The fashion industry spends over $500 billion per year on advertising. From high-end to low-end, each brand has one ultimate message: Buy. The present reality of consumer culture is quite ambiguous thanks to us (the Internet-loving, curious and connected generation). The obsession of celebrity culture, the structure of social acceptance, and the constant refresh of information is ever-present on fashion advertisements featuring Rihanna, Kendall Jenner and Justin Bieber. This advertisement method has transformed the idea of luxury, the brand experience and has inspired these 5 artists’ visual conversation of originality and ownership.
Doug Abraham, KATSU, Kalen Hollomon, Michael De Feo and Richard Prince have reinvented the fashion campaign experience. Expressive authenticity within editorial campaigns is questioned and translated through these individuals’ attention to today’s prominent fashion advertisements. This shared idea is, however, expressed in various artistic ways:
Doug Abraham, better and widely-known by his Instagram name (bessnyc4), is a priest within the Internet-art hemisphere of visceral and visual commentary. With a focus on popular culture and fashion, Abraham re-appropriates brand iconography and fuses it with images of bondage, horror and porn. Take the project he collaborated on for luxury retailer, Barney’s, for their first Instagram look book for Givenchy’s Spring 2016 collection. Abraham used his signature digital collage creating a provocative image of restraint thus altering the reality of commercialism.
Abraham has worked with the likes of Marc Jacobs and created several campaigns for brands such as Adidas and Calvin Klein. With a growing 150,000 followers on Instagram, the artist is quite simple in approach and has an untraditional notion of ownership. “I think all the brands love seeing their imagery manipulated in this way,” he told Dazed & Confused. “I think it’s because they are bored! They want constant visual stimulation and inspiration. It definitely has quickly positioned me as someone they look to make images for fashion. It’s how fashion works, to be considered legit, you have to be put on the radar by people the industry considers legit.”
Graffiti art meets science with artist KATSU. KATSU shocked us all with his 3D printing crack cocaine and then took it a step further with his virtual reality of defacing the White House. But the artist ventured into a new scale and distance when he vandalized the Houston Street Calvin Klein billboard with a drone containing spray paint. The billboard, featuring model and the internet’s “it girl” Kendall Jenner was so much more than the artists’ canvas; it was a statement of how media intertwines with the desire to consume content and how deep the connection of Internet culture truly is.
KATSU has used the drone tool prior to this for an exhibition at The Hole Gallery
in New York City. “I think the drone is a fun question about whether artificial intelligence would value the exploration of artistic expression just as much as it would a replication of science,” he told i-D Magazine.
Limitless reality is the name of the game for Kalen Hollomon. The conceptual artists explores human perception and awareness through his mixed media works which include video, collaging and re-imaging. The artist beautifully disrupts the world of the fashion industry through unconventional visuals such as a New York police officer holding a Céline bag or the inception of a fashion campaign into a natural environment like a subway station. In 2014, Vogue commissioned Holloman during Paris Fashion Week to transform the reality of the runway to New York settings for their Instagram profile. With images of Alexander McQueen and Comme Des Garcons, Hollomon photographed models superimposed into the Boardwalk Empire and the Savage garden.
Hollomon juxtaposes moments of luxury, consumerism and culture. His notion goes beyond fashion—it incorporates all realms of existence. View more of his work on his Instagram, (@kalen_hollomon)
Michael De Feo
“The Flower Guy” is what he calls himself, and how his social media following and fans refer to this blossoming artist. Michael De Feo has created illegal works in more than 60 international cities including New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Hong Kong. He is best known for his iconic flower image that has repeatedly popped up on bus stop advertisements, business architecture and most prominent, his takeover of fashion campaigns. Literally, De Feo takes over fashion advertisements with his floral images. His work blurs the line of illegal interventions and sponsored partnerships and has graced the covers of New York Magazine, The New York Times and The London Sunday Times. In 2016, he collaborated with Neiman Marcus for “The Book” catalog and influenced a campaign for Christian Louboutin. Currently, he has a line of women’s accessories entitled “Michael De Feo for Echo” available at Bloomingdale’s, Lord & Taylor and other luxury retailers.
He will be showing works at the Danziger Gallery from July 13, 2016 until August 12, 2016.
Richard Prince, an artist who got his start in the 1970s, has driven conversation about art, originality and ownership in the digital age through his photographic work. In 1970, Prince worked in the tear sheet department at Time Life, where he clipped editorials for staff writers. He grew inspired to assembles the images he saw daily and rephotograph them which redefined the rules of art. Known for appropriation, Prince manipulated artitifical advertising images of the public domain to create a subtle modified but extensively transformed replica of the original.
His past exhibition at the Nahmad Contemporary art gallery titled Richard Prince: Fashion showcased close-up, glamorous profile images of models with their vision somehow obstructed calling attention to society’s unfortunate involvement to the accepted conventions of gender roles and consumer society.