Apple Gets Arty With New Artist Collaboration And Creative Workshops

The “Start Something New” campaign features 11 global artists who use Apple products and apps in their work.

Apple has made it no secret when its ads are shot “entirely on an iPhone,” whether it’s video or photography.


Now the brand is launching “Start Something New,” a campaign featuring 11 global artists, who use Apple products and apps in their work, with in-store and online galleries meant to provide inspiration to customers to create their own projects. These products and apps make things that once required professional equipment and ability now available to everyone.

The company is also expanding its creative arts instruction in its retail stores with two new free workshops—Shoot More Artistic Photos with iPhone, and Sketch, Draw, and Paint with iPad. The workshops aim to help people at all skill levels shoot photos more creatively on their iPhone and to sketch, draw and paint on their iPad.

Two of the featured artists are Darren Pearson and William Hundley. Pearson first started using his iPhone in his work back in June, and for his images for “Start Something New” he “sketched” midair with a handheld light, taking long-exposure photos with the NightCap Pro app on his iPhone 6s. His Apple Watch acts as a viewfinder, giving him a live preview of his drawing as it takes shape.

“The iPhone is capable and convenient, it’s a lightweight and inconspicuous camera with apps that can mimic the manual features of a DSLR,” says Pearson. “It enables any iPhone owner to give light-painting photography a try, just for fun, with the price tag of an app instead of a costly DSLR or mirrorless camera system.”

Darren Pearson

For “Oneironaut,” Hundley used his iPhone 6s Plus, a vivid piece of fabric, and a friend to jump underneath it to create the illusion of a floating object in an unretouched photo. Hundley says he’s always used iPhones for quick shots or random captures, but hadn’t used them in his artwork until recently.

“For some shoots, I use both iPhone 6S and a Canon DSLR and toggle between the two while shooting,” says Hundley. “I find that it gives me plenty of mental freedom to let the ideas flow and be trigger happy the whole time. The new camera in the 6s is solid. Image quality has leaped forward, and it’s ability to auto-adapt to conditions is crazy good….or is it just reading my thoughts and setting everything as I think it? Either way, this auto-intelligence allows the artist to revel in concept and not get too deep in camera and lighting technicals.”

William Hundley

Both artists say that given the technical abilities of the iPhone and other Apple products, as well as the wealth of apps designed to help, it’s a perfect time for the brand to help show more people how to do more with their devices.

“I’m a big fan of encouraging artists and non-artists alike to experiment with new ideas and tools and throw random ideas around with ease,” says Hundley. “Having this ability always available in your pocket is a great advantage.”

Jake Sargeant

“I think Apple is offering a good hands-on approach to inspiring others through workshops, showcases, and encouraging self expression,” says Pearson. “The door is open, you might learn something new that interests you.”

On January 7, Apple is bringing five artists from the campaign to its West 14th Street store in New York to talk about their work and techniques.

Related: History of Apple in Under 3 Minutes


About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.