When it comes to filmmakers that are household names, usually Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, Woody Allen and Michael Bay are at the very top the list. What’s wrong with this picture? Most prominently known film producers are usually males. However, there is a female film producer that has been a part of the industry for a long period of time and she is continuously breaking these barriers.

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How can anyone forget that stunning dress Beyoncé wore at the 2014 Grammy Awards? She looked absolutely gorgeous in her white lace mermaid styled dress. Her dress had a simple flower design that simultaneously added a layer of sexy to her look by exposing her back and elegantly showing off her beautiful complexion and curvaceous shape. It wasn’t a look that most of us could pull off and it wasn’t a gown that just any designer could put together. This one-of-a-kind look is the work of designer and child prodigy, Michael Costello.

Costello was a contestant on season 8 of the popular design competition show, Project Runway. He was also a finalist on Project Runway’s All-Star Season. Unlike most contestants of competition shows, Costello’s fame has exceeded past 15 minutes. Costello is making his mark in the fashion industry and within the next 10 years it wouldn’t be a surprise if he is ranked with fashion kings such as Donatella Versace, Michael Kors and Giorgio Armani.

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There are some street artists that have the ability to paint such magnificent murals that you couldn’t imagine the building looking any other way. A mural titled “Mirandas en Transito” which is outside of the museum Instituto de Investigaciones Culturales Museo in Mexicali, is the work of an artist who has such artistic capabilities. This mural features shapes that have the ability to flow with the edges of the building. Fernando Corona possesses a talent where he is able to utilize the shape of the building to animate his murals and give them a natural flow that can’t be found in most two-dimensional art. The mural also features several pairs of black-and-white eyes looking in different directions. The simple color choices in the eyes are contrasted with several yellow, green, purple and orange triangles, which gives the mural a geometric sharpness balanced by the soft lines of the eyes throughout the mural.

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If this brilliant Detroit photographer never laid eyes on the exhibit of the legendary French photographer Henri Cartier- Bresson, photography as we know it would be much different. Bill Rauhauser is known for his classic black-and-white photographs that captured the significant beauty and simple elegance of Detroit throughout several decades. Prior to seeing Cartier-Bresson exhibit, Rauhauser had no idea that his hobby of taking photographs could turn into a full blown career.

His photographs over the decades depict the simple moments in Detroit life. Whether it is a photo of a woman gazing off to the side as she enjoys a cigarette on an outside Detroit plaza while wearing a lavish peacoat and string of pearls, or a photo of pedestrians walking across a street with their heads intently focused on what’s in front of them as a young boy accompanies them with a balloon in his hand, Rauhauser’s photographs show us that,  as a society, we often don’t notice simple moments the world presents to us.

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Her work is complex and has multiple meanings and even some contradictions that hold truth. Her means are peculiar. Rather than a paint brush and a canvas, she uses magazines, pornography and even animal skins to create elaborate collages. Wangechi Mutu’s style is nearly impossible to define. It resembles the work of Pablo Picasso with the way her designs play on abstraction while simultaneously referencing surrealism with her darker themes. Mutu is primarily known for her perspective of women’s bodies, especially African women. She critiques the manner in which society objectifies women by using the very tools that society utilizes to sexualize women in the first place such as magazines and pornography, which are two mediums that are known to objectify women and their bodies.

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His pop culture references are often unexpected. Jeremy Scott’s inspiration can come from anything from McDonald’s to Shrek. His designs are just as edgy as they are unique. If you wear an outfit from one of his collections, I can guarantee you that you will not have to fear wearing the same thing as everyone else. His work combines urban and punk. His use of flashy and bright colors along with ironic references to pop culture blends the world of urban chic and bold punk.

Scott looks the part of a designer that would create unique clothing. He often has half of his head shaved and can be seen wearing cool shades of some sort. He fits the part of a designer that caters to a younger population that has the guts to pull off outrageous designs and go against the norm. Although his creations are absolutely captivating, it does take a certain amount of bravery to wear his outfits. His clothing is not for the faint of heart or for someone who is afraid to stand out in a crowd. They are designed for the fresh fashion innovators of the world and the people that want to start trends rather than simply follow them. According to Complex.com, a website that focuses on the latest art and fashion trends, celebrities such as Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne have been spotted wearing Scott’s designs. Furthermore, Scott finds the styles of Niki Manaj, Rihanna and Katy Perry to be some of the best examples of fashion today in Hollywood. When talking about Katy Perry Scott told Complex.com, “She really has created a new category of this sexy and humorous style which are two of the defining points of my own work.” Scott has even had the opportunity to see Rihanna and Katy Perry wear his quirky yet daring designs.

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Brazil is certainly a beautiful location.Crystal blue waters, a radiating sunset and an intense love for soccer is what popular culture tends to focus on when it comes to Brazil. Interestingly enough, Brazil also offers a very hip fashion scene. Take fashion designer and Sao Paulo native, Pedro Lourenço, for example. Even though he is just 24 years old, he already has demonstrated his work at Fashion Week and has collaborated with respected brands such as Nike, as well as Mac Cosmetics, who described him as having a “couture-like sensibility and meticulous attention to detail.”

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Her work embodies glitter and sequins, charming femininity, and vibrant pigments. This unique marriage of artistic aesthetics best describes the work of the talented mixed-media artist, Quest Skinner. She combines a refreshing femininity with animated brush strokes that resemble the work of Vincent van Gogh. Her work has a way of lifting the viewer’s spirit. In a world where we are constantly bombarded with negative images, on the news, in music or while just experiencing everyday life, it is a breath of fresh air looking at Skinner’s work and realizing that the world does have beauty, positivity and hope. No matter what medium Skinner uses, her positive outlook on life beams through. Take a look at her official website and you will see plenty examples of this.

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Not only does she paint on canvases, but she also paints objects as well. Her painting on a guitar with deep and bright blue strokes that depict a woman with her eyes closed as she becomes one with her music shows how passion is a fundamental aspect of life. It’s as if her microphone is an extension of her arm. On the bridge of the guitar are beautiful roses, a notable Skinner detail of simplistic joy that can be found in daily life. Her painting on the bottom of the skateboard also shows Skinner’s uplifting view on life. The painting has green grass as the border for the piece, floating musical notes, her last name in big bold letters and curving roads. You can’t help but feel upbeat with her combination of bright colors, curving lines, and musical themes.

Skinner finds inspiration in the pleasures of everyday life. She says on her official website that she looks at life in a different every day and therefore she never runs out of inspiration. I “Today I woke up with such elation, joy and peace,” Skinner posted on her Facebook page. She went on to thank her family and friends for their continual support. “…My art family gratitude for replenishing my spirit for you see the paintings but give me more joy and LOVE by constantly challenging my creative side to Express my LOVE!”
This optimistic artist does have quite the art family. She lives in the Brookland ArtSpace Lofts in Washington D.C. This unique living arrangement is a project done by the nonprofit group ArtSpace, whose mission is to have artists live together at very affordable prices.

This art residency initiative not only provides artists with affordable housing, but also provides them with a constant source of creativity. As her Facebook photos show, the hallways of the loft are decorated with art from residents. This creative environment even offers an art gallery for residents. “I never understood what an artist was without an artist community,” Skinner told the Washington Post. “I looked at this as a massive explosion of family possibilities.” On her website, she stated how she believes that artists should help other artists. “It’s wonderful when we play together, work together, and figure out a way to make money together,” she said on her official site.
Her living space, is a hub of artistic creativity. The floor has beautifully colored stains from dripping paint, which makes her studio floor a piece of art itself. A giant window gleams a brilliant natural light that bounces off her magnificent paintings that sit on easels. It is obvious that art drives Skinner’s life, for it is the focal point in her loft.

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Her home, which offers a thriving community of artists working together and inspiring each other, was not Skinner’s first introduction of an artist community. Her family also had creative roots. According to ArtSpace, her brother and father are artists in both photography and design. “It’s just kinda in the blood,” she said on her website. On her Facebook post where she thanked her art community for their support, she also recognized the accomplishments her family, “My siblings I’m so proud to see all of your accomplishments! The family is growing and the next generation is promising!”

Every aspect of Skinner’s life emits creativity. If you browse through her Facebook pictures, you will see photos of her hair adorned with colorful feathers, her active involvement in body painting, and even her van is spray painted with bright colors. Amazingly, this creative genus didn’t have to attend art school to achieve her level of talent. According to East City Art, a publication which focuses on visual art, Skinner believes that being self-taught has helped her creative path as an artist. She found the experience of not getting a formal education in art gave her the freedom to “express what she finds valuable in life,” reported East City Art. Just as joyous of an artist as Skinner is, she is just as giving as a person. She received the Steve Kramer Community Service Award, according to a post on her Facebook page. Also on her birthday she posted that she did not want any gifts. “Yep it’s My birthday.. Give thanks and please donate a toy for tots I need nothing but the next generation needs you. Thanks for all the love,” she posted on Facebook.

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Through both her attitude and her artwork, Skinner provides us with valuable lessons that we may take for granted in our daily routine. Her artwork teaches us to enjoy the little moments in our life and her giving personality reminds us that we should appreciate what we have and give to others every chance we get. She is more than an artist, this amazingly optimistic woman is a role model and truly a remarkable person.

-Samantha Miller