A design by Fredy Santiago (aka Sugar Coated) for the Photoshop 25 Under 25 campaign


By Pollyanna Macchiano

Ah, youth. There’s no better time to experiment, play, make mistakes, and create. So to celebrate Photoshop’s 25th birthday, Adobe is on the hunt for the most creative born-digital visual artists under the age of 25.

As Photoshop blows out its birthday candles, we’re looking for the perfect way to keep the celebration going. And what could be better than featuring the artists who make the Photoshop community so fun? But we aren’t picking just any artists.

Lex van den Berghe, Adobe senior product manager for Photoshop, explains, “Our youngest customers truly have a unique point of view: They represent the future of digital imaging. They’ve never known a world without Photoshop. It’s part of their DNA. This makes them uniquely equipped to define the future of Photoshop and what creativity is going to be 25 years from now.”

While artists of all ages are encouraged to keep on keepin’ on, the 25 Under 25 campaign is spotlighting people who are relatively new to the creative workforce: the creatives who are still cutting their teeth, learning new things, and just starting their careers.

In the coming months, Lex and his team will be selecting artists of all shapes and sizes (illustrators, typographers, videographers, designers, and every other type of visual creative under the sun), commissioning them to create an original artwork, and then handing over the reins of Photoshop’s brand-new Instagram page to each of them for two weeks. There, the artists can showcase their work and provide a glimpse into their creative process.

“We hope that maybe it’ll encourage people who are thinking of pursuing a creative life to go for it—or maybe it’ll be just enough to take that dream and turn it into reality,” says Lex.

Now meet the first three artists who were chosen to represent the future of Photoshop:

A photo of Fredy Santiago

Fredy Santiago (Sugar Coated)
Ventura, CA; Illustration; 23 Years Old

Raised in Mexico, Fredy Santiago went to art school in Michigan and then moved to California after landing a graphic design gig through Behance. He’s been evolving ever since.

Pollyanna: What inspires you?

Fredy: The cartoons of the late ’90s and early 2000s made a big impact on me: that thick, bold style in shows like Dexter’s Laboratory, Teen Titans, and The Powerpuff Girls. I also enjoy street art and have admired the people who made a living from their craft.

Pollyanna: When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

Fredy: I always knew I wanted to pursue a creative career, ever since I was a kid. You’d see me drawing and doodling all the time.

Pollyanna: Where do you see yourself in the future—what’s your dream job?

Fredy: I see myself being an independent artist—someone who is making it on his own, keeping a network, and always discovering new media. Specifically, I see myself as a muralist. I recently started making big pieces, and I want to achieve wall-sized pieces. I want people to look at my work and find something new each time. I want to inspire younger generations, like my heroes now are doing for me.

a photo of Shaivalini Kumar, a Photoshop 25 Under 25 artist

Shaivalini Kumar; Delhi, India
Typography, Illustration; 23 Years Old
An energetic young woman from India who started using Photoshop at the age of 16, Shaivalini relishes the creative community she has become a strong part of, and she continues to thrive on design, illustration, and type explorations. 

Pollyanna: When did you realize you wanted to be an artist?

Shaivalini: When I started making people smile with my art, I knew I wanted to be an artist. Whenever I gave people personalized gifts, seeing their faces light up was all it took!

Pollyanna: What is your process? Where do you find inspiration?

Shaivalini: I love design magazines. I like keeping myself up-to-date with what is happening around the world. I also follow artists, and not just graphic designers, but also character designers, animators, typographers, and even toy designers. I also like to stay active on design participation portals like Society6, Infectious, and character design platforms, where I enter competitions and get exposure to other artists and get an insight on their work. Being active on these portals keeps my adrenaline rushing and gives me a daily dose of design inspiration as well.

Pollyanna: Where do you see yourself in the future—what’s your dream job?

Shaivalini: I guess my dream job would be one where I get to experiment and explore a lot, do a lot of trial and error, and create not only graphics but even toys, products, characters, fonts, and pretty much everything! It would be a space where I get to execute and expand my abilities and create something great!

photo of Tom Anders Watkins

Tom Anders Watkins; Lincoln, UK
Typography, Graphic Design; 20 Years Old
Tom’s modern design work ranges from branding to creating original typography. 

Pollyanna: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.

Tom: One month I want to be a director, the next a graphic designer, then an illustrator, and now more recently an advertising creative. It means my portfolio is a little all over the place, but it keeps me on my toes. It may well stem from my pathetic attention span; I like to move through projects at a fast rate, and my career choice follows.

Pollyanna: When did you realize that you wanted to be an artist?

Tom: I was always all right at art, but crap with a paintbrush. So then when I discovered digital, namely Photoshop, it gave me the freedom to experiment wildly (God save the undo button). I know now I would have never made it as a traditional artist—lucky I was born in the digital era.

Pollyanna: Where do you see yourself in the future—what’s your dream job?

Tom: Where I see myself in six months’ time is hard enough to answer, let alone 25 years! But in all honesty, in five years’ time I’d love to see myself working in the advertising industry, for a big swanky client in the buzz of a big city. However, in 10 to 25 years, I’d hope for the opportunity to look at starting my own business, something in technology. Truth is, I don’t know. I’ll just keep my head down and work away, and wherever I end up, as long as I’m happy then so be it. Ideally, I’d like to work freelance for Google and Apple at the same time. Realistically, though, I want to be anywhere where I can be creative and help change the world for the better, as long as they have a table tennis table.

March 5, 2015