12 Artists and Authors Who’ll Inspire, Enlighten and Occasionally Offend You

Meet the boldest voices on Adweek's Creative 100 for 2017

Miami's Monad Studio created a Piezoelectric Titanium Violin as part of a recent 3-D printed art exhibit.

Highly politicized times may bring out the worst in some of our neighbors and newsfeeds, but on the bright side, they also bring out the best in artists.

The current political climate is no exception, with many creatives channeling their outrage into inspiration.

Each year, Adweek’s Creative 100 reserves 10 spots for the artists and authors who are creating some of today’s most topical, captivating work. While not all of this year’s honorees are politically motivated, it’s certainly a trend one can’t help but notice.

Here are this year’s artists and authors in the Creative 100:


Edel Rodriguez
Artist and Magazine Illustrator

Whether you know his name, you’re doubtlessly familiar with the work of artist and illustrator Rodriguez.

The former Time art director has made headlines—and, in some cases, sparked fierce debate—with his bold magazine covers, including Newsweek’s “What Silicon Valley Thinks of Women” in 2015, which showed a woman whose skirt is being lifted by a computer cursor; Time’s memorable Trump-themed “Meltdown” and “Total Meltdown” covers during last year’s election cycle; and this past February’s cover of Der Spiegel, which showed President Trump holding the severed head of the Statue of Liberty along with the headline “America First.”

Earlier this month, he returned to the cover of Der Spiegel to show Trump smacking the Earth with a golf club after backing out of the Paris Accords. Rodriguez, who emigrated from the U.S. to Cuba at age 9, has also done work for brands like MTV and Pepsi, and his fine art creations are even more stark and ominous than his magazine designs.
Emma Bazilian


Patricia Lockwood
Poet and Memoirist

Patricia Lockwood has been called many things—the poet laureate of Twitter, the smutty metaphor queen of Lawrence, Kan., a priest’s child, a show-off. Whatever the case, she’s brimming with the kind of creativity that transcends classic genres and literary circles.

With no formal training or college degree, Lockwood became the rarest of birds—a widely popular poet—after her poem “Rape Joke” went viral on The Awl website in 2012. (Read it and, as Emily Dickinson would say, it’ll make you feel as if the top of your head were taken off.) The overnight success was a shock to Lockwood, who was living with her husband and parents in a Midwest rectory at the time. And it secured a deal for her second book of poems with Penguin.

“No one ever expects that to happen with a poem. It was surreal,” she says from her home in Georgia. “It felt like the beginning of a wave of poetry getting more attention across social media. Twitter is an amazing platform for that kind of poetry.”

Lockwood turned heads again when she tweeted “fuck me daddy” at then-presidential candidate Donald Trump from The New Republic’s official Twitter account last year. She was hosting a Q&A with readers, drank one too many Red Bulls and fired off a tweet that was immediately deleted and lauded as protest art. “I can’t get fired from my job,” she jokes. “I know you guys can’t do it, so let me take that burden for you.”

Now she’s promoting her memoir, Priest Daddy, about growing up with a “crazy, gun-toting, naked” father who joined the priesthood after starting a family. Taking on Catholicism wasn’t easy, but “above fear you have to answer to what is art,” she says. “When I was writing the book, I wasn’t just thinking about what is the true version of events. I was writing to what is artistic. If you answer to what is artistic, that is the thing that will help you.”

She’s also working on her next book, Do This, Do That, which explores aphorisms that artists, athletes and others use to describe their processes.
Stephanie Paterik

This story first appeared in the June 12, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Recommended articles