Even though there are examples of art fusion collaborations as far back as the early 1930’s, they’re still considered unchartered territory by many Brands and Marketers today. With their popularity growing immensely, we surprisingly still haven’t developed a language that allows us to talk about art fusion collaborations in greater detail.
When talking about an automobile, for example, other than talking about its manufacturer, we differentiate a car model on so many levels. Does it have a manual or an automatic transmission? Is it a sedan or a coupé or a station wagon? Was it made in Germany, Mexico or Taiwan? And so forth. Similar aspects apply to other products, like a bicycle – we distinguish between racing bikes, a hybrid or mountain bike, between its gears and speeds, its material and weight, and so forth.
When talking about art fusion, our vocabulary is rather limited. An art fusion collaboration is either successful or not, and therefore either talked about or not. However just like a car, it can also be examined on so many other levels, other than just being recognized for its Brand and its Designers or Artists, be it a handbag or a pair of jeans or a coffee table. Technically, an art fusion collaboration is a result of working with one of two key methodologies, Deconstruction or Integration. The ingredients may be the same for each, however the results are not.
Take Levi’s jeans, a Brand that has presented fashion and design enthusiasts around the world with several successful art fusion collaborations. Let’s compare two: each used identical elements – blue jeans and creativity – yet each offered a totally different aesthetic and emotional effect.
One, called Persona, was created in collaboration with Fubon Art Foundation and BLANQ, a Taiwanese creative consulting firm. The collaborative concept was to create a non-profit, art project to raise awareness about sustainability in fashion. The outcome of the collaboration was an artistic demonstration of recycling: Levi’s jeans as wearable sculptures. The items were not for sale, only documented by photographs and short video clips posted on YouTube. Despite the lack of paid media, the small local art project had enough inherent interest thanks to the Brand and Artists involved to go viral and become a huge international hit – with millions of dollars worth of media impressions. This type of art fusion is called: Deconstruction.
The other example is a Levi’s collaboration with graffiti artist, KRINK. In this collaboration, KRINK and Levi’s created Art that consumers could buy. The limited edition collection of jeans, hoodies, t-shirts and jackets fused the edge of a Street Artist with the blue-collar aesthetic of Levi’s. The collection launched at an event bolstered by KRINK’S art displayed in store. It was a match made in heaven that resulted in a sell-out collection with plenty of crossover exposure for both parties. This type of art fusion is called: Integration.
What differentiates Integration from Deconstruction? In one word, everything. If Deconstruction leans toward representing the ‘Art’ side of art fusion, then Integration leans toward the ‘fusion’ side. Both accomplish specific purposes for Brands and Artists and have their distinct advantages and shortcomings.
In our next post, we’ll delve into those differences and classify the various stages of each. Stay tuned.