I was commissioned by Sailor Jerry Rum to design a ‘Sailor Jerry’ inspired wallpaper - one to be used at all Sailor Jerry Rum events, worldwide. No pressure.
In addition to the designing the physical wallpaper and the “no pressure” part, as part of the collaboration, I was also invited to the global conference in Lisbon, Portugal to paint live at the global workshop and to ‘officially’ launch it. Crazy.
Not only was it was my first time officially collaborating with Sailor Jerry on anything official or of this calibre - it was also my first time meeting most of the global team and and my first time to Portugal. I couldn’t believe it……
Furthermore, as it was the first time Sailor Jerry had done anything like this before, we decided to mark the official collaboration with another official collaboration - so we designed some exclusive Steen Jones x Sailor Jerry merch for the team and VIP guests! Crazy x2.
For those reading and for those that aren’t familiar with “Sailor Jerry” - or simply haven’t followed me for long enough to know how much of an influence and inspiration this man has been to my career, you probably can’t and won’t grasp how huge this was/is for me (which is fine) …but just know, seemingly it couldn’t get much bigger or be more of an honour for me both personally and professionally. Sailor Jerry has without a doubt the biggest inspiration of my entire career.
Ok, so wallpaper.
Not only did the wallpaper have to be designed in a way whereas it could be printed and installed by anyone, anywhere, it also had to be designed in a way that it could be adjustable and altered to suit any pop-up or venue space without compromising the artworks or design.
My biggest concerns straight off the block were;
How am I going to design a wallpaper (given they are continuous/endless designs) in a way whereas the individual designs were going to be butchered when cut/adjusted to size? How can I guarantee that whoever is adjusting this artwork is going to do it right? How can I design it in a way whereas I could reduce the potential (and common) risk of artworks not aligning properly during the installation process?
Admittedly, I buckled under the pressure as I had never designed a wallpaper before ...let alone something of this calibre. After some research, more stress and a few concepts, I came to the realisation ….that the answer was right in front of me & the best way to actually approach this was by actually keeping it “simple”. Go figure.
That said, given both Sailor Jerry and I felt that it was important to pay homage to both the original designs and the classic look and feel of the original artworks, we opted to take the long and hard way and hand-paint each sheet - opposed to being cheap, lazy and tacky by reworking them digitally. Given the nature, scale and calibre of the project, we thought we’d capture and share the entire design process…..