New Zealand’s premier international showcase for contemporary art, Auckland Art Fair (AAF), returns for 2018 with one of our most loved luxury designers in tow, Deadly Ponies.
Guests for the coming Fair can expect the same – if not higher – level of world-class artwork on offer, and, unlike previous years, exposure to the Fair’s latest initiative – Piki Mai: Up Here^^. Fostering the talent of emerging young artists from Universities in New Zealand, Australia and China, the space will host an exclusive number of galleries for guests to gather a ‘snapshot’ of what could appear in future international exhibitions as the artists progress in their careers; an initiative that is sponsored by luxury handbag designer, Deadly Ponies.
Off the back of Deadly Ponies debut appearance at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia 2018 where they revealed their Resort ’19 collection entitled ‘Devotees’, the decadent scarves that have become synonymous with the brand’s artisanal quality and luxury appear reimagined like never before.
FQ chats to Deadly Ponies’ Liam Bowden about what’s going down this Auckland Art Fair:
FQ: What’s Deadly Ponies involvement with the Auckland Art Fair this year?
Liam Bowden: Deadly Ponies are sponsoring the Piki Mai: Up Here^^ space on the mezzanine level of the Auckland Art Fair, which celebrates emerging artists from New Zealand, Australia and China. As part of the Art Fair’s ‘Projects’ for 2018, we have commissioned emerging artist, Hannah Valentine, to create a piece for Deadly Ponies which will be on display at the Art Fair. Hannah was chosen from a number of young artists’ submissions as her work resonated with us personally. We will retain Hannah’s work after the Fair for our private collection.
We have also chosen the Auckland Art Fair to launch our new scarf collection, Silks ’18. Our scarves are a part of our seasonal collections that are gaining more and more popularity, so we have designed a far greater range of scarves and we will introduce a new, thinner design called a ‘Bridle’ which is used to accessorise your Deadly Ponies bag. We love using the Art Fair as an opportunity to showcase all of our artistic prints in an environment that celebrates art.
What made you want to get involved with the Art Fair?
We wanted to support the Auckland Art Fair as we have always used artistic references within our work and we take a lot of inspiration from the art world. It felt like an easy, natural progression to be working with the Auckland Art Fair and to create an installation within it.
From a personal perspective, within our office, and at my home, we have a growing collection of art, so to be able to celebrate Deadly Ponies accessories in an authentic art environment was an exciting opportunity for us.
We love using the Art Fair as an opportunity to showcase all of our artistic prints in an environment that celebrates art.
Why should someone get along to the Auckland Art Fair and check it out?
It is a fantastic opportunity to see a range of art in one space. It has almost been curated for you, getting snippets of a whole range of diverse artists, at different price points, especially if you are looking to buy. It is an easy way to know what your art tastes are and which pieces stand out to you.
Tell us more about these scarves!
At the Art Fair we are launching our largest-ever scarf collection, Silks ’18. We have dabbled in scarves for a few seasons, and we’ve been really pleased with how our customers have responded to them so we thought it was time to make them a strong collection in their own right. For this collection, we are bringing our archival prints back in new colourways, sizes and fabrications, alongside a few new prints and designs. This will be an ongoing product category for us which we are proud to be launching at the Auckland Art Fair.
Why have you chosen the Art Fair as the place to launch this collection?
I have always thought of scarves as a kind of fashion canvas, which is why the scarves have often resembled works of art themselves. Some of our customers buy the scarves and frame them for their walls. With this in mind and our long history of working with and being inspired by artists from around the world, what better place to launch Silks ’18 than at the Auckland Art Fair.
Tell us more about the art you have commissioned from Hannah Valentine.
We’ve commissioned a piece from Hannah Valentine. We did this to create a 360 approach to sponsoring the Art Fair’s Piki Mai: Up Here^^ section. We wanted to help support a group of emerging artists, but also use the resources we have, to help one individual artist a bit more intensely. Hannah submitted a commission to us which we loved, and then we commissioned her to create a separate piece of work for the Fair. The piece will be an ongoing piece of work from her graduate collection, ‘Art and physicality: on the body in the age of hyper-industralism’ which investigates the form and the body, in the way that objects and things interact with that. It is very colourful, dynamic and playful which really drew us to the work.
You’ve had a long-standing interest in local artists – can you talk us through some of your previous collections in which you have celebrated NZ artists? Why is this important for you to do as a brand and as a creative director?
We often take inspiration from the creative things we see around us and obviously a lot of those inspirations have come from local artists. Our most celebrated collaboration was with the Len Lye Foundation in 2015, using Len Lye’s old video works to create stills that we then printed and hand painted on to leather. Often, we will reference artists in our collections by way of our colour palettes, shapes, and to draw inspiration. As a brand, we choose to create this way so we can talk about an idea, rather than just a product we are selling. The key driver is getting people to think about our products as an idea or as a concept – something to take away with them mentally to ponder over, engaging that creative conversation.