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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Futura x G-Shock - Street Art Legend Meets Time

Street artists and fashion designers collaborating on a capsule collection are the vogue trend right now. Usually, it is an up-and-coming artist or an icon of the past licensed out to a brand.

Futura (2000) is one of the few living legends who is a contemporary of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Fab-5 Freddy. He hit the East Village gallery scene hard in the 1970s and rose to fame. In the present decade, he dropped the "2000" from his name and is collaborating with brands like Levi's, Vans and Agnes B. to bring some old-school NYC culture to commercialism. His latest project is a small collection of watches with G-Shock. The band and collectible tin feature his signature orbs.

He is well-known for many of his music collaboration that includes a special Beats by Dre headphones design and work with The Clash. He even works with sports figures like LeBron James and a project designing graphics for Lance Armstrong's bicycle for the Tour de France (Futura was an ex-bike messenger and loves France).

When I was in design school, the fine artists and the fashion design students were worlds apart. Now, the two disciplines have a co-dependent relationship to give each other credibility. Marc Jacobs constantly works with edgy artists, even heritage brands like Louis Vuitton consistently seek out the most innovative artists to re-interpret their label.

I like that Futura is a home-grown, New York City artist still working downtown (the Q&A session above was right around some of his original galleries). He talked about his work, how it evolved and how "graffiti" now seemed to describe young artists and "street art" was attributed to established artists when it was really the same. He hinted at his next collaboration with a Canadian musical artist. His chill attitude was one of someone who had seen decades of culture change but still wasn't done with being creative. It will be interesting to see where his next body of work takes him.

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