Saturday night, Scion’s art space in Culver City debuted it’s second show focusing on design as art: USE ME, curated by Yuri Psinakis. The focus of the show, like A Product Of Design, are products as art. While the last show was more focused on sharing products by artists who were simultaneously making their art business, USE ME focuses on artists who have created works for brands and inspired by brands, seeking to make things that are cooler than what the brands could have ever imagined. We were unable to make it to the opening of the show, but we stopped in last Friday to speak with the show’s curator and snap some photos of the show before it opened.
Yuri gave us a tour of the showroom which, at 12PM the day before, was coming together quite nicely for the show’s debut. There were a few shelves that were waiting to get hung up and pieces still in boxes, but the general idea of the show was mapped out. Yuri, who is an artist and curator based in San Francisco and Manila, has worked with Scion before when he curated their NeoPlural show five years ago. In this show, he explained that–like the Scion brand–he wanted to explore the idea of opposites in every form of the sense. From juxtaposing items used for mountain sports with items used for beach sports to handmade luxury fashion bags placed next to repurposed heavy metal concert t-shirts, the show plays with these constructs easily.
Similarly, a large element of the show was to share works done by the artists who are not large, mega-corporations giving answers to these large brands by things they should be doing. For example, the woven Louis Vuitton bag above was not made by LV but rather was a product of Filipino artist Eneri Abillar taking two bags and weaving them together to create a completely new product. Is this bag to be considered a real LV bag? Is this new bag to be completely disassociated with LV? What if the LV bags were actually knock offs–how does that affect the value of this new product? What if LV knocks off the artist and creates this bag? The questions are endless and the opportunities are amazing, for both artists and brands. Food for thought.
To further that point, Abillar took a Rolex, deconstructed it, and painted it a flat grey, making the priceless watch a new, non-Rolex piece of art of his own. As we spoke with Yuri about, this is something that is happening a lot now. Like the LV bag, knock-off watches and bags and other items are being remade by the same manufacturers who simply don’t work at the same factory anymore. Artists are also doing the same thing, which has inspired these luxury brands to borrow from them. For example, Rolex now offers their Submariner in matte black, which was not their idea. The watch was actually first created by third parties like Black Limited Edition and Bamford Watch Department, companies that were the first ones customizing the Rolexes to be matte black in recent days. Abillar’s watch is in a way tribute to that and commentary on the system. Perhaps Rolex will release a matte grey faced watch? Time will tell. A of the artists have done similar things at the show that are answers to brand’s unsolicited question of, “What cool thing do customers want?”
USE ME at the Scion gallery is a great show that features products by artists and craftsmen that are of great ability and talent. Drawing from a talent pool from California and the Pacific Rim (namely, the Philippines), the show is an excellent display of people whose work you will definitely see soon featured with major brands. The show runs through November 12, running for just about a month.