In 2022, MOLD’s visual vocabulary was defined by emerging artists whose work gave shape to our editorial series and recurring columns. From Rosa Sawyer’s phantasmagorical animations— which infused our Sweetgreen Earth Week collaboration with the whimsy of the natural world, to Social Species’ sleek, deeply researched interpretation of line cook workstations for our Work in Progress series, this year’s commissioned artworks have carved out new interfaces for conversation and consideration with the pieces we have published. At MOLD, we continue to prioritize collaboration with QPOC artists whose bodies of work resonate with our editorial mission and vision. As we reflect on year of incredible collaboration and artwork, we are highlighting some of our favorite features from editorial initiatives that include: Nightcrawlers, Sweetgreen x MOLD, Work in Progress, Unpacking the IPCC, and Rural-Urban Systems.


Artwork by Khôi Phạm

In this series on Nightlife, we embrace the darkness and delve into worlds that come alive when the sun sets. We commissioned Khôi Phạm, whose sleek illustrations encapsulate the rhythms, metabolisms and revelations that flourish in the dark. In this illustration for the piece Nightcrawlers, a Cecropia moth pollinates ghost orchids, which are a rare flower and are pollinated by moths. 

Artwork by Khôi Phạm for MOLD Magazine.

Artwork by Rosa Sawyers

For Earth Week this year, we partnered with Sweetgreen to celebrate the life cycles of all the human and non-human collaborators that feed and nurture us. We commissioned Rosa Sawyers to highlight 4 ingredients in a series of phantasmagoric animations. In this particular animation, we take you through the lifespan of mushrooms and how they play a lead role in cycles of regeneration, breaking down decomposing plant matter in their ecosystems and converting decay into nutrients.

Animation by Rosa Sawyers for MOLD Magazine.

Artwork by Social Species

As the pandemic upended restaurants, we entered the new season with optimism for a return to full operations for the restaurant industry. In the series Work In Progress, we consider the ways design supports the professional labor behind eating out. We collaborated with Social Species Studio on the duo’s very first commission! In this piece by Katerina Liakos, Vivian and Miles of Social Species used the ruler to represent the many similarities in the process of creation between design and cooking. The ruler is inspired by the careful consideration behind how the workstation is set up, the level of preparation needed with every dish, and the constant iterations happening in the kitchen. We also consolidated the design duo’s research and design process in this channel.

Artwork by Social Species for MOLD Magazine.

Artwork by Bryson Lee

This series places food and design in conversation with policy. Earlier this year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, released its sixth report, a damning diagnosis of the irreversibility of many of climate change’s current impacts as well as a warning that it could get much worse if greater efforts are not taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this piece, illustrator Bryson Lee highlights Alicia Kennedy’s words: “One person in the United States’ easy pleasures are another person’s and ecosystem’s burden.”

Artwork by Bryson Lee for MOLD Magazine.

Artwork by Vanilla Chi

Rural-Urban Systems profiles systems bridging the urban, the periurban, and the rural to complicate our understanding of the geography of our cities. In the Eternal Fountains of the Eternal City, Ben Derlan writes about the nasoni, or “big noses”—named from their spouts, which protrude out like a nose from a head—that are scattered throughout the region of Lazio. We commissioned Vanilla Chi to illustrate Ben Derlan’s imagination of the Nasoni as a model of what urban water access could look like, and the true feeling of oasis when one encounters the eternal fountains of Rome.

Artwork by Vanilla Chi for MOLD Magazine.