Madison’s portraits are mystical. She edits each photo with gloomy blue and pink motifs. Not to reinforce some hidden, deeper meaning; simply because those are her favorite colors.
She didn’t attend a liberal arts school to earn some artsy fartsy degree, and she doesn’t intern at any notable magazines – but still, Madison is working towards transforming the state of editorial photography as we know it.
If I learned one thing from my spring afternoon with @ArtByHybrid, it’s that charisma and curiosity go far in the world of creativity. Madison is eager to learn from every new place and person that she encounters. Her open mindedness to new experiences, all for the sake of improving her craft, is what makes her one of the strongest up and coming creatives from the Indianapolis area.
The photographer is another alumna of the “School of YouTube” – she learned all of her skills from free tutorials and trial-and-error. When I asked who to thank for her initial interest in photography, she credits her parents – “my dad gave me my first camera when I was sixteen. It was one of his old cameras. Before he gave it to me, I had to write a whole business plan, though.” Her mom went so far as allowing Madison to create a makeshift home studio in the family basement.
Since the age of 16, she’s 20 now, the self-titled Art by Hybrid has learned to illustrate her own emotion and creativity through any subject. The name “Hybrid” derives from Madison’s ambition to be a hybrid artist – blending many different artistic formats into one that is never necessarily perfected, but always improved. She tracks her very own progress by keeping old photos visible on social media. While most artists consistently update their portfolio and social media profiles to seem perfectly curated, Madison marks her progress by keeping the old photos visible. “It helps me to see what’s changed and how I’ve developed. Whenever I have a new project, I think ‘this is cool, but how can I make it better?’”
This is cool, but how can I make it better?
She’s her own teacher and won’t stop until her work is as good as the greatest. While self-comparison is the key to Madison’s self-improvement, she ironically never compares herself to other creatives in the photography space. She’s competing against herself, not other photographers. “I love to collaborate! It’s not about being better than you, it’s about us helping each other get better in general.” This exact attitude is what’s propelling the city of Indianapolis forward creatively – and is exactly why Madison sees herself within its rising hip-hop community. She recounts her first time shooting in the hip-hop scene at the second Chreece festival, “I met so many other Indy creatives. That was the first time that I met Jeremiah Stokes and Pope Adrian Bless. I just remember wanting to be a real part of this community.”
The photographer isn’t just “a part” of this community, she now plays a starring role. She’s the Gunner Stahl of Indy – no, better. She photographs the city’s rising musicians, just as Gunner does; but her photos are captivating from the mere talent of her shooting, not just the flashy, mainstream rappers behind the lens. Madison has taken the Twitter Michael’s Challenge to a new level – transforming the simplest craft shop finds into flashy sets. She produces editorial-quality photos with the bleakest of budgets, all from her own creative vision.
In a sea of photoshoots that are all stand-outs in my opinion, which photo sets stand out to Madison personally? “The pool shoot is my absolute favorite. I was inspired by Lauren Sanderson’s Spaces album art, shot by Muriel Knudson. We used Mau’s uncle’s pool and shot super early in the morning, it was cold as hell. But, it was so worth it.”
What are the hybrid artist’s next steps towards creativity? ”I love traveling. I just want to go to new places and share what I learn through my pictures. I failed algebra like three times! [Laughs.] I’m not trying to be a CEO – I just want to make art.”
Find more of Art by Hybrid’s work on Instagram.
All photos were taken by Art by Hybrid.
Update: If you’d like to support Madison’s journey financially, contribute to her Go Fund Me. She’s raising dollars in preparation for her first international art show!