Can art make you happy? Through his work, Jeremy Ville is at least trying. His art is taking over the fashion world with positive images, life-loving slogans and colorful drawings. Megan Mair, photographer, designer and creative director of Studio Jeremyville, is a producer of various art, fashion and brand collaborations around the world. She talked to Katherine Kowalewski about art, fashion and their latest Colette collaboration.
Can you introduce Studio Jeremyville to us?
Studio Jeremyville is a team of creatives brought together locally and internationally to provide the most efficient and impactful medium, or creative solution, that will express an idea in the most original and memorable way possible. The medium, or creative expression, is open, whether it's a public art installation of giant sculptures, an art exhibit or a fashion brand collaboration, we aim to connect with people in a meaningful and memorable way. To tell a story. To engage. To entertain. To bring something touching, evocative and thought provoking into the everyday.
Jeremyville’s art always has a positive vibe and a motivating message. What is your philosophy, your life mantra?
We created the artwork series, Jeremyville Community Service Announcements, with the simple aim of exploring such concepts as self-empowerment, personal growth, human virtue, love, loss, and what it means to be human, through simple imagery and words. We want each message to be a quiet moment in our day, something simple to relate to or feel good about, and make life a bit happier and thoughtful. It's important to take time to reflect, contemplate, and enter into our own thoughts, like reading a haiku poem or listening to an acoustic guitar played by a campfire. Through these artworks; we try to create this feeling of introspection during our busy day.
You also started collaborating on a book with Paris’ favorite cult store, Colette—tell us more.
Sarah from Colette has been a great supporter of our work and creativity over the years. We've done several projects together, including most recently a 150-piece art show. Karl Lagerfeld showed up and purchased several editions, and we also did a live art installation in the shop windows with daily drawings by Jeremyville over six days, plus many different product and brand collaborations. We also created a beautiful art mural and restaurant designs for the Water Bar in Paris. The project’s journey has been captured in our recent book entitled Jeremyville at Colette, which launched this summer. It’s available at Colette and on our online store.
You’re a fashionista—what are your favorite shoe and handbag brands?
I live and work in New York City and frequently travel to Europe. I prefer easy walking shoes for day, whether it's Adidas sneakers or my Aquazzura flats. For social events I switch to fun heels—my current favorites are by Loeffler Randall, Tabitha Simmons or Sophia Webster if it's an art opening. Handbags follow the same fashion philosophy: I love bags that are practical and playful; my favorites are Anya Hindmarch for her clutches and purses, YSL totes to hold my portable office, and for evening it's Chloé for a classic look, or Gucci for a playful statement.
As a creative couple, how do you work together?
We have a great work-life balance that enables us to focus on the day-to-day business of the studio, and at the same time we also know it's necessary to switch off to get some downtime. I started my career as an art director working with corporate and fashion brands, and in my downtime I take photographs, paint and draw. While we're equally strategic, creative and business-minded, we've chosen our roles so as to complement each other in the studio. I like to plan and drive our creative and collaboration projects, working with the client on the creative and business side and working closely with Jeremy to realize the art, design and creative. It's a perfect balance and harmony within a working relationship.
What can we expect in the future from your studio?
We're developing new product launches for the brand, including collectable accessories, apparel and special art editions. These will be available at our online store and select boutiques, including Colette and Corso Como. For anyone travelling to Asia during July, we'll be exhibiting a new series of sculptures at special destinations. Also, this summer we're off to Europe and will take our camera and sketchbooks to capture unique places and inspirational people, which will end up in a book.
What is the inspiration behind your art? Do you admire other artists?
Each project we produce contains the DNA of our overall stance, but the medium can definitely change—from small drawings, large-scale installation sculptures, fashion collaborations and publishing, to an animation series, public art, fine art museum work, murals and documentary work. We don’t limit ourselves in any way. We are open to any form of creative expression, and we love taking on projects we've never tried before. But everything inevitably comes from a place called Jeremyville.
Inspiration comes from many areas, whether it's art, music, a conversation or a delicious dish of food. The best part is when these elements come together. Right now I'm inspired by the Spanish artist, Jaime Hayon—he crosses over in various mediums from the art world to interiors with a seamless and playful energy.
Do you think modern art today should have a message? What is the state of modern art now?
The art world is always redefining itself—it's important that it keeps evolving. The opportunities for artists to gain recognition and financial reward in a short period of time is now felt more than ever with the influence and power of social media.
With regard to public art, I personally enjoy works that can challenge our thinking and offer positive distraction from our day. If art doesn't have an obvious message—other than being purely aesthetic—this can be equally appealing.
My favorite example of modern art with a message is by the American artist, Jenny Holzer. Her works mainly focus on the delivery of words and ideas in public spaces, and bring to light the unspoken or silenced thoughts via media like neon, advertising spaces and street signs. Jenny creates worthy elements of protest art that subvert the hierarchy and perceived injustices. She has popularized this 'word play' in art—particularly during the Eighties, when you could see her influence on the fashion world, especially on the streets of New York and London, where you'd see fashion kids wearing slogan T-shirts designed with large letter-block words expressing a state of being or a feeling, turning it into wearable art. We all want to say something.
Please finish the sentence: Swarovski crystals are…
…A shimmering canvas of light for art, fashion and creativity!
From Australia to Paris to NYC—you travel quite a bit. What are your favorite shopping destinations?
Tokyo for homeware and stationery; Paris is wonderful for local jewelry, shoes and fashion brands; Italy and Argentina are the best places for beautiful top-quality leather bags; New York for urban and streetwear; and Sydney is my No.1 destination for swimwear designs.