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Female Artist Of The Week: Interview With Donna Adi, The Creative Director Who Is Taking The Internet By Storm

Female Artist Of The Week: Interview With Donna Adi, Creative Director cover image of donna adi and artwork of Angelina Jolie
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Our "Female Artist of the Week" feature provides a platform for and shines a spotlight on a talented female artist whose content deserves to be shared with the world. This week we're so excited to feature Donna Adi, an incredibly talented artist and creative director from Los Angeles, whose viral content combines vibrant illustrations with lifestyle and fashion photographs. Her incredible talent and breathtaking artwork have allowed her to work with major companies such as Puma, Google, and Michael Kors, to create brand campaigns and events worldwide. We spent some time with Donna, who shared her creative journey with us and told us all about her exciting new projects.

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    Our chat takes place over zoom, where the LA-born artist begins by telling me that although she lives in Paris with her fiancé, she is currently stuck in Israel. She flew there to plan her wedding which was supposed to be in July but has now been postponed until October due to the current flight restrictions.

    But despite the stress of figuring out how to get back to her fiancé, Donna's outgoing personality shines through the screen on our Zoom call and I immediately feel like I'm speaking with a friend. Her face lights up as we start talking about her work and her creative journey.


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    We dive straight into how proud Donna is of forming the unique style that is attributed to her name, which many artists since have used as inspiration for their own work. Donna's journey into creating her animated pictures is a long and fascinating one, which began nearly twenty years ago.

    After working for multiple fashion brands in the streetwear and high-end industry for over ten years, Donna found herself working for a major bridal wear designer. While a big part of her role was developing the business internationally, Donna explains how she felt like, "I wasn't fulfilling or pursuing my passion and goals. I quit on impulse at that job and started to figure out what it was that I wanted to do on this earth."


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    She continued, "I started out at an agency where I was helping brands get recognized internationally as well as doing a lot of photography for fashion labels. Something that I was successful at was creating viral content for fashion designers. Then one day I was on a trip to Sweden and I drew a picture of two monsters taking a sailing ride and it picked up online overnight. From that, I started posting more and more which was a change from the fashion content that I was used to posting. Over the next few months, my work started to go viral. As I started to post my own artwork, I got a lot of new followers and people started to repost it. It was then that I got my first inquiry from a company that wanted to hire me."


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    Donna didn't expect this sort of response from her work, and not having seen any role models in her niche, she had to figure out the next steps on her own. Then, one day she received a call from J Balvin's manager, who wanted her to create an album cover. She explained, "That was the moment that I realized this was more than just a hobby and should be taken more seriously. I realized I had to build a business structure around it, so it was then that I stopped all of my PR and photography work and started drawing on photos and created a portfolio. I created something new and posted it every single day and eventually, I got a job with Nordstrom's which was the door that opened for me to start to working with fashion brands in a big way."


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    Donna's second big job was working for 24th Century Fox for the movie "Love Simon", where she worked on some ads for them. Her name and her style of art began to spread, and her career evolution took off. 

    She worked on a project for Dior, then landed a one-year contract with Puma, followed by Nike. She also worked the Met Gala for Michael Kors, as well as traveling the world doing speeches for companies and live shows at the Cannes Film Festival. She now focusses mainly on creating creative content and advertising campaigns for fashion and beauty labels as well as various large tech companies.


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    So what makes Donna's style unique? "A lot of people are looking for ways to grab the attention of their audience and increase their sales, but I think my work does a bit more than just posts a photo of the product. It tells a story where I'm interacting my art with the image, which is very unique to who I am. I understand the art of storytelling of marketing, of photography, of composition, and art and I'm able to put all of my knowledge and history from the past twenty years into that and put it on this platform that has shown a lot of return on investment for brands."


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    Despite Donna's exceptional talent and creativity, she doesn't have a degree in graphic design. Although she expressed that it was one of her biggest regrets, she went on to say, "I'm clearly fulfilling the passions of someone with that degree so it doesn't matter. I actually dropped out of college a semester before graduation. I was studying Marketing with a minor in Fashion Merchandising. I was on a vacation in Israel and working with Gali Lahav (one of the number one bridal wear designers today). I thought to myself 'that's what you go to college for, to learn about this, but now I've landed a huge job and I don't have a degree so it's fine'".


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    Donna doesn't regret not finishing her degree, and told me that "It was the biggest waste of my time. I didn't learn anything substantial that I've applied to my business today. I do think it's important to expand your knowledge and learn a variety of different skills but I think I should have invested those four years into something that was a lot more practical for my identity as a creative person."


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    When I asked Donna what her most exciting project was to date, she answered "I've done many exciting projects but I think my number one climactic project that I've worked for was the Met Gala with Michael Kors. That was a dream come true to be associated with such an event and for them to have hand-selected me to be a part of the experience. I got to create content for their pieces on the red carpet, with Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Emily Blunt, Bette Middler, and Zoe Saldana. It was very exciting and spectacular. Unfortunately, I was signed to be in Chicago with HP teaching workshops at a convention on the date of the Met Gala so I couldn't be there for the event but it was very cool anyway."


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    Donna's large Instagram following is a personal endeavor; when they reach out to her for advice or creative guidance, she said, "I really try to take a few minutes and write you a long letter about how you should believe in yourself and I try to give them advice. It's why I started my YouTube channel. I'm not where I want to be with it yet but it's about giving people advice about what I go through in my career."

    "I've learned so much and I want to give it back to the community. I will hopefully be able to spread more of this generosity and giving back your knowledge and expertise to others."


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    So, where will Donna go from here? What is the end goal? 

    "I'm currently working with a gallery in Paris with my fine art collection and I actually sold my first piece today! That's a big one for me. It's crazy that it's going to be up in someone's house! I guess that will eventually end up as merchandise that I can sell on my website but it's a new dream that I'm starting to set for myself. I'm also developing online classes and building my YouTube channel."


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    "I've got a few exciting commercial projects coming up. I've done something with Barbie which will be coming out soon, and something I did recently that was very different and challenging for me was with League of Legends which allowed me to tap into the male market and the gaming market which was cool. I also just released something with Adobe for the coronavirus "Heroes Campaign".


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    Stay tuned for more of Donna's incredible work and meanwhile, you can check out all of her creative wonders on her YouTube channel, her Instagram page, and her website

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