Midnight Sunrise

Isabelita Virtual

Advertising Week, ADVERTISING Club of NY

Isabelita Virtual (the nom d’Insta of advertising creative director Isabel Martinez) works to communicate her vision of the world through simple but impactful images. Her Instagram posts transport her 680K+ followers to a beautiful, unexpected, and sometimes surreal universe of ideas and emotions in which concept, color, mystery, and femininity rule.

“I started to attract people’s attention by posting my work on social media through the small screen of a smartphone, so I am thrilled to have this opportunity to experiment with a large format and showcase my art on the biggest public platform in the world.”

- Isabelita Virtual

Midnight Sunrise brings a color gradient into motion, shifting slowly from a deep midnight blue through a spectrum inspired by the sky during sunrise. At three minutes to midnight, when the sky is dark but the screens are bright in Times Square, you can look up, breathe deeply and watch the darkness become the light. This digital work, a natural occurrence at an unnatural time, invokes a physical experience — a calm, contemplative moment in one of the most frenetic locations in the city that never sleeps. Simultaneously a visual poem and a minimalist ode to ephemeral experience, the video installation uses the power of color to raise questions about time and space.

Midnight Sunrise is a globally inclusive concept: everything is connected. I considered this every single night as I was falling asleep in my NYC apartment. As my day was ending, a new day was beginning on the horizon in Barcelona, where I was born. This artwork is a reflection on humanity’s deep need of quiet, paradoxically providing a moment of inner peace in the center of Times Square.”

- Isabelita Virtual

Midnight Sunrise was chosen as the Midnight Moment for October 2018 through an open call by Times Square Arts in partnership with Advertising Week and The ADVERTISING Club of NY requesting proposals of original art by artists working in the advertising industry.

“Isabelita Virtual started her career on Instagram and built an enormous online following — an international audience who individually view her work on their handheld electronic devices. Now her artwork will reach a live audience that rivals her online following, on the spectacular electronic billboards in one of the world’s most Instagrammed places.”

- Andrew Dinwiddie, Acting Director, Times Square Arts

 “Advertising Week is thrilled to focus the brilliant lights of Times Square on the broader creative community and, in particular, Isabelita Virtual’s Midnight Sunrise, which is both calming and inspiring. Creative works like this evoke a much needed fresh start and sense of peace during these chaotic and divisive times.”

 - Matt Scheckner, Global CEO, Advertising Week

“The ANDYs are continually looking for ways to spotlight creative and the people behind it beyond the typical award-show stage. This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for Isabelita Virtual and her work to be recognized and seen by the masses that visit Times Square daily. Isabelita Virtual’s work is a beautiful reminder to take a moment of peace and quiet that can be lost in the hustle of a city like NYC.”

 - Gina Grillo, President & CEO, The ADVERTISING Club of NY


Isabel Martínez (b. 1976, lives and works in Barcelona, Spain) is the name behind Isabelita Virtual, an award-winning advertising creative director and photographer with over 15 years of experience at advertising agencies including SCPF, DDB Barcelona, and JWT NY. Isabel has been awarded by Cannes Lions, Clio Awards and the D&AD Festival. In 2011, Isabel launched @IsabelitaVirtual. Since then, she has collaborated as a creative director and image-maker with brands and cultural institutions such as Dior, Hermès, Kenzo, Sony, Louis Vuitton Foundation, and The Moscow Ballet. In 2014, New York Magazine’s “The Cut” included her on its list of 50 Social Media Voices to Follow. In 2015, 2016, and 2017, she was featured as one of the 100 Most Relevant Spanish Women of the Year. In 2018, the @IsabelitaVirtual Instagram Gallery was honored by the Webby Awards (hailed as “the internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times) in the category of Best Social Content in Art & Culture alongside powerhouse cultural institutions such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim, and LACMA.

Since it began in 2004, led by co-founders Matt Scheckner and Lance Pillersdorf, Advertising Week has evolved into the # 1 business-to-business event in New York cutting across all industries and has expanded rapidly across the globe, replicating its signature formula blending thought leadership on the business of the business by day and show business by night. The Week now enjoys a global footprint with editions in London, Tokyo, Mexico City and Sydney and via AW360 has extended the thought leadership platform beyond the events onto smartphones and tablets the year-round. Advertising Week is produced globally by New York-based Stillwell Partners.

The ADVERTISING Club of New York is a non-profit organization for corporate and individual members in the advertising, media, marketing and ad-tech industries. They provide education and networking opportunities to enhance professional development, expose members to innovation and technology, and provide access to influencers/companies across the entire advertising ecosystem, from agencies to clients. In addition to their #ImPART ground-breaking diversity programs, they oversee The International ANDY awards.

Vrai Pictures is an independent immersive content studio founded by Jessica Brillhart. They specialize in multimedia and interactive arts and entertainment. As the letters of "Vrai" suggests, they bring together virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and machine learning (AI) in order to craft thought-provoking, artful, and impactful experiences. They pride themselves in learning, experimenting, and exploring — helping to develop new tools and discovering new processes through the work they do.


Curatorial support provided by Vrai Pictures.

Midnight Sunrise (2018)
by Isabelita Virtual

Courtesy of the artist, developed in collaboration with David Galar, Graphic & Motion designer and USTED, advertising agency based in Barcelona.


Photographs courtesy of Ka-Man Tse for Times Square Arts.