Within the world of art, everything changed since the beginning of the 21st century: The integration of social media, popular culture and, perhaps most notably, the field of design. Artists’ activities which are in close relation to commercial collaborations and connected to endeavors of designing special objects seem to be proliferating with each passing year. Every now and then, the art loving public has a chance to acquire a specially designed collectable toy or a piece of clothing with an artist’s signature aesthetics. What is more important, the art market is being affected by the growing activities of design and art collaborations. Experienced artists are always in demand when it comes to the aspirations and activities of established brands, on the one hand, and, on the other, emerging artists search for a chance to find new levels of exposure for their work. So, sit back, and explore all the exciting events, products, programs and shows which marked 2014’s artists adventures within the design world…
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BÄST x Marc Jacobs
We were just going through February of 2014 and we already witnessed one of the year’s greatest art and fashion collaborations, when famous Brooklyn-based street artist BÄST, who is best known for his extraordinary collages of mutated characters and mind-bending scenes, once again teamed up with Marc Jacobs, renowned American fashion designer and one of the most influential people in the world of fashion. Together they created a perfect pair of canvas hi-top sneakers that were the hippest thing to wear last summer. To make each pair a genuine work of art, the colorful uppers of the sneakers were made from painted canvas found in BÄST’s archives. Each shoe was produced as a single edition and there are no two shoes that are exactly the same.
Brandalism is an extraordinary artistic experiment by Antonio Brasko, internationally acclaimed graphic designer and art director from America, who has designed for some of the most famous global brands such as Dr. Martens, Adidas, Nike and Intel. The project started as the Spray Can Concept featuring redesigned and branded classic Montana spraycans, but Brasko extended it to oversized prints, all meant as a creative study on the influence of graffiti and street art in the fashion world and corporate branding. These fantastic high fashion cans and prints proudly wear their logos and signature colors of the most favorite fashion brands, including Supreme, Nike, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Gucci and many more, cleverly reintroducing the ideology of vandalism, branding and fashion from an experimental design perspective.
Girl is an unisex fragrance released by avant-garde fashion house Comme des Garçons Parfums and conceived by American music superstar, pop icon, art collector and curator Pharrel Williams. The bottle, logo and packaging of this collaborative product of creative heavywheights, has been designed by House + Holme, and it features instantly recognizable, cartoonish artwork by the Brooklyn-based artist KAWS, worldwide superstar of street art and design. A stylish wood-based fragrance for girls and boys that strikes an attractive balance of masculinity and femininity, comes packed in an unique bottle coated with custom 360-degree print emblazoned with the KAWS’ whimsical design, which successfully translates his eccentric visual style found in the streets of New York City.
Live for Now
Live for Now limited edition line of headphones is the result of collaboration between Bang & Olufsen, renowned Danish manufacturer of high end audio and video products, and Pepsi. For this occasion B&O invited selection of four acclaimed street artists to recreate limited editions of Form 2i, classic B&O headphone sets which already have their place in the permanent MoMA design collection. Additionally Bang & Olufsen released exclusive limited edition of the luxurious BeoPlay H6 headphones. Artist invited to participate in the project were Ricardo Akn, street artist, photographer and illustrator from Brazil, Hattie Stewart from London, Argentinian street artist Zosen Bandido and Merijn Hos, Dutch visual artist and illustrator. Result is an extremely stylish line of cutting-edge headphones that successfully combines football, art and fashion.
Just Did It
This summer notorious and highly controversial American street artist Mr. Brainwash gave the new looks to the two of Nike’s most classic sneaker models. Just Did It limited edition included one of a kind Nike Air Force One model and MBW Shoe, which is Mr. Brainwash’s spin on classic Nike Internationalist running shoe. Each pair was splattered with paint in typical Mr. Brainwash style and came with a certificate of authenticity, packed in a hand-finished shoebox that was signed and numbered by Mr. Brainwash. Only 13 total pairs of Nike Air Force One were made by Mr. Brainwash. They were quickly sold out for $1,000. MBW shoe also quickly sold out, priced at $750.
Graffiti for Designers
Graffiti for Designers was a revolutionary course, held this fall at Pratt Institute’s Center for Continuing and Professional Studies in New York. This revolutionary course, taught by multi-talented creative director of Mass Appeal magazine Sacha Jenkins, examined the tenets of writing culture, and how they can be applied to graphic design. The course was a great opportunity for visual artists to better understand the aesthetics of writing and expand upon their areas of work. It offered lectures on the aesthetics of writing and tagging, suggesting ways for usage and appropriation of certain symbols pertinent to the style in graphic design. A special part of the course was dedicated to the guerilla marketing and the defining influence graffiti has on it.
Ever since Andy Warhol first created his original artwork for Absolut, the famous Swedish vodka brand has collaborated with thousands of cutting edge artists, including some of the greatest names such as Keith Haring and Damien Hirst. In 2014 Absolut once again presented its refreshed iconic bottle, this time in, what possibly might be its most renowned form to date. The Andy Warhol Edition is based on Andy Warhol’s original Absolut Warhol painting, transforming it onto the well known shape of the bottle, allowing anyone to bring home their very own Warhol. The eye-catching bottle was developed in collaboration between Absolut and The Andy Warhol Foundation. Released in limited edition of approximately four millions bottles, the Andy Warhol Edition Absolut Vodka has been distributed world-wide since October.
Raf Simons x Sterling Ruby
Sterling Ruby is an American visual artist of international acclaim, widely praised for his multi-media artworks, which often include ceramics, paintings, collage and video. Since 2008 Sterling Ruby has been often collaborating with Raf Simons, famed Belgian fashion designer and creative director at Christian Dior. In 2012 Simons created satin fabrics with images of four of Sterling Ruby’s paintings, and in January 2014 Ruby and Simons collaborated on their menswear collection which was presented during Paris Fashion Week. Their latest work is a killer fall/winter collection which was recognized with a 7-page story published in AnOther magazine, starring the muse of the fashion world, Kate Moss who wore the paint-splattered artwear.
Quarter of a century ago, in 1989, Shepard Fairey designed now famous OBEY sticker. He was practically a teenager when he started putting them up, sharing his thoughts of consumerism and the nature of capitalism for everyone to see. The sticker started a worldwide pheonmena and catapulted Fairy into the spotlight. Today he is one of the most respected and inspirational artists on the street art scene. To mark the occasion and celebrate the 25th anniversary of Fairey’s extraordinary evolution as an artist and designer, last September OBEY Clothing released their special collection which features classic and most memorable graphics from Shepard’s past, that have inspired and shaped the brand over the years.
Adidas x HVW8
West Hollywood based HVW8 Art + Design Gallery, founded in 2006 and curated by Tyler Giney and Addison Liu, is the early pioneer of the live art movement and premier underground gallery, strongly focused on supporting fine art and avant-garde design. In 2014 HVW8 gallery collaborated with sportswear manufacturer Adidas, releasing new artworks on Seely and Adi-Ease models created by two gallery represented artist, Jean André and Kevin Lyons. In order to celebrate the collaborations, the gallery organized series of international events showing the four new shoes from the two artists. Lyons’ interpretations of Seeley and AdiEase, produced in his instantly recognizable style, reflect the colorful and vibrant imagery of watercolor backgrounds, while Jean André’s works feature bold graphic gestures combined with the subtlety of detailed imagery.