Dazed and Confused, having joined forces with Converse, are currently running a competition aimed at discovering or recognizing the best young, unknown artistic talent in the UK. The competition has an intentionally wide brief reconciling video, sculpture, performance and sound pieces. All artists must be under 35, not currently studying at art school or represented by a gallery. The involvement of the two brands, in conjunction with the open format, goes someway to rid the competition of some of the stuffiness and elitism that is, perhaps unfairly attached, to the contemporary UK art scene.
This is clearly a continuation of Converse’s recent artistic drives (Spark and You’re It et al) and this particular example collaborative branding adds legitimacy to their claims of championing young talent. This is reflected in the stellar judging panel assembled, these include; Tim Marlow (Director of Exhibitions at The White Cube), Sadie Coles (representative of Sarah Lucas and Gregory Schneider), Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner, Tom Morton (curator at the Haywood), Isobel Harbison; as well as Dazed and Confused’ visual arts editor Francesca Gavin.
By placing creativity per se, at the heart of it’s current marketing and sponsorship, Converse are realigning themselves with the non-musical strands of the brands heritage (read: Jackson Pollock, Hunter S Thompson) and away from the “landfill indie” look that many believe that in recent years it has become synonymous with.