Walking through NYC’s Lower East Side, I find myself at Extra Butter, the sneaker shop that had sneakerheads riled up about their epic collaboration with Asics and Kill Bill.
The shopkeeper buzzes me in and I notice just past the well manicured selection of sneakers, a brightly handpainted wood cutout arrow that reads, “Happy Thoughts”. I follow the arrow to the back of the store and with childlike curiosity peek around the corner to find myself in Extra Butter’s rotating art space. This particular time, it housed Magda Love’s installation, “All In The Golden Afternoon”. The work, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, engulfed me in a nature walk amongst fantastical trees, flowers, bugs, bunny rabbits and clouds.
Magda Love's work evokes her childhood memories of walking around a huge garden with her creative parents and experiencing he flow and connectedness of the world. Centipedes wrap around trees while anatomical hearts spew rainbows into teacups and Alice's head explodes with colored smoke. Trees are adorned with hand-jigsawed wood clocks reminding us of the slow, steady growth that eventually leads to huge sturdy trees. Every inch of the art space was covered in paint and the floors were capped off in astro turf.
So why would a sneaker shop allow the walls and ceiling to be be completely painted in their rotating art space? Extra Butter rep said, "We just want to open up the space to artists that we feel are a good fit. This space is monetized half the time by sponsors and the other times we introduce artist to our audience and also help our brand up the cool factor.
Our selection of sneakers is not product driven, but well curated and not easily accessible. There is a high level of thought put into the products we carry that is beyond the ordinary. That's why Magda's work fits in so nicely with our brand. It's eclectic. It's quirky but sophisticated and well thought out".
Magda Love's work is all heart and her signature anatomical hearts not only grace the walls of the art space but also appear on a limited edition t-shirt collaboration with Extra Butter.
It's not easy to find a space where they trust in the artist's vision and let them do what they want. But Extra Butter allowed Magda Love to express her ideas and turned the whimsical space attached to a sneaker shop into Magda's world.
Magda Love said, “I watched people walk into the space and there was an instant moment of wonder that flashed across their face. My goal for this artwork is to trigger an emotional experience for the audience and myself. So many people have trouble speaking about their emotions so I wanted to invite people to take a walk in my brain garden and wander around and feel more comfortable with their emotions. They could journey down my emotions and also interpret the work in relation to their own childhood memories”.
Magda's art installation also brought a whole new audience to the sneaker shop. Magda said, "My work has been classified as very feminine and I am proud of it. Right after this exhibition is finished, I will be working on a five story mural that is all badass female energy. I've learned over the years that you can embrace your feminine side and be vulnerable and tender but strong and powerful at the same time".
Everybody wins in a collaboration like this. Extra Butter got to align their brand with Magda Love and produce a limited edition t-shirt of Magda's signature anatomical heart. Available online at http://shop.extrabutterny.com/pages/magda-love
Magda Love got great press through Extra Butter's PR team and sold over twenty wood cutouts that were hung throughout the installation. These hand-jigsawed art pieces were also hand-sanded and painted on reclaimed wood from Build it Green. So many of the wood cutouts sold on opening night that the exhibition walls kept changing and pieces were playfully moved all around the installation by attendees. It was Magda's intention to let people touch the art and move things around and have fun.
So, next time you are in the Lower East Side of NYC, stop in to Extra Butter and you don't know what you might find, a rare pair of sneakers that will make all sneakerhead friends green with envy or a cool art installation that will invite you to play.