I am so proud of mobile artist Cheryl Tarrant, Distressed FX is her original idea, an iOS photo editing app that adds texture and atmosphere to pictures, giving them a dream-like quality. Popular on Instagram, with over 90,000 tagged photos, users have found it simple to turn any photo into a work of art.
With well over a million users, it has reached #1 in the App Store charts in 24 countries, and the #1 Photo and Video app in in 43 countries
Tarrant, who lives in the countryside in Tennessee, USA along with her many pets (including peacocks and chickens!), is a texture artist who has made a living selling her painterly textures to fellow digital artists. This exploded once she decided to create an app, enabling many more people to create art using only their mobile phone.
A casual online conversation with a friend resulted in a simple-to-use app that people of all ages and genders love to use. Developer Steve Liddell, who lives in the UK, said, “I wanted to keep the app true to Cheryl’s artistic vision. It really is her work shining through rather than the technology – and that’s what makes it unique in the App Store.”
Neither Tarrant nor Liddell expected Distressed FX to be as popular as it is and have a good working relationship despite never meeting, only corresponding online.
“My business was born out of slight desperation. I moved from the West Coast to the hills of Tennessee. Making such a move was a huge risk for me personally. I had previous graphic design experience and the move into textures was quite simple and felt natural, and going on to create a business selling those textures simply followed”, explains Tarrant. Cubicle jobs meant a certain little death for me. I have a hard time with monotony and being strapped down to a desk. Through fine art and, eventually, the app, I was able to have purpose with a sense of freedom. The creation of the Distressed FX app turned out to be the universe handing me a chance to maintain my autonomy, while having a sense of purpose and making a living.
There is freedom and creativity in the app. You can be sitting in a boring doctor’s office and, within seconds, make art: creating painterly images from ordinary photos. I like the idea of leaving our creative footprints in the world, and with the app, it’s possible for those of us who don’t consider ourselves to be creative, to feel and be creative, she said.
The website distressedfx.com has many more examples of photos produced by users, including a gallery at www.distressedfx.com/usergallery which is regularly updated, and features images that use the hashtag #distressedfx on Instagram.
Demonstration Video (without sound)
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