#:~:text=In%20addition%20to%20the%20new,Share.

12. What do you plan on doing now that your residency is done?

I have several commissions and collaboration projects going on, and I’ve been creating my illustration series and working on more mixed media stuff.

13. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share about your experiences, about the art you’re creating, and/or any words of encouragement for future applicants?

It was a really incredible year that I spent in my life. 1 year seems long, but you would never imagine how short a year is. I don’t want to force anyone to apply for ACR, but it’s definitely a wonderful opportunity to jump into your dream career.

To see more of Aiko’s work you can visit her Instagram, Behance, or her website
Thoughts I’d like to share from Aiko’s insights:

Two things that Aiko mentioned that stood out to me were:

  • Perfection almost prevented her from discovering something new
  • How she and her group had online meetups to discuss their futures
Perfectionism

I love this realization that Aiko had. For some reason creatives and artists have an unhealthy relationship with “perfection”. In fact. Gary Vaynerchuk, entrepreneur and CEO of Vaynermedia, has this quote that “Perfection is insecurity disguised in lipstick”.

Once you let that insecurity go, you can move much faster. As artists, we can get hindered by our own perfection. There have been many things that I felt I made that were “perfect” and it didn’t do well. There have been other things I’ve made that weren’t as “perfect” and it did extremely well. 

Take Time to Dream Your Future

As artists and creatives we can get obsessed about making and producing content. I really applaud the fact that Aiko and her friends took the time to dream about the possibilities of what they could do and where their careers could go.

With my online art business, I constantly think about things I can achieve and this has helped me become more excited about the content I’m producing and my goals to help even more artists in this world. 

Amelie Satzger – Photographer

Adobe Creative Resident 2019-2020
1. What does the Adobe Creative Residency mean to you?

The Adobe Creative Residency was my springboard into the freelance business world. I think it’s great and really unique to get the opportunity to work on your personal development and projects for a whole year and also be paid for it. 

Before the residency I just finished my Bachelor degree in photo design and the year helped me in so many ways that I am now able to work full-time as a freelance photo artist.

2. What was it about your application that you think made it stand out and get chosen by Adobe?

My application was pretty detailed. I was pretty sure about my topic, as I always have been super passionate about music – I’ve done a lot of music myself when I was younger – and about visualizing ideas. 

I think it’s important to be 100% into the project you want to do for a whole year, because you know, you have to do it for a whole year.

3. What inspired you to pair lyrics to surreal art scenes? Can you share with our audience an overview of your process of how you created this?

I always got inspiration from music for my pictures. In fact, the first year when I started taking photos, I did nothing else but listening to music, reading lyrics and creating images that were inspired by them. 

Over the years my style changed into these colorful, surreal images. I wanted to combine my love for music as well as for surreal, interesting images and found that this project would be the perfect opportunity to do so.

So for my Residency project “Seeing Music“ I first of all chose musicians that had interesting songs that were good to visualize. I listened to all of their songs very often and detailed and read through all the lyrics. Then I picked three to four songs that made most sense to me to visualize.

The difficulty is, that a lot of songs are about things you can’t see, like love, hate, grief, etc. so it’s pretty hard to visualize. I was looking for particular parts in the songs, where these feelings were described in a metaphor, so it gets more visualizable. After that I sketched all my ideas, sent it to the musician for agreement, created the background and props and shot the image.

Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident

4. Looking back at your time with the Adobe residency, was there anything you thought was going to be difficult at first, but it ended up being not as difficult?

Of course, if you get a sponsorship, where only a couple of people in the whole world are the lucky ones to receive you feel some kind of pressure to deliver. This was something I was quite stressed about in the beginning as I often had the feeling I didn’t do enough or I have to do even more. 

But luckily this pressure came all from my side, my managers were all super kind and soothing. So pretty quickly I found the best workflow for me and the workload that was healthy and productive.

5. Not including your main project, were there any projects or tasks you enjoyed working on?

To be honest, the projects I enjoyed the most were my self portrait series “24 days“ and “Quarantine“. I am doing self portraits from the very start of my photography career now and self portraits were the reason why I was able to develop my style so fast.

However I always had the feeling the self portraits don’t really “count“ as real photographs, like they were experiments and don’t really belong in my portfolio. 

During the “24 days“ project I slowly realized that this is the way I enjoy creating the most, just me, my tripod and my camera. And that actually a lot of clients come to me because of the concepts and ideas I created within my self portrait. 

I now have a couple of jobs, where I am able to do exactly what I love, taking self portraits and being creative.

Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident Amelie Satzger adobe creative resident

6. What was your day-to-day like during the residency?

It really depended on what was the main project at that time. But usually in the morning I drove to my studio, checked my mail, and then started with whatever was going on in the moment. 

It changed between listening to music and sketching new concepts for my “Seeing Music“ project, editing images all day long, shooting my self-portraits in the studio, to long research hours for whatever topic was important at that time. 

Also I had a lot of calls, like with my manager once a week, with my mentor every two weeks and with the different Adobe teams I was working with.

7. What is the biggest mistake you made during the residency? And how did you handle it?

I realized a little late that we have to be really proactive to get cool collaborations with the teams inside Adobe. 

I had a really helpful talk with one of my Residency buddies after almost 3 months, where she really “kicked my butt“ and that’s when I started to reach out to as many teams as I could to get the best out of the year. 

So my advice to anybody: Don’t wait until anything comes to you, do it yourself and be proactive!

8. How much did you travel? Were you allowed to bring loved ones when you did?

We traveled a lot, even though our last big trip was canceled due to corona. We went to San Francisco twice, once in the beginning and the second time in July. Then we went to New York for the 99U conference and to LA for the Adobe MAX. Also I traveled to Hamburg and Berlin a couple of times. Our loved ones were allowed to join us, even though the flights of course had to be paid by themselves, so me and my boyfriend never really considered it. After all it’s a work trip and we had a lot to do during our time overseas.

9. How often did you spend time with the other residents, whether it was for a project or for fun?

We had so much fun together! I loved having a huge residency family around me, and we all got along really well. At the very beginning five of us were all sharing a huge house together and it was awesome to get to know them! 

We also did a trip to Joshua tree all together after the Adobe MAX and it was just lovely. We actually wanted to do a little goodbye trip after our last trip to San Francisco in the end, but everything got cancelled due corona.

I also worked on projects with a lot of them. I had an awesome cooperation with Takuma Nakata, an interaction designer, at Adobe MAX, with Aiko and Octavia, both in awesome projects and in general had a lot of contact during the year with most of them.

10. I hear that residents often forge invaluable relationships with their mentors during the residency. What are some insights you learned from your mentor that helps you in your creative journey today?

I had two different mentors and both of them were super valuable for me. The first one was the head of a photo agency in Berlin and the second one a photographer from LA. I think it was really interesting to learn about different perspectives in the business. 

I can’t really pick one important learning, as it was generally very valuable to learn about rules and processes in the creative industry, that you else probably would have learned the hard way.

11. Are there any tips you can share with future applicants looking to apply?

Find some topic you’re really passionate about and create a potential project around it. And always be yourself, I think the more you show of your personality, the more memorable the application gets!

12. What do you plan on doing now that your residency is done?

I am now working as a full-time freelance photo artist. I already have a couple of jobs in the pipe, and I feel really fortunate to have my own little studio and a job I love. 

Also, I am of course trying to help as many young artists as possible, I am creating online courses to show them how I create and share my processes on social media.

13. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share about your experiences, about the art you’re creating, and/or any words of encouragement for future applicants?

What I learned the last couple years is that imagination is much more powerful than you might think. If you have strong dreams for your future, you start working towards it. 

I started to create vision boards, where I visualize the dreams and hopes I have for my future and these vision boards already helped me to gain the first successes! So dream big.

To view more of Amelie’s work you can visit her Instagram or website. If you want to create stunning Photoshop edits like Amelie, she has a course on Udemy
Thoughts I’d like to share from Amelie’s insights:

Two things that Amelie mentioned that stood out to me were:

  • Have to be proactive
  • Imagination is more powerful than you think
Being Proactive

There are some many fortunate things that have happened in my life because I chose to be proactive. 

  1. I got a sponsorship from IKEA. IKEA is a huge company, and I wouldn’t have ever gotten the honor to work with them if I wasn’t proactive and reached out to them.
  2. My blog grew tremendously over the course of a month because I proactively chose to collaborate with other artists. In a month I collaborated with nearly 100 artists. Most of these artists then shared our collaboration with their community, which exploded my traffic for my blog. None of that would have happened if I wasn’t proactive and reached out to them. Not to mention that I have forged new relationships that are precious to me.
  3. My marriage. A lot of the reasons I think I have a lasting marriage is because of proactive choices I continue to make. 
Imagination Is More Powerful Than You Think

When I believed in myself and began to imagine where my future could be and what I can do, it happened. This is why I believe that it’s good to be talented, but mindset is everything. Mindset will get you to where you want to be. Here are a couple things that have happened because I imagined the possibilities. 

  1. When I was in my early twenties, I was making around $20K/year. After 5 years, I took the leap and moved across the country because I began to imagine a life where I could be making much more than that. In a matter of 8 years after I moved, I was earning nearly a 6-figure annual salary. This happened because I believed in myself and imagined the possibilities.
  2. When I started to actively blog back in July 2019 I barely had any views on my site for a month. Now less than a year later, I’m at 70,000 views/month. I grew my site from 0-70K a month, and it probably wouldn’t have happened if I couldn’t imagine it in my mind. 

Cyn Lagos – Street Photographer

Adobe Creative Resident 2019-2020
1. What does the Adobe Creative Residency mean to you?

The Adobe Residency for me meant a chance to mentor aspiring artists in the narrative of Street Photography and Design. Using these mediums to become a conscious storyteller and share the diverse stories of the world.

2. What was it about your application that you think made it stand out and get chosen by Adobe?

I think that from the beginning my application spoke from my individual perspective and the passion translated as a project worthy of the Adobe Residency program. My advice, pour your passion, be honest, be yourself.

3. What inspired you to pursue philanthropic efforts to create stories that illuminate street culture?

The core of my motivation to pursue philanthropic efforts within my artform has come directly from my own experience as a Latin immigrant.

I have seen and experienced the barriers of language and I personally have found solace in the world of arts — the world of Visual Language. Photography and Design have helped remove those barriers and brought me closer to diverse cultures that exist in America.

adobe creative resident Cynthia Lagos street photography Cynthia Lagos

4. Looking back at your time with the Adobe residency, was there anything you thought was going to be difficult at first, but it ended up being not as difficult?

Absolutely, it was very daunting at first to work remotely but now I can truly say I have learned the freedom of being autonomous and productive in my work from anywhere I am. 

5. Not including your main project, were there any projects or tasks you enjoyed working on?

I really enjoyed my collaborations with the Lightroom team and the Photoshop team. They trusted me in projects that incorporated my skill sets and my artistic expression.

Cynthia Lagos Cynthia Lagos street photography

6. What was your day-to-day like during the residency?

My day was filled with exciting tasks, putting on the hat of management to keep up with every opportunity that came my way, and then putting on the artist hat to realize my ideas and help educate my audience in the practice of “Visual Language”.

7. What is the biggest mistake you made during the residency? And how did you handle it?

My biggest mistake was not recognizing the value of being transparent with my process from the start. Thankfully I’ve learned to lead with open arms so that others can benefit from my process.

8. How much did you travel? Were you allowed to bring loved ones when you did?

I got to travel with the focus of nurturing my mind and the development of my project. That made it very exciting as each itinerary was filled with meetups, photo-walks, exhibitions, and so much more!

9. How often did you spend time with the other residents, whether it was for a project or for fun?

We had a lot of time to spend together at the beginning of the residency and we even pulled together our own efforts to create a retreat in Joshua Tree, California for us to just get to know each other better. 

10. I hear that residents often forge invaluable relationships with their mentors during the residency. What are some insights you learned from your mentor that helps you in your creative journey today?

Frankly, my mentors have been one of the biggest highlights of my Adobe Creative Residency journey. We spent countless hours refining my brand and having honest conversations about my entrepreneurship efforts. I have learned brand new disciplines and even learned how to better assess my own work through their mentorship.

11. Are there any tips you can share with future applicants looking to apply?

My best tip is to be brave, be transparent, let your voice be heard. 

12. What do you plan on doing now that your residency is done?

Now my focus has been to dive deeper into my progress as a Photojournalist and Educator.  I recently launched my first Skillshare virtual class on “Visual Language”  and have maintained photographic participation in the most recent issues impacting our lives.

13. Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share about your experiences, about the art you’re creating, and/or any words of encouragement for future applicants?

Understand your mission as an artist because ultimately you are a storyteller. Ask yourself what story do I want to tell? The rest will be a lot smoother after that.

To view more of  Cyn’s work you can visit her Instagram or website.

Thought I’d like to share from Cyn’s insights:

  • Her self-awareness that her motivation comes from her cultural experiences

Self-Awareness

This is something I rarely hear discussed among artists and artists trying to operate their own business, but self-awareness is huge! When I take the time to have introspective and honest thoughts of my weaknesses, strengths, desires, what makes me happy, all things that motivate me, and everything in between, it allows me to have a sharper focus on what I want in life. I discover I can make bet

If you’re looking to apply to the Adobe Residency, you can check it out here

Conclusion

It’s amazing that Adobe is investing their time, energy, money, and resources to helping the creative community. If you’re a reader of this blog, then you know helping the creative community is something I wholeheartedly believe in. 

I want to thank these two extremely talented artists for taking their time to answer these questions about the Adobe Residency. 

These ladies provided some amazing insights to help submitting an Adobe Creative Residency application, as well as other insights from their experiences. 

If you are looking to apply to the Adobe Residency, I hope these insights from Aiko and Amelie help you. 

Lastly, these two ladies were extremely cool to collaborate with in this interview. I highly recommend any artist looking for inspiration to check out their Instagram accounts and websites that are linked in their section. 

Question of the Day: Would you apply to the Adobe Creative Residency?

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