KICKING OFF ART WEEK, TOD’S COMMISSIONS ARTIST WILLIE COLE TO CREATE SCULPTURES AS A CELEBRATION OF ITS SUSTAINABLY-FOCUSED CAPSULE COLLECTION.
With a dedication to creating a deeper meaning for the coalescence of the environment and luxury goods, Italian fashion house Tod’s (@tods) launches its latest Mosaic collection — a limited-edition capsule collection of sustainably-focused handbags and accessories.
While all pieces in the collection are crafted with unused leather, the iconic brand known for timeless elegance commissions artist Willie Cole (@williecoleart) to create artwork birthed from the same upcycled materials used in the collection’s production. Known for creating three-dimensional art pieces from existing materials, Willie Cole dispatches a unique lineup of sculptures made from Tod’s leather to be on view throughout the week of Art Basel.
“I always think of minimizing the amount of waste and excess in the world. I try to communicate that through my art, as an educational tool to anybody who sees my work,” says Cole. Utilizing a rare technique titled ARTCYCLING, the artist collaborates with Tod’s artisans to create masterpieces that embody the sustainable values of the label and the Mosaic collection itself. “It never occurred to me that [Tod’s] shoes are made by hand, so it’s not mass-produced,” continues Cole. “Even though they made an abundance of them, they are carefully crafted by hand, just like my art.”
In a proper debut, the luxury label alongside Willie Cole will host an intimate dinner at Forte Dei Marmi on November 28th. In preparation for the grand debut of both the Mosaic collection and the sculptures, we chat with the artist as he touches on the collaboration, his creative process and the meaning behind his work.
Aside from using recycled Tod's leather, how do the sculptures you've created represent the label?
Both Tod's and I share an aesthetic based on a timeless international design. Tod's signature moccasin communicates this as much as the mandala-like tabletop I created from them.
How does it represent Tod's Mosaic collection specifically?
Mosaic refers to the geometry or repetition of patterns to create something new. My pieces exploit this to the max by using a single Tod's product in repetition to create works of art.
What was your creative process?
Time was a critical factor. It was like being a jazz musician performing a spontaneously improvised solo. "Playing" might be a simpler description. I only had ten days, so I just jumped in.
Can you expand on the concept of 'ARTCYCLING'?
ARTCYCLING is a higher form of repurposing or recycling that presents everyday objects in a post-manufacturing, post-use state. Think of it as the reincarnation of detritus or the afterlife of things.