We caught up with artist and Effen Vodka collaborator, Lola Blu, to discuss her custom bottle and this year’s Art Basel.
Born and raised in Miami, Lola always had a love for all things music and art. In high school, she started drawing on her own drum kits, which eventually led to a career of collaborating with artists such as Bruno Mars, Quest Love, and Adrian Young in which her artwork showed up on concert stages around the country. As no stranger to creating beautiful art on unconventional canvases, Lola has also showcased her work on vehicles, furniture, yachts, and now, vodka bottles with her current partnership with Effen, which will be featured at this year’s Art Basel.
Here, she tells us what why she was excited to work with Effen and inspired her design.
You’re a creative director, fashion photographer, musician, and artist. Out of these four roles, which would you say you enjoy the most? Lola Blu: I definitely feel like they intertwine with each other. If I’m painting, I need to have music blasting, or if I’m playing music, I’m almost thinking about it visually. So music and art I would say are the same wavelengths for me, it’s the same vibe. One helps the other, so it’s not one more than the other; they are both just my passions and my loves.
I know you are no stranger to creating art on unconventional canvases, but what attracted you to the opportunity to collaborate with Effen? LB: The bottle. The plain, white, carte blanche bottle just spoke to me, and the typography of the fonts of the logo were so geometrically pleasing—so aesthetically pleasing—I just thought it would be really cool. I already saw my art on it.
Effen’s new campaign is called ‘Different by Design’. What does that theme mean to you? LB: Every piece that I make has to be one of one, I don’t really recreate pieces, so different by design is kind of like that. We’re all different, we’re all unique—every artist, every person, every human—so that bottle just speaks to you in a way that you can create whatever your imagination wants. I think it’s just being different, being unique, and being a one of one, [because] we are all one of one.
I read you have a background in advertising. Do you feel that knowledge helps you approach collaborating with a brand in a different way than other artists would? LB: Yeah, having a degree in advertising, journalism, and mass communications, I kind of take on every project like I would a campaign. I see the whole thing from a-to-z, I know where to take a brand. I see the whole branding and I’m able to take my art and incorporate it into branding a little different just because I have the understanding behind it.
Your bottle for Effen features your distinct, abstract style. What inspired this design? LB: Everything that I do is kind of a stream of consciousness you could say, I just kind of go with. So I’ll look at the bottle and say okay I have from this size to this size, and there’s a lot of the characters that I kind of continue to use for branding purposes, they are just mainly my characters that are best identified.
I saw you had the chance to showcase your design for Effen at Art Walk Miami. How was that? And did it get you excited for the upcoming Art Basel? LB: Definitely. Especially being born and raised in Miami, it’s nice to see the whole movement of art in Miami since then. I saw Art Walk when it just started way in the beginning, and Wynwood when it was just starting, so it was nice to see from where I started in art and how I’ve kind of caught up right now with Art Walk. And being this is my fourth Art Basel, it was really fun. I had a great time—it was an experience.
What are you most looking forward to most during this year’s Art Basel? LB: Its always fun to do a mural. I think with every white wall that you see, it’s a new adventure, there’s a new journey with every wall. So, I’m probably the happiest about getting the mural and that kind of thing, but also showing a couple of my instruments. I don’t know how we’re going to incorporate that yet, but I have a few instruments that I worked on directly for Art Basel, so I’m looking forward to [showing] some of my pieces in front of my mural. I don’t know how logistically that’s all going to happen, but I know Miami we tend to do one thing at a time, when we’re dealing with it, so I’m just ready
You’ve worked with tons of brands, artists, and musicians in the past. What would be your dream collaboration for your next project? LB: The two top people that I do want to collaborate with are Gwen Stefani and Pharrell [Williams]—I feel I’m most inspired by them. Musically, No Doubt was the first album I ever played drums to, and then just kind of growing up with Gwen Stefani as that visual representation of this is what you can do and what you can be—a badass. And Pharrell Williams, everything that he touches is like gold and I love how he puts everything together—he ties music and art together. So, that’s the two dream collaborations I would have.