Vault49 and Pale Horse Celebrate Music with Sonos
Award shows like The Grammys are a benchmark for many artists. Careers converge on these nights, a whole year of artistry and lobbying culminating at the reading of a card. Hundreds are nominated and only a handful leave with their hands full of trophies. It’s an exciting night where dreams come true, with some differed. But what happens the next day after the statues have been distributed and the artists have to get back to work?
To create an ongoing celebration of the people and energy that goes into creating music, Sonos teamed up with a handful of visual artists to design speakers inspired by nominees. Both Vault49 and Pale Horse Design got involved, handling different categories in their signature styles and processes.
Vault49 tackled bringing 10 different artists into their process. Luckily, Vault49 is set up for that kind of huge undertaking. “Vault49 is quite unique in that we have a lot of artists that work in one studio,” explains Jonathan Kenyon, Creative Director and Founder of Vault49. “So rather than having one artist do one collection of five pieces, we actually had fives artists do a design from each of the two award categories.” By splitting the work, each artist was able to commit to the full composition of each of the pieces.
Part of their work was to interpret each artist in a unique way. They were directed by Sonos to avoid the classic representations of each artist and find another way to communicate their energies. “Whether it’s the hat and the glasses of Beck or the legs for Beyonce, or abstract patterns for Sam Smith. We really tried to drill down into what would be instantly recognizable as the artist,” says Jon. After they arrived at the designs, Vault49’s artists employed a range of painting techniques to translate the designs onto the speakers. From markers, to airbrush, to paintbrush, they chose what would work best with each aesthetic and artist to complete the composition.
This kind of work is exactly what brings out the best in Vault49. “We have everybody pushing themselves to try lots of new techniques,” says Jon. “There’s nothing more satisfying than leaving the office with paint under your fingernails.”
When Chris Parks from Pale Horse Design got his assignment, he went right to work as he was responsible for five speakers. But the project was a natural fit. “Music has always been a big part of my career,” Chris says. He’s always been singing and playing guitar for bands since the beginning, “That’s kind of how I got my start, making graphics and album art for my own band.” Everything else has come out of those beginnings.
Like Vault49, Chris avoided using the immediately recognizable signatures of each artist, instead translating them through his distinct style. “What I always inject into my work is bold colors, and nice line work, and a lot of the work that I do has a tattoo influence to it,” Chris says. The only challenge was working in a totally different medium. Typically, Chris does all of his work digitally. But this one was going to applied by hand. “I had to think about things a little differently, creating work that could be painted onto the speakers. Simplifying my normal style down to a graphic that could be painted really well.” He stuck true to his Rock 'N Roll style, but adjusted his work so it would sing on the speakers.
We've included some photos from Vault49 and Pale Horse's process so you can get a taste of how these pieces came together.