This Worked 2017: Time Well Spent
One of the metrics we take most seriously is time on site – how long do people spend on the creative projects we curate and create throughout the year. We think they are all worth your time, but we’re biased. Here’s what the numbers tell us are the pieces which most engaged our readers in 2017…
Way out in front in this list we find our collaboration with American photographer Ryan McGinley. It was a dream-team coming together of beautiful, never-before-seen imagery, an exquisite interview by Kathy Ryan and a content experience designed and built by our in-house creative team. Read more.
2. Kawira Mwirichia
For Pride, we worked with The Dots to showcase a group of up-and-coming LGBT creatives from around the world. No-one embodied the ambition of that project better than Kawira Mwirichia, an artist and activist whose work combines LGBT messages with traditional Kenyan textiles. Read more.
3. Hana Tanimura
Another of our Pride month features, Hana Tanimura is a young designer at Google Creative Labs who likes “making good things, with good people for good causes.” The work itself is fascinating, but Hana’s interview is also full of insightful ideas about design as a discipline and a vehicle for social improvement. Read more.
4. Riley Hooper
Young New York-based filmmaker Riley Hooper was one of our favorite finds of 2017. Her short documentaries take marvellous individual stories – a blind swimmer, the world’s oldest mime artist – and spins them into universal mediations on who we are, and who we want to be. Read more.
5. Charlie Cattrall
Another of our Dots/Pride features, British filmmaker Charlie Cattrall explores power and sexuality in his sensuous work. But there are other things going on here too, as he himself says, “The greatest artistic things I’ve experienced felt like they pointed at something fundamental about our existence here.” Read more.
6. Alex Booker
The London-based printmaker creates beautifully textural works inspired mainly by the sea. They look great, but only when Alex talks about his process and the ideas that underpin his imagery, can we fully appreciate quite how magical they are. Read more.
7. Akasha Rabut
Akasha Rabut’s picture of two men standing on horses is arguably the most-loved single image we featured this year. This excellent series documents horse enthusiasts who roam the streets of her hometown, New Orleans. Read more.
8. Thomas McCarthy
Yet another from our Dots/Pride celebration, American photographer Thomas McCarthy is a star in the making. Despite only being 23, the maturity and self-awareness with which he discusses his work, his influences and the photography world as a whole is really refreshing. Read more.
9. M + K Nairobi
We love stories about chance encounters blossoming into creative collaboration. For M + K Nairobi, it was a casual comment about a tote bag which became one of of Kenya’s coolest fashion labels. Once again this piece was part of our Pride month showcase of LGBT creatives, curated with The Dots. Read more.
10. Annu Kilpeläinen
We likened the work of this young Finnish illustrator to “a summer flirt”, but as the winter months rolled in we are still very much in thrall. It’s bright, bold and beautiful, but we love her admission that every now and then she takes a holiday from color! Read more.
11. Sergei Pavlov
Two Finns in a row as photographer Sergei Pavlov rolls into our list. Part of our Your Work Here program – where we opened up curation to our users – Sergei’s work packs a powerful emotional punch in a very simple, understated way. He spoke engagingly about bringing more stylistic diversity to LGBT photography. Read more.
12. Daniel Obasi
A great joy of our collaboration with The Dots around Pride was the geographical diversity of the people we showcased, alongside the drive to champion LGBT creatives. Daniel Obasi is a sublimely skilled Nigerian photographer whose work is cool, considered and questioning. Read more.
13. Chris Labrooy
This piece may just have the best opening line we wrote all year –“Never seen cars Moonwalk or do the worm?” Chris Labrooy is a CGI artist whose Cut & Shut series of dancing, wiggling, shapeshifting VW Beetles was a joyous addition to the This Works world this year. Read more.
14. Elisa Gold
Another of our Your Work Here winners, Elisa Gold is a Vienna-based artist whose strange, surreal landscapes somehow capture a mood, an abstract sense of feeling. Praised by the jury for the “wonderful stillness” of her work, Elisa invited us into her practice and her thought process. Read more.
15. Rose Pilkington
Also part of our collaboration with the Dots to showcase emerging LGBT creatives, Rose Pilkington is a digital artist and motion designer with a killer eye for color. The British creative takes a lot of visual cues from nature and so her computer-created work has an vivid, organic sensibility. Read more.
16. Peggy Noland
Also part of our Pride feature, Peggy Noland is a very hard creative to sum up in a pithy one-liner. But that’s precisely what makes her so interesting (and why Kate Moross nominated her for this feature). She talked improvisation and globe-trotting as inspiration in our interview. Read more.
17. Mico Toledo
Mico Toledo is the only artist to appear in all three of our ranking-based 2017 best-of lists. That makes sense; not only do his photographs of protesters against the Standing Rock oil pipeline thrum with personality, they humanize one of the biggest news stories of the year. Read more.
18. WeTransfer x Feature Shoot Competition: Lulu Ash
We partnered with leading photo platform Feature Shoot on this contest for “minimal images that find magic in the mundane.” Of more than 3,600 entries, we chose this picture of a Ugandan fisherman by London-based Lulu Ash as the winner. We spoke to her about how and why the picture works so well. Read more.
19. WeTransfer Studios x FKA twigs: Baltimore Dance Project
The only 2016 project which makes any of our 2017 lists, but this one was a bit special. When British artist FKA twigs held a dance workshop with the people of Baltimore, we asked director Nick Walker to tell this multi-layered story of creative expression, identity and how cities see themselves. Read more.
20. Ana Popescu
The Romania-born, Austria-based illustrator had a bit of a breakthrough year with her colorful, architectural work popping up all over the place. Little surprise then to find her nestled to high up on our most-read chart. Read more.