Google has a very long and varied partner list, including Wal-Mart, Harvard Medical School and every major beauty influencer on YouTube. Over the past year, the tech giant has added more artists and designers, thanks to Google Artworks Series collaborations with Jeff Koons, Jeremy Scott, Opening Ceremony, FriendsWithYou and Skrillex, among others.
Today, two more officially join the ranks: The company worked with Los Angeles-based digital artist Petra Cortright and graphic artist Baron Von Fancy from New York on customizable Google Artworks Live Cases for its new Pixel 2 smartphone.
Emerging and influential artists, Cortright and Von Fancy each created a series of limited-edition digital canvases, giving the public access to their work in a convenient and affordable way. Customers can print the canvases for their cases or download the wallpapers for their homescreens from the Google store for $40.
Cortright’s digital canvasses showcase her signature impressionistic digital landscapes, formed from computer-rendered marks and strokes. “For my work, I source images from the Internet, and Google Images has always played a huge role in finding material,” Cortright said. “I thought it was kind of cool that this project would allow for my work to come full circle.”
The artist also conveyed her appreciation for working with tech people. “Sometimes in the art world, there isn’t the same sense of openness and play.”
For Von Fancy, aka Gordon Stevenson, the actual device was the muse. “The Google Pixel itself inspired me,” said the graphic artist, who gravitates toward clever commentary for themes like social media obsession, or the straightforward wit of certain phrases. For example, “Now you’re talking” is his favorite in the series. “It’s cliche for a phone, sure, but I want you to laugh,” he said.
Simultaneously, Von Fancy also aims for a higher goal. He wanted to create something uplifting to motivate people to take action, “to go do things,” and not just stay glued to their phones and Instagram feeds. “But [it must] also be entertaining,” he explained. “With ‘Curiosity didn’t kill the cat’ or ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop,’ I was inspired by Google’s theme this year of ‘Ask More.’”
In the tech world, the device company known for its design aesthetic is Apple, not Google. Over the last few years the Android maker has been working with an increasing load of artists and designers for products like Android Wear smartwatches, as well as these smartphone cases. Perhaps something’s rubbing off.