Google wants to align itself with creators.
The tech giant is launching Creator Labs, an incubator for professional photographers, videographers, directors, YouTubers and artists. The initiative is meant to highlight the camera capabilities of Google’s Pixel 4 phone, aka the tool with which the creators are capturing content. The program also creates opportunity for Google to be a part of current and future social and cultural conversations.
“Our goal is to commission content that’s captured on Pixel 4, both photo and video, that is grounded in social impact and cultural narrative,” said Ava Donaldson, influencer manager at Google who oversees Google Pixel influencer activations. “It goes back to the DNA of what YouTube is, which is to nurture and give a platform to people that want to create content and artists on the rise.”
Creator Labs was formed in partnership with Lens, a division of IMG helmed by Steven Chaiken that seeks to represent visual artists in a forward-thinking way.
“We look to rethink and reimagine how artists should and can be represented and how we can be nurturing and fostering their creativity in the best possible way, especially with a rapidly changing content creation landscape,” explained Chaiken. Lens, he added, consists of a seven-person team and represents about 25 artists.
Creator Labs will launch this month with 10 artists: Quil Lemons, Mayan Toledano, Joshua Kissi, MaryV Benoit, Myles Loftin, Andrew Thomas Huang, June Canedo, Tim Kellner, Glassface and Anthony Prince Leslie. Their work will be exhibited in a free, public gallery show that will open on Dec. 14 at 415 Broadway in New York City. Google intends to work with the artists throughout 2020, with the potential to add artists into the fold after one year.
During the selection process, Google considered the social media platforms on which the artists are best known, prioritizing YouTube without ruling out platforms Google doesn’t own.
“With YouTube being part of our family, we prioritize YouTube and video content, so it was important for us to have directors and YouTubers in the mix,” said Donaldson. “Knowing that many of our artists are photographers, of course Instagram is a channel that makes sense as well.”
More from WWD.com: