Artist Cory Arcangel spends a lot of time surfing the web in bed. So when Tom Bennett, CEO of the global music merchandising company Bravado, approached the artist about a partnership, Arcangel came up with the idea of a line of clothing and lifestyle merchandise made specifically for perusing through the Internet.
"I hadn’t really seen much out in the marketplace that was brand-centered around that kind of thing, and it’s what I spend a lot of my time doing," Arcangel says. "It just seemed to make the most sense to me, to design a clothing line for something that I was the most familiar with in terms of lifestyle."
The artist will debut the brand, Arcangel Surfware—which he says is targeted at "both fans of my work and also people who like to go pretty hard on the net, of all ages"—on May 17 through a one-day pop-up shop and exhibition named "You Only Live Once" at the Holiday Inn SoHo in New York, along with an e-commerce website that launches the same day. Prices for items range from $39.95 to $495.95 and the site touts Arcangel Surfware as "everything one needs to ‘chill’ in bed all day and surf the Internet in comfort."
If you know Arcangel's work—playful, eccentric, fiercely web-savvy—you might think the whole thing is a joke. Probably is! That doesn't change the fact that Arcangel wants the brand to succeed, he says. "I feel like I’m in really good territory because... people are thinking most of the things I’m doing are jokes," he says. "I do hope it could become a thing, definitely."
Arcangel worked with Bravado, which is under Universal Music Group, to design sweatshirts, sweat pants, bed sheets, and iPad and iPhone covers. What makes them perfect for surfing the web in bed? The products are "really thick and really fluffy," he says. The brand’s logo consists of a yin yang symbol over a rainbow gradient surrounded by the words "Arcangel Surfware" and an emoticon of a winking smiley face and a computer. It comes from a series of works he’s been doing over the years called Photoshop Gradient Demonstrations.
The artist—who is represented by Lisson Gallery in London, Team Gallery in New York and Galerie Thaddaeus Topac in Paris—will also showcase his art at the pop-up shop/exhibition, such as "Express Yourself Clearly," a sculpture and video piece made from televisions he purchased at Walmart, and "Sans Caffeine" a sculpture of wastebasket filled with empty Diet Pepsi cans.
Sure, Arcangel Surfware sounds bizarre, but stranger things have existed, like the Snuggie or barefoot sports shoes, so let’s see how this goes. After all, a lot of his work is inspired by or based on the Internet. "I like tinkering with computers," he says. So why not do it in comfort?
For more information, visit arcangelsurfware.biz.