Cool Hunting favorite Beach London has worked with some of the most interesting illustrators in the UK today. Now, the gallery has teamed up with Creative Mess to give those artists a chance to test their creative skills on the tiny, functional canvas that is the cellphone case. As Beach’s Charlie Hood shares, “We met Ant, who runs Creative Mess, earlier this year when we hosted ‘Kill Your Shelf,’ an exhibition of artist-designed bootleg toys. Ant was pretty stoked on the show, and we got chatting over a tea—as we do with people here on a cold, quiet, rainy spring day—and he was telling us about CM. He’d been doing it for a little while and had just got the technology to make the cases.”
Together the two companies brought in artists Rob Flowers, Jay Wright, Ellie Andrews, Kyle Platts and Pete Fowler, who each designed a specific cover. Illustrations range from a WiFi-enlightened Buddhist monk to an oversized, defiantly pink ear. The latter is the work of Flowers, whose designs are usually character-based, making this a bit of a departure. “I’m a big fan of trompe l’oeil, so I wanted to make something that interacted with your face when you were talking on the phone. Color palette-wise, most people’s ears are a bit pinkish, so I decided to play on that,” he says of his design, which took a few tests to get right. The resulting visual is slightly larger than a real ear, lending a nice cartoonish touch to users.
The Beach x Creative Mess collaboration isn’t just a one-off; the companies will continue to launch their playful phone accessories on a regular basis. “We wanna do it every six months or so,” Hood says. “Ant’s in a nice position where he can make the work himself, rather than having to bulk order, so hopefully we can keep the models going as new phones are released. It would be nice to build up a real archive. Obviously this time we’ve gone very illustrative, with contemporary UK illustrators. So it would be cool to do a very graphic-design led collection with UK designers next, or perhaps a selection of international illustrators. Personally, I’d love to do one of classic skateboard artists, like Mark McKee, Sean Cliver, VCJ, people like that.” For now, the five designs available are a fun option for anyone after a humorous, irreverent way to keep that precious phone a little bit safer.
Flowers’ work can next be seen in a group show at the Ludwigsburg Museum in Germany in December. Phone covers are available at Beach London for £15 each.
Images courtesy of Beach London