When Craig Costello began tagging the streets of San Francisco with his name, he soon replaced it with abstract drips of paint, sprayed onto doors or mailboxes. Over time, the New-York based street artist has both scaled up and scaled down his spray-paint focused output. Take the towering Untitled, a series of dripped white works presented against mysterious black walls at the Ex Caserma via Guido Reni in Rome, and shown last November as part of the month long Outdoor Festival exhibition. Or Costello’s dripped paint interpretation of Nike’s Air Force One trainer, and Coach’s leather totes and luggage tags.
Now Costello has experimented further with scale, collaborating with the French performance wear behemoth Moncler on 350 customised 19 inch 'Mr Moncler' figurines. Yesterday, these statuettes were presented, amongst 10,000 others, in regimental rows around the streets of Hong Kong, as part of a live performance piece staged by the label.
‘Art has always been a key communication asset for Moncler,’ says Remo Ruffini, chairman and CEO of the brand. Last year, the label’s Freeze for Frieze project featured a Tim Blanks-curated exhibition of 400 donated artworks in postcard format, sold at its Old Bond Street flagship in London, to raise funds for the Royal College of Art. ‘Our partnership with Costello has allowed us to blend Moncler’s DNA with his trademark paint-drip aesthetic. It has resulted in a unique globally recognisable language project.’
'They'll all be hand-painted,' expained Costello of his Mr Moncler figurine – his bearded and sunglasses-clad visage protected by an eye-catching metallic puffer jacket, and differentiated by paint-dripped jogging bottoms and boots. The brand's miniature army of Mr Moncler's were positioned at four locations in the city, including Central Pier 4 and Harbour City Pier 3, their metallic puffer jackets complementing Hong Kong's skyscraper heavy skyline.
The project also celebrates the reopening of Moncler's flagship store at Harbour City in Canton Road. In democratic style, the city's guests were encouraged to register for the chance to take their own Mr Moncler home. This universal approach is one that resonates with Costello's public-focused street art background: ‘It’s great when the work can be made available to a wide variety of people,’ he says.