Using the iconic Melbourne artist Ash Keating’s works on the panels and straps of our bags was a dream match of inspiration and artistic practice. With this collection in our limited edition Wash Print, we invite you to take a segment of art with you, back out onto the streets that inspired it.
The streets of Melbourne have always been part of our inspiration here at Crumpler: after all, it was where we began our journey in the mid 90’s. Around this time, Ash was in the formative stages of his artistic career in the same city, sometimes even brightening walls with his sprayed street art. Fast forward to 2017, when we posted a dynamic shot of Ash at work in his studio. A friendly exchange on Instagram kicked off this blazing new collaboration.
We were pretty excited to get an invitation to Ash’s studio. We travelled with the team from Sneaky Studio & Ash out to the northern suburbs of Melbourne where he works in a large, light-filled room with white walls and vibrant splatters of paint on the walls and floor. A container to catch the paint dripping off large canvases held an oozing array of colours. The artist himself wore clothes and shoes coated with the drips and sprays of his practice; a kaleidoscope of colours, layers telling of the months and years spent in the studio.
The artworks used on the Ash Keating collection come from Ash’s Zero Gravity System Response, a series of canvas works produced in 2015. The hot reds and amber oranges sparked our inspiration, and the design team set to work.
An essential thing to know about Ash’s works is that his way of getting paint onto the canvas is anything but conventional. Recording the effect of gravity on paint, Ash uses implements which allow him to let paint be thrown and fly. He’ll funnel paint through a tube and into a fire extinguisher, using the extinguisher pressure to spray volumes of paint at high speed. Sometimes, he’ll throw a bucket of paint straight at the canvas. It’s playful, it’s daring; the works are alive with dripping colour and explosive layers, and we couldn’t wait to get these works onto our bags.
The movement of art to object feels immediate: on some styles in this collection, the bags themselves look as though they have been hit with the sprayed paint of the extinguisher and left to dry. Each bag is sewn with a label showing a series of small symbols. These make direct reference to Ash’s unconventional painting technique: the fire extinguisher, the tilted bucket, Ash’s initials in a classic laundry symbol gesturing to the ‘wash’ of paint on our bags.
We identify with the spirit of Ash’s work. The free sprays and layered colour generate a sense of irreverence that we love. We have a rich history of collaborations and we are proud to have an artist like Ash as a brand ambassador. Collaboration offers a transformative act: taking art outside, into hands and onto shoulders, to walk, ride, move and be seen.
Whether it be a backpack, duffel, tote or hip pouch, let the fiery liquid paint sky or dripping charcoal grey transform your daily into the sublime: isn’t that what art is for?
Design & Direction: @crumpler