A Miami based contemporary art newsletter / blog

Hump Day Cool Finger: The Conundrum of the Name Brand Artist


Dalek Print Chuck Taylor All Stars.

Has anyone noticed how the vast majority of ‘artists’ that design products for name brand companies like Oakley, Converse and Scion seem to be spontaneously co-created as and when a new line is due to be released? Has anyone heard of these people in an art context before? Where did they come from? What have they been doing for money until now? will they ever be heard from again?


CAIA KOOPMAN ARTIST SERIES OAKLEY RAVISHING™ Polished White/G40 Black Gradient (24-048).

We have some indication that suggest these artists are in fact designers and/or illustrators who are re-branded as Artists with a capital “A” by name brand companies who then compound Joe Public’s skewed sense of value by jacking up the price of their product (or hip skin on an existing product), their justification: the limited edition Artist series.  Alternately, anyone with a shred of the right kind of credibility is paid to Customize (with a capital “C”) products which are then paraded around as trophies from some sort of street-cred safari big game hunt shoot out.


Scion’s Installation Five art tour in Miami.

Apart from further confusing an already baffled art world, these items undermine the cultural importance of art as like-minded contentious non faddy patrons understand it. Is the word ‘Artist’ destined to be just another word in the English language that is overused and undervalued, like the word ‘Terrorist’? Are we doomed to traipse apathetically (if not blindly) into a quagmire of illegitimate meaning, over priced trinkets and mass produced samey decorative clobber?



The lines that separate and validate passions, reputations and specialties are not drawn in sand and yet the majority of us seem not only to sanction their degradation, but actively support it. The buzz word for companies like Oakley, Converse and Scion it seems is now not quality, individuality or even style, but hype[.]

The Hump Day Cool Finger is a new weekly feature that uses regrettable examples of the dissolution of contemporary art into trinkets to illustrate the times we live in.


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This post was contributed by Thomas Hollingworth.



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Hump Day Cool Finger: The Conundrum of the Name Brand Artist