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Swatch and Kidrobot have some fun

More whacky watches from Swatch, the brand that put fun into the watch industry and by doing so saved us from the ubiquitous plastic digital watch thanks to irreverent designs and a pulse on the world of art.

18 August 2011

More whacky watches from Swatch, the brand that put fun into the watch industry and by doing so saved us from the ubiquitous plastic digital watch thanks to irreverent designs and a pulse on the world of art. Swatch once again shows that the serious business of telling the time can be colourful and in tune with the wider world out there. This season sees a collaboration between Swatch and KidRobot 'an art-driven toy and lifestyle brand'. If that all sounds a bit odd, then have a look at the watches that are the work of eight different designers who have created eight 'Gents' or watches and their corresponding 'Dunny' which is Kidrobot's bunny-like vinyl toy. Each watch comes with its own little Dunny so watch out for these funny little ani-bots soon to pop up on desks and dashboards around the world.  This new collection of watches including collectors' sets are available from 1 Sept and retail for £44.50. Here is the synopsis of each watch and artist cribbed directly from Swatch's press release: Despite admitting he can neither ski nor play tennis, Spanish-born artist Frank Kozik compensates for this with his work, which is always graphically compelling. Originally making his name by creating full-color silk screened posters for various legendary rock bands of the 90s, Kozik rose to the challenge of collaborating with Swatch with his usual energy and creativity: "I wanted to make the designs as clean as possible," he explains. Kozik's sense of humor jumps off the dial of his bright yellow Swatch-Ski Instructor (GJ130), which shows a mustachio'd white Dunny with hard, black eyes. This Dunny comes in both a 3-inch (7.6 cm) and a 20-inch (50.8 cm) version (see Special Packaging, below). Dividing his time between two studios - in New York's SoHo and Bondi Beach in Sydney - Jeremyville is an artist, product designer and author of international repute. In addition to writing Vinyl Will Kill in 2003, the world's first book on designer toys, he has exhibited his art in the US, France, Beijing and Italy. Jeremyville's design for Swatch features a character named Ibbity Pop - featured in his forthcoming book, The So Far Away. He explains: "The story is about a lost pet being in a different part of the world, and different time zone. So a watch was the perfect product to release, relating to the time differences in the story."  Jeremyville's watch for Swatch is called, appropriately, Swatch-The So Far Away ( GB252) With over 13 years of experience as a professional illustrator and toy designer, Kansas-based MAD boasts an impressive resume filled with collaborative projects for global brands as well as promotions, packaging and character designs. Always busy, he constantly develops unique toys, T-shirts and art. "With all the craziness being thrown at us in the world, sometimes words aren't enough," explains MAD, about his new designs for Swatch. "Sometimes you just need to scream. This design pulls elements from my various illustration artwork and transforms it into an all over pattern that we can all relate to at times."  Swatch-Shout Out (GP133) reacts in wordless but expressive protest to the craziness of the world around us. Born in Toulouse, France, Tilt has been a self-confessed 'graffiti fetishist' since his teens - daubing his debut tag on a skateboard ramp, before subsequently making his mark upon local trains and streets. Now based in New York, his paintings derive influence from his extensive travels, are exhibited all over the world, and always emphasizes fun - though primitive, high impact, brightly colored shapes. They routinely feature 'bubbly' curvaceous forms inspired by his love of beautiful women. Tilt reveals his design for Swatch, "Illustrates the lyrics of a famous French rock band from the 80s called Telephone  - the story of a man who wants to go to NYC with the girl he loves." Tilt's work for Swatch is called Swatch-Love Song (GE232). "Taking one of the coolest characters from my Gamma Mutant Space Friends, Carina the 3-Eyed Space Kitty, and putting her on the watch was a perfect fit to me," reveals New York-based artist Tara McPherson, when discussing her collaboration with Swatch. Famed for her internationally exhibited work - which continuously explores people and their quirky ways - the characters she paints exude stylized innocence combined with steely wisdom. McPherson is also a highly successful illustrator and poster artist, whose highly collectable gig posters have further ensured her cool credentials.  Her watch for Swatch, called Swatch-The Eyes are Watching (GP132), presents a pensive and observant space kitty. Russian-born artist and designer SSUR© (real name Ruslan Karablin) is based in New York, where his work - despite him having received no formal training - has been well respected in the city's art and design scenes since he first began to make waves there in the late 1980s. He cites, "Responsibility, respect, tolerance, justice and peace" as his recurring creative themes and drew further topical inspiration from, "Politics and protest, current events and camouflage patterns," when realizing his concept for Swatch. All of these elements find expression in his evocative Swatch-Tic Tic Boom (GB251). Fashion, toys, magazines and TV have long-been rich sources of inspiration for pop culture-obsessed artist Gary Baseman. Both his raw-yet-playful illustrations for Cranium and the Emmy-winning Teacher's Pet have unleashed this L.A-based talent's otherworldly and humorous aesthetic into the public consciousness. For Swatch, Baseman cites his self-created character of The Midnight Magi as the catalyst: "The Midnight Magi is always in the shadows, " he reveals, "restraining your darkest nightmares from destroying your sweetest dreams..." Baseman's watch for Swatch is called Swatch-Midnight Magi (GB249). "Taking such an iconic design as the Swatch Watch and turning it into a lovable character was a challenge and a great thrill!" confirms L.A. artist Joe Ledbetter. Having formerly worked as a graphic apparel artist, Ledbetter began honing his distinctively mischievous and upbeat painting style back in 2003 - influences typically include classic animation, graphics, trips to the zoo, nature documentaries and his two cheeky pet cats - and has since exhibited his work extensively in prestigious galleries around the globe. His Swatch-Bengali (GB250) is characteristically light-hearted. The eight models in the KIDROBOT FOR SWATCH COLLECTION are available in Swatch stores and points of sale around the world, either separately, in which case each model comes with its complementary Dunny, or as part of a special Kidrobot limited and numbered edition of 300 sets. Each Kidrobot Special Set (GZS48) is comprised of the 8 Kidrobot watches in the collection: GB249S, GB250S, GP133S, GP132S, GB251S, GE232S, GJ130S and GB252. Each watch in the set carries its limited edition number (001/300) and is presented in Special Packaging together with its corresponding Dunny. Eight of the Dunnys are 3 inches (7.6 cm) high, while Frank Kozik's mustachio'd white Dunny comes in a special 20-inch high ( 50.8 cm) version. Stockist number UK: 0845 296 2448

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