Collaborations can occur in many weird and fantastic forms. The latest to catch our attention is between multimedia artist Cory Arcangel, and music merchandising company Bravado, a division of Universal Music Group. This collaboration caught our attention, because of its 1990’s inspired nostalgia. The project is entitled, “Arcangel Surfware” and is described on the website as "everything you need to chill in bed all day and surf the net".
The style is reminiscent of early 90’s surfing companies, complete with the yin-yang symbol, and rainbow color schemes. You can purchase bedding, sweatpants, iPhone covers, and music mixes. You can even purchase pamphlets that contain the source code of Cory’s previous 8-bit video game projects. In one project, Cory hacked Nintendo’s classic video game, Super Mario Bro’s and eliminated all images except the white clouds in the blue sky.
The website selling Arcangel Surfware looks like it’s straight out of 90’s era world wide web, or maybe like a site that was abandoned never taken down. The multicolored logo of Arcangel Surfwear contains simple emoji and even what appears to be comic sans font. Like the rest of Cory’s artwork, it’s an homage to an aesthetic anyone born after 1970 grew up alongside.
We wondered where Cory was headed with this lifestyle brand, or if he thought it was a success so far. He said the collaboration is, “…an experiment. Bravado usually works with musicians. And I usually work with galleries and museums. So, I would say, anything that takes on bit of un-charted territory like this is a success, or at least interesting.”
Cory himself was trained as a musician. He attended Ohio’s Oberlin Conservatory of Music and studied classical guitar. He shifted to conceptual art and, for the most part, his work has included the same sense of nostalgia that Arcangel Surfware contains. In the past Cory has appropriated Nintendo games, youtube videos, google ads, and even adobe photo shops to make pieces recognizable to Millennials, only remixed and repurposed.
Arcangel Surfware is a tangible realization of Cory’s ideas that aren’t always tangible. You can buy it, put it on, and spend all day looking at his work that you can’t feel, smell or touch. It’s priced at $39.95 to $399.95, which is cheap when it comes to artwork. Is it artwork, or is it a product? You can decide for yourself on Arcangel Surfware’s webiste. Head on over to Cory’s blog to see his past work, or if you’re in Denmark now through September, you can see an exhibition of Cory’s new work in Herning Museum of Contemporary Art.