• Main

    Rob Ryan: Eastpak Artist Studio (detail)

Art

Art: Rob Ryan evokes his schooldays with his Eastpak Artist Studio creation

Posted by Rob Alderson,

For the third year running Eastpak has challenged 56 artists across 14 countries to rethink, reimagine and reappropriate a blank backpack and once again the results are fascinatingly diverse and excitingly creative. On the more straightforward end of the spectrum there are designs which play with colour and texture to put the designer’s unique stamp on this unusual canvas; at the other there are those who have turned the bag into something else entirely; rocks, a giant insect, a birdcage.

London-based artist Rob Ryan was one of those who took part in this project, and his certain is a sheer lack bag with various embroidered elements including flowers and the archetypal Ryan-esque phrase “Don’t follow me because I’m absolutely lost.” exploring these kind of gently existential questions is Rob’s stock-in-trade, but speaking to It’s Nice That at the Eastpak Artist Studio launch in Antwerp last week, he admitted that the visual treatment came from a very different wellspring of ideas.

“When I was growing up everybody used to have these bags and the’d have the names of the bands they liked sewn onto them. Even if they were really into heavy metal, they’d still have Black Sabbath or something stitched into this rucksacks. I think it was probably their mums who sewed the names in; it was all a bit weird!” This got him thinking about the nature of embroidery and how its homely, crafty look and feel can be used to juxtapose with very different kinds of sentiment; such as the quietly sad admission of being lost which plays out here.

Once Rob sketched out the ideas, his assistants set about turning his creation into the finished bag; due he admits to his limited skills with a needle and thread. But actually there’s still a rough, homemade quality to the final bag which evokes memories of the school playground, when the first desperate attempts of creating sense of self revolved around such seemingly simple factors as which band your mum stitched into your rucksack.

The limited edition bags go on sale this morning and the proceeds go to the Designers Against Aids charity.

  • Rob_ryan_front_mr

    Rob Ryan: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Rob_ryan_detail_1_mr

    Rob Ryan: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Main

    Nepco: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Joseph_turvey_2-front_mr

    Joseph Turvey: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Simeon_farrar_front_mr

    Simeon Farrar: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Sylvain_aubert-01

    Sylvain Aubert: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Pansik-01

    Pansik: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • David_gouny-01

    David Gouny: Eastpak Artist Studio

  • Sharmadean_reid_front_mr

    Sharamdean Reid: Eastpak Artist Studio

Ra

Posted by Rob Alderson

Editor-in-Chief Rob oversees editorial across all three It’s Nice That platforms; online, print and events. He has a background in newspaper journalism and a particular interest in art, advertising and photography. He is the main host of the Studio Audience podcast.

Most Recent: Art View Archive

  1. List

    Swedish creative Henrik Franklin is a designer, illustrator and animator with two of the world’s leading design schools (Konstfack in Sweden and Rhode Island School of Design) sparkling on his CV. Invited to showcase his considerable talents in Anna Lidberg’s Gallery 1:10 – “the miniature gallery for contemporary art” – Henrik produced a table of tiny tomes and the attention-to-detail on each cover design is really impressive.

  2. Main

    Victoria Siddall has worked at Frieze for just over a decade and two years ago was made Director of Frieze Masters. Excitingly, just a few weeks ago she was appointed Director of Frieze Masters, Frieze New York and Frieze London. As well as being one of the most powerful women in the art world, Victoria is also my sister, so I was curious to find out how she’s feeling on the dawn of her new career.

  3. List

    The Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern has an incredible presence when it’s void of installations, which is what’s so wonderful about the huge enclosed space. As much as I admire the vast emptiness though, it’s even more exciting when a piece of work is placed in the hall and interrupts the vacuum. Opening today, American sculptor Richard Tuttle is the latest commissioned artist to show his work in the space and his 24ft sculpture certainly makes an impact.

  4. Main2

    I came across the work of Matthias Geisler over on Booooooom the other day and was reminded that we hadn’t posted something like this in a while. Matthias’ work is a swirling blend of spirits and creatures that are created with meticulous use of pencil crayons and water-colours. Is it me or are watercolours real in at the moment? All the cool kids seem to be using them.

  5. 8

    A kind of magic happens when Seth Armstrong puts brush to canvas. Having only been familiar with his work for the Mr Porter Journal, I became instantly bewitched by his paintings when clicking through his website.

  6. List

    Whatever the some naysayers may claim there is an art to collage and not everyone can do it, despite how good you think your teenage collages of cut-out red lips, Leonardo DiCaprio and puppies were. Anthony Zinonos is the perfect example of this, having featured on the site previously he’s updated his portfolio with some really cool bits and bobs.

  7. List

    There’s something very fun and raw about Jessica Hans’ vases and her approach to ceramics in general. Based in Philadelphia, she’s had a longstanding interest in foraging and raw materials since university; this has carried over into her ceramics work, which in the past has seen her driving to clay sites, digging her materials out of the ground and then firing them in their original state to see what would happen.

  8. Listt

    “To be an artist and for anyone to care vaguely about what you do is a great thing,” says street artist Moose in this fascinating new Nissan campaign, but his work is more important than most. As the inventor of reverse graffiti – whereby he uses a high-powered pressure washer to stencil imagery in the dirt that accumulates in our cities – Moose’s work asks questions about our attitudes to pollution in a very creative way.

  9. List

    To stare into a Danny Fox painting is like waking up in a world written by Charles Bukowski on a particularly heavy bender. There’s sex and drinking and guns, plus boxers and strippers and cowboys; here a horse, there a tiger. It’s intense and unnerving and exciting, but although there’s something very contemporary about Danny’s paintings, his rise to prominence owes a great deal to the support of a more well-established artist (an age-old route for up-and-coming artistic stars).

  10. Listjmp_cg_house_float_10

    Heads are turning in Covent Garden this morning, and they’re not just looking at the usual street performers – they’re gawping at a levitating building. Master of illusions Alex Chinneck’s latest mind-boggling public art installation is on show in what must surely be the spiritual home of his craft; one of the busiest piazzas in London and its theatrical hub. His floating building follows on from a sliding house, upside down house and many other puzzling optical illusions.

  11. List

    Back in 2013 designers Jessica Walsh and Timothy Goodman launched 40 Days of Dating, where they entered into a seven week relationship with each other to explore the world of romance from a creative perspective.

  12. Main

    Switzerland-based artist Pascale Keung makes delightfully diverse work which is inspired by her chosen country’s stunning natural landscape as often as it is by wild fantasies. This series Muttsee is an example of the former, a collection of images about “a very special place in the Alps of Switzerland” where she goes to fish with her friends from time to time.

  13. List

    Anna Burns is a set designer with a taste for the ambitious. Who could forget her work with Thomas Brown where they created B-Movie inspired installations out of flammable umbrellas? For her latest work Anna has collaborated with Michael Bodiam on a series inspired by nuclear catastrophe and our contradictory attitudes towards it – apocalyptic fear on the one hand and weird fascination on the other.