Karlotta Freier x Hermès
On July 25 I got an E-mail from Hermès.
For a store opening in New York they were commissioning 6 local artists to interpret the storefront for Instagram. They needed the first ideas within a week and the final by September 6th. With the first email they also send along a short brief of work of mine they liked. I interpreted it as: they like cityscapes, objects and people, a touch of something magical. For a $2000 budget.
I often get excited about a visual idea first, that then that leads me through the project. In this case I was looking forward to drawing bright colors, inspired by the Hermès scarves, horses and exciting clothes on characters. I wanted to compose a very detailed image with many elements and sent along three sketches. Two of them I was very excited about, and a third I did last minute. I knew I could make the colorful fish or the group of animals look good, but unfortunately none of them were quite right.
They sent me another reference of my own work that had a feeling they were hoping to emulate. And they liked the idea with the floating scarves – the one sketch that I wasn’t that excited about.
That is something that happens to me so regularly that I have now made it a practice to not grieve over my favorite sketches for even one second. I pretend the job starts right that second and this new brief is the only one I ever got.
The new visual ideas that I am excited about are: folds in the scarves, colorful fabrics, horses, flowers. I researched flowers and plants that looked exciting to me and looked at a lot of Hermès fashion for the little people that interacted with the landscape. A nice thing about working with an art directors vision is that it leads me to leave my comfort zone and find new ideas and solutions. The jobs where I didn’t get to implement my favorite sketch often turn out to be the illustrations that I like the most.
The art director was happy with this direction. The only change that I got was to take out the little people. Then the art director went on vacation and I had a whole month to work on the finish. I mostly work in editorial, so I never have that much time. This particular month was one of the busiest of my whole life so far. I also know that my work doesn’t necessarily get better when I have a lot of time to overthink things. In the end I did the line work on one day and the color on the next day. It ended up being one of my favorite jobs.