For their latest campaign in celebration of the MY MARS collection, the South Korean eyewear brand handed the reins over to London-based artist Matthew Stone, with spectacular results. Stone’s unique process combines traditional painting techniques with digital techniques, deploying colorful and free-flowing brushstrokes which are digitally manipulated and distorted.
For the Gentle Monster campaign, he created a series of digital installations which astoundingly manage to combine the pure presence of light and color that characterizes painting with the three-dimensionality and motion of sculpture. Digitally de- and re-constructed figures, nude except for sunglasses and swathes of paint, recline statuesque amid abstract forms of color and shape. The sense of embodiment is emphasized in brief snippets of film which zoom dramatically in and out of the installation, engaging the viewer with a sense of inward motion, and challenging the desire to attempt to fit the piece into one medium or category.
The human, physical, and digital elements of the work combine to form something that feels entirely unique. Yet while these figures seem strangely superhuman, there is an intimacy and urgency that connects to something deeply human. It is difficult to name a particular emotion that the pieces evoke, but they certainly stir up something deep within the human spirit. This strange external reality reveals an internal reality.
That Gentle Monster gave Stone the freedom to manipulate and colorfully reimagine their pieces feels important, and speaks to an honest appreciation of collaboration and artistic expression. A brand that famously has six people design its sunglasses and sixty people design its store visuals indubitably understands the power of the image it portrays and the importance of the projects it supports. This is their best one yet.