We Create

Designed to empower + propel artists of marginalized identities working toward a career in commercial visual arts.

The Mentorship

The We Create mentorship program is a one-on-one experience, tailor-made in collaboration with the mentee to provide the knowledge and support necessary to advance their career. Its aim is to address disparities within the creative industry and uplift voices often drown out by the majority by forming meaningful relationships and engaged learning with established creative professionals.

Mentoring will be conducted via regular correspondence and virtual meetings, the latter to be held every two weeks via video or voice call. Each month will be dedicated to discussing topics and emerging artist strategies assigned by the syllabus which include:

  • Pricing
  • Portfolio prep
  • Networking
  • Contracts
  • Galleries + Agencies
  • and more…

The We Create syllabus and program will adapt throughout the year to suit the mentee’s needs. As such, the mentee’s participation and honest feedback are essential.

The Grant

A grant totaling $2,000 (USD) will be awarded to each mentee upon completion of the final project – an edition of screen prints.

In addition to the remaining curriculum, the final months of the mentorship will focus on the design, production, and release of a screen print with the guidance of their mentor and print sponsor, Nakatomi Inc. A portion of the grant will be allotted for production costs, with the remainder acting as a commission fee to cover the mentee’s time.

Criteria for the final project are as follows:

  • A portion of the print design must be completed digitally
  • Subject chosen by mentee (must adhere to Code of Conduct)
  • 18×24” screen print, max. edition of 100, up to 6 colors
  • To be printed by Nakatomi Print Labs

The We Create grant serves as an opportunity for creative freedom where mentees may practice their craft, learn and apply new skills in real-time, all while maintaining a financial safety-net.


A photo of Orlando Arocena, a Mexican man with a goatee facing the camera with a serious expression, wearing a black t-shirt, thick-rimmed glasses, and brushed back short black hair.

Orlando Arocena ( Mexifunk) is an artist and graphic designer who works in traditional and digital mediums. After graduating from Pratt Institute in 1994, he drew his way through Europe, co-founded Uptown Arts, and discovered he had a knack for digital commercial communications. In addition to a 20-year track record of delivering creative solutions for some of the world’s most recognizable brands he has established himself as a non-conventional vector illustrator who explores cultural iconography, pop culture, and speculative narratives. His vector art has also been commissioned by Adobe to be the face of their Illustrator CC 2014. And is a recipient of a 2017 Gold Clio Entertainment Award for his 20 title “Dia de los Muertos” Horror dvd take over with Twentieth Century Fox and MGM studios.

In addition to commercial endeavors, he has exhibited his artwork at Miami Art Basel, The New York Armory Show, The U.S Embassy in Prague, The Museum of Western and Eastern Art Odessa Ukraine, The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, plus a multitude of official movie/pop-culture gallery events.

He is currently a Global Brand Ambassador for HP’s new creative line up of mobile workstations called ZbyHP.

Orlando Arocena’s studio is based in Bogota, Colombia.

Instagram | Twitter | Behance

Photo of Tracie Ching, a woman of mixed Asian descent in profile with an undercut and longish black hair highlighted with teal, wearing black shard earrings, and a geometric white and rust shirt with black stripes.

Tracie Ching is an artist and self-taught illustrator working in Washington, DC. A marriage of old and new, her work translates classic engraving techniques through vector illustration, resulting in the bold cross-hatching style for which she is known.

Creating alternative movie posters for cult classics, Ching made her home in pop-culture showing in galleries such as Spoke Art in San Francisco. She has since grown her portfolio to include key art for clients like Disney, Lionsgate, and Marvel Studios. Ching’s other work includes editorial illustrations, commercial art, and political portraits for presidential campaigns rounding out her dynamic application of creative skill.

Instagram | Twitter | Website

A photo of Erica Williams, a woman in three-quarter view looking at the camera with an undercut and longish brown, slightly wavy hair, wearing several earrings and necklaces, and a black tank top. Background is yard with blurred foliage, tree, and white picket fence.

Erica Williams is an illustrator and cute things addict in Minneapolis, MN. She is known for intricate mark-making and illustrations of flora and fauna with macabre tones, as well as custom typography and screen printed posters. Much of her work focuses on the forgotten, endangered, the occult and lore.

Erica attended Kansas City Art Institute before moving to Minneapolis, and became a freelance illustrator in 2012. Since then she has created posters, album art, t-shirts, identity, print advertisements, book covers, skateboards, and various merchandise for a variety of clients and industries.

Instagram | Twitter | Website

Being a mentor isn’t about being perfect or the most complete version of yourself. We are still works in progress, just like you. The only real difference between us is time. Time that has granted us knowledge and experience we hope to activate in order to create collaborative strategies that will foster your goals. No one can succeed alone, and we look forward to learning and growing together over the course of 2021.


In addition to the We Create mentors, the 2021 program will feature Guest Mentors – creatives from varying professional backgrounds who will share their unique perspective and insight during a virtual mentorship meeting with a mentee and their chosen mentor. Here are just a few of the incredible humans joining us in 2021.

A blue-toned photo of Drusilla Adeline, a young White woman with shoulder-length blonde hair looking at the camera with a mysterious expression, wearing clear-framed glasses and a black deep v-neck sweater over an unbuttoned white collared shirt.
Drusilla Adeline

Sister Hyde Design

Dian Holton

Senior Art Director

A photo of Dami Lee, a young Korean woman with shoulder length black hair facing forward and looking off to the right, wearing a black collared shirt with tan polka dots in front of a white wall.
Dami Lee


A photo of Steve McNiven, a distinguished white man wearing slim glasses, a black NY Yankees baseball hat, and a white button-up shirt over a black t-shirt.
Steve McNiven

Comic Book Illustrator

Photo of Ben O'Keefe, a young Black man with a beard facing forward with a big smile, wearing glasses and jean jacket over a striped collared shirt in front of a yellow background.
Ben O’Keefe

Executive Creative Director


We Create will accept three (3) mentees for the 2021 program, one per mentor. Applicants should demonstrate vision and drive in pursuit of their goal(s). We aren’t looking for a streak of wins, but rather proof of hustle. We want to collaborate with someone who will use this program as a springboard toward a life as a professional creative. Whether you are 18 or 88 – there is no maximum age. Artistic background, preferred subject matter, style or process – there are no restrictions. As long as the applicant’s work could benefit from We Create mentorship, they are welcome.


To apply for the We Create mentorship and grant you must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Be an emerging artist actively pursuing a full-time artistic career
  • Have access to a computer and internet*
  • Be fluent in English

Not sure you meet the requirements? Apply anyway.


The application process requires you provide examples of your work via website, online portfolio, or downloadable PDF

  • What you hope to gain from the program
  • Your work and creative process
  • Your goals

We Creates exists to act as a resource for marginalized identities within creative industries. A such, we hope to provide assets and ask only for your time in return. *

While access to a computer and internet are a requirement for participation in mentorship meetings and completion of the final project we realize not all have ready access to these resources. All efforts will be made to accommodate and assist applicants/mentees wherever possible.


Zi Xu

Inaugural Mentee (2019)
Freelance illustrator + concept artist


An enormous thank you to our sponsors for their generosity in supporting emerging creatives!

Nakatomi Inc./Nakatomi Print Labs

Print Sponsor


Are there any restrictions on an artist’s chosen medium?
Technically no. As long as the applicant meets the requirements and we can help them in their given field or professional goal(s), they’re good to go!

Do I have to have experience with silkscreen prints?
Nope! Your We Create mentor and our print sponsor, Nakatomi Print Labs, will help you with the ins-and-outs of screen printing, including preparation of your artwork for print.

Who retains the rights to the final project?
All rights for the final image and prints for the final project belong to the mentee, and the mentee alone. Neither We Create nor its sponsors hold any ownership or usage rights outside the ability to share it in relation to the program unless agreed upon by the mentee.

If I sell my final project prints, is We Create entitled to a portion of the sales?
Absolutely not. The mentee has full control over the sales, profits, and fulfillment of their final project prints unless they wish Nakatomi Labs to sell them on consignment.

Are there any requirements for education or work experience?
No. Proof of vision, motivation, and worthiness cannot and should not be measured in diplomas or job titles. The art and what you’ve done with it will speak for itself.

Do I have to design movie posters?
Absolutely not. The subject of your current work, as well the final project, are entirely up to you and should speak to the work you want to create professionally.

I don’t have a website. How do I provide examples of my work?
Two ways – 1.) Free portfolio websites. There are many sites like Behance that allow you to upload your portfolio for free. 2.) Send a PDF. Package together 5-10 examples of your best work and provide a link where we can download it (eg. WeTransfer, Dropbox, etc.). Include descriptions alongside any examples where possible (eg. month and year of creation, client vs personal work, etc.)

Will we be mentored in a group?
No. We Create is a one-on-one mentorship program, however, mentees as encouraged to engage with one another. All mentors and mentees will also be part of a group chat (via WhatsApp, Slack, Discord, etc.).

Do I have to live near my mentor?
Nope. Meetings will be conducted via video or voice calls, and email correspondence is encouraged. International applicants are welcome, as long as they meet the mentee requirements.

Will mentors teach me how to emulate their styles?
No. This program is not an apprenticeship to the mentor’s style.

How will mentees and mentors be paired?
Applicants will have the option to select, in order of preference, the mentors with whom they would like to be paired. If a high-ranking match occurs, the applicant become a semi-finalist and interviews with the matched mentor. One finalist will be selected by each mentor upon completion of all interviews.

When will the mentee be chosen?
Application review begins on Dec. 1st, 2020. Three (3) semi-finalists will be chosen by each mentor and notified by Dec. 10th, 2018. Phone or video chat interviews will be held Dec. 12th-19th. All applicants will be notified of the outcome by Dec. 21st.

Where can I see the legal nitty-gritty?
You can read the Terms of Participation here.

Key Dates

Sept. 1-Nov. 30:  Application period open
Dec. 1-10:  Application review
Dec. 11:  Semi-finalists notified
Dec. 14-21:  Semi-finalist interviews
Dec. 28:  Mentees announced
Jan. 4th:  Mentorships Begin!

Schedule may be subject to change pending global issues


Don’t see the answer to your question? Contact us!

For media or sponsorship inquiries, please contact Tracie Ching.

Read the Terms of Participation here.





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