“My inspiration in coming up with the art for this Limited Edition was really based on the legacy of Hennessy as a brand,” says Shepard Fairey of his Hennessy Very Special Label design. “To me, Hennessy has always been about quality, authenticity, tradition and elegance.”
The appreciation of Hennessy that Shepard Fairey possessed prior to being invited on this project provided him with a solid background to furthermore explore the brand’s history and savoir-faire.
Invited to Cognac to discover the full Hennessy experience, Fairey embarked on a journey to make his powerful art mesh with such a storied house. When creating his designs, Shepard Fairey wanted to use every possible surface available: “I like the idea of creating an intimate relationship with the owner of the Limited Edition bottle, for them to see my work and to see how every space is utilised from different perspectives: the top of the bottle, the neck, the label.”
The “star icon” mandala featured at the centre of the bottle represents Shepard Fairey’s search for completeness and self-unity, with its signature Obey icon standing as a tribute to his own design heritage: “I’ve always wanted to progress but also always keep a visual connection to some of the elements from my historic work, so that people can see that it has all been a progression of an idea and a style.” The colour scheme used on the label enhance the direct parallel between his signature stylings and Hennessy’s trademark aesthetics: “The great thing is that a lot of the colours and elements that I like to use in my work have been used at Hennessy: gold, black, cream, and red.”
Lifting key features from historic Hennessy designs as well as his own designs, the Very Special Limited Edition by Shepard Fairey represents the artist’s unique interpretation of the perfect balance between tradition and innovation: “It was amazing for me to see how I could translate my art to the bottle, hopefully retaining the essence of what is beautiful and powerful about it, while bringing my own spirit to it as well.”
Hennessy invited Shepard Fairey to celebrate the release of his Limited Edition, with a “Very Special World Tour” already scheduled to hit ten of the world’s most influential cities including Maboneng in Johannesburg.
Shepard Fairey will create a mural in Maboneng Precinct in September 2014 with the objective of uplifting the local community with a thought-provoking visual.