Will.i.am’s eyewear label ill.i has partnered with American CGI artist Jim Kazanjian to produce a surrealist campaign set in the year 2208. Presented in the form of a futuristic zine, it will run with a limited amount of 500 copies and is now available around the world in selected hotels and stores.
The zine was designed in-house by the ill.i creative team and features a collection of interviews, articles and imagery. Will.i.am first launched his eyewear label in 2014, with the intention to “re-imagine timeless silhouettes with a progressive approach,” the company says. “The contemporary aesthetic makes a definitive point of being past, present and future…ill.i is also a platform that uses eyewear design as a blank canvas to draw parallels between the many disciplines of art, creativity and music.”
From this ethos, Graz Mulcahy, designer and creative director, took the 2208 project under his wing and knew from the off-set that Jim would be the an ideal match to produce the visuals. “I wanted to create a future world that feels sincere and relatable, a type of realistic fantasy without aliens or dystopian demise. A glimpse of where humanity may lead us that feels absurdly normal,” says Graz. “I’ve been a fan of Jim’s work for many years, his use of photographic material and the unique way in which he plays with perspective and time triggered my imagination for such a world…It was the perfect type of visual representation to bring the future to life.”
Jim has worked professionally as a commercial CGI artist for the past 19 years and has collaborated with various clients, including Nike, Adidas, NBC, CBS, HBO, NASA, HP Intel and many others. His artistic method and means of approaching the brief stemmed from this wide background and experience in the field. “My method of construction has an improvisational and random quality to it, since it is largely driven by the source material I have available,” says Jim. “I think of the work as a type of mutation which can haphazardly spawn in numerous and unpredictable directions.”
“My images are built like a collage; I piece together samples from photographs and combine them in Photoshop,” Jim explains. “I have a fairly large archive to pull material from. Most of my ideas come from arranging and organising elements pulled from these photos. What attracts me most to this technique is the process of discovery. I am never quite sure what the final image will be.”
By blurring the line between reality and non reality, Jim’s imagery interprets what an apocalyptic future may look like where everyone is wearing ill.i eyewear. The overall result is compelling with dream-like landscapes, fictional architecture and reconstructed cities that depicts a future vision of what the world could transform into in a post-technology age.
The whole project focuses entirely on the future and aims to “transport” its viewers into a “single snapshot of time,” Graz explains. “It’s a point in time that is within the border of the imaginable, and beyond the border of the predictable. Close enough in time that the materials and structures of our society today would plausibly be intact, and far away enough to not assume how they will function and how the system will change.”
The zine “plays into the concept of familiar and tangible objects of today,” says Graz. “However, it is also likely that it would be an artefact by 2208, therefore it may become valuable and bridge the consciousness between the two time periods.”
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