A Brand new world

On your trade mark, get set, go.

Brands. It is a cliche to say that they rule the world... They are omnipresent, and some claim that they are also omnipotent. They infiltrate the communities, and become the icons of some cultures. What would be the US without Coke, McDonald's or Levi's for instance?

Interestingly enough, whilst some like
Naomi Klein would prefer a world with No Logo, some artists have decided to use them, to hack them. From dust to dust, from brands to art...

Shanghai-based artist Chen Hang Feng for instance. This creative dye-cutter makes intricate paper artworks which subtly blend traditional Chinese heritage and modern brand hijack. This video, found on inspiring website Cool Hunting, follows the Artist on a paper-finding walk while exchanging about his work:

The revenge of the copycat.

By mixing and manipulating corporate logos and traditional symbols, the artist is also casting a peculiar, and certainly ironic, look at his own country. As a matter of fact, Greater China has been for several years now the centre of gravity for counterfeiters. Before them, the Baby Tigers and their predecessors, the Dragons, were standing in the spotlight. And even before them Japan, which in the late 60s was renowned for the "tourist trips" in industrial countries during which the frantic photographers were bringing back more than simple post cards memories...

And yet, copying may lead you to success. Look at the above mentioned countries, they accelerated their growth and industrialisation thanks to the anticipated learning curve. You can indeed learn from your predecessors mistakes and glories... This is why art students are copying over and over classic master pieces.

A hint of Asian flavour in French design?

The French design scene has its own recent example on how breaking trademarks through creativity can help you raise your profile. Young designer tycoon, Ora-Ito, managed to break the mould and impose his name on the market via such practices. As you can read in this very well-documented article published in Business Week, the son of jewel designer Morabito is getting today's lion's share thanks to the Louis Vuitton fuzzball table or the camouflage iBook which were presented in international design magazines as if commissioned. They were not, but the generated interest from the public forced the hijacked brands to forget their plans of legal actions, and to have a look at the intrinsic talent of this gifted creative soul.
Inspired? Maybe after all there is something good in this counterfeiting. Obviously I am not directly encouraging corporation to disavow their intellectual properties, but in an era of Creative Commons, and consumer generated content would not it be interesting to channel this creativity, to encourage the crowd in owning their beloved brands and bringing them to new stages? To bind them to other alien culture without replicating existing patterns? In any case, this could mean surfing on a very strong and current trend... So as they say on the West Coast, hang loose dude!

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