The Growing Alliance of Urban Artists with Brands

The link between art and advertising is not a novelty or a trend, it is an action that if done strategically and perfectly executed, can change the destiny of a brand.

The collaboration of brand and artist is nothing new, previously dominated by partnerships with musical artists and notable celebrities. But in an effort to tap into new markets of expression and style, brands have begun calling on urban artists for inspiration and to electrify product launches.

The link between art and advertising is not a novelty or a trend, it is an action that if done strategically and perfectly executed, can change the destiny of a brand. The impact of urban artists in branding art has surpassed any marketing campaign. The freshness and diversity of their art have brought brands closer to viewers in a more human way, becoming icons of the new modernity.

Kaws & Medicom Toy

Born in New Jersey in 1974, his real name is Brian Donnelly. He spent his adolescence leaving his mark on the walls of his hometown and New York. In the streets Bendy was born, a snake-bodied character with crossed-out eyes, whose destiny was to surround the body of Kate Moss in a Calvin Klein campaign. Since then, the artist has collaborated with brands such as Guess, Calvin Klein, Adidas, Supreme, and Armani.

In 2006, the alliance with the Japan-based toy store Medicom Toy was a milestone in his career. They created “Original Fake”, a brand that markets the vinyl figures designed by Kaws, as well as illustrations, accessories, stickers, prints, and clothing. His popularity has grown after intervening characters such as Pinocchio, Astro Boy, Micky Mouse, Snoopy, and The Simpsons, series in which he worked in his beginnings as a background creator.

Felipe Pantone & DC Shoes

The Argentine-Spanish artist started doing graffiti at the age of 12 and graduated in Fine Arts. Pantone's work deals with dynamism, transformation, omnipresence, and themes related to current times. His art is closely linked to muralism but he has also produced installations under the same aesthetic with references to glitch and digital culture. 

Pantone's first major collaboration with brands was with DC Shoes when the brand decided to pay homage to the skating segment and urban culture with DC Shoes x Ken Block (co-founder of the brand). The collection is made with the color patterns and structures characteristic of Pantone's artwork from the original piece he created for one of Ken Block's car races, named Hoonigan Racing.

Vhils & Hennessy

The artist, born in Portugal and follower of Mexican exponents such as Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Dr. Lakra, and Sainer, has managed to tell life stories and tales of a city through his murals. In 2018, he collaborated with Hennessy for the annual Limited Edition collection of the renowned cognac. His signature style is present in the design with impetuous lines and pronounced textures. 

His goal was to capture different musicians, artists, and other activists working to promote creativity in their communities, making the project very personal for Vhils. The artist is faithful to his style and ideals, as he accepted the project with Hennessy under the terms that they would respect his creative philosophy.

Since the emergence of Banksy, brands have found in urban artists an unexpected and surprising way to reach a customer already saturated with advertising. We could say that the reason is the aesthetics of the ordinary and the social message that many artists promote. They deliver a powerful visual statement, leaving a positive impact on their subconscious, such as trust, and reinforcing the purposes of the advertising brand.

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