Kevin Nowak and Julian Poropatich’s project demonstrates a harmony between nature and the city
Approached and briefed with total creative freedom, Austrian designer and art director Kevin Nowak had to research his own creative premise when simply asked by Viennese skate shop STIL-LADEN for a new skateboard graphic. Made in collaboration with photographer Julian Poropatich, ‘For the Love of Nature and the City’ was Nowak’s response; a micro-campaign of deft, but brutal still life photography paired with equally as delicate typography, looking at the harmony between the two realms of nature and culture – resulting in the final graphic, t-shirts, prints, a short-film and even silk scarves.
“I knew I wanted to make some still life’s (‘stillleben’ in German),” Nowak tells us, “because the shop is called STIL-LADEN, which is a play on words,” he explains. This led Nowak to consult Poropatich, “as he loves to photograph moody, impressive arrangements,” naturally guiding them towards the production of their short film. “The video was a really cool option to represent the sculpture in an artificial way,” Nowak notes, in contrast to the intuitive and spontaneous process the pair undertook in producing the still life images. “The sculptures were created at Julian’s studio without the client,” Nowak adds, allowing them to craft the arrangements unburdened by external commercial or aesthetic concerns.
Giving themselves the space and time they determined was necessary, Nowak and Poropatich “tried out as many arrangements as (they) wanted,” and only taking a photo “if it felt good,” trusting their gut instinct. The sculptures themselves were balanced by hand, without the digital assistance of photoshop in post-production or physical wire during the shoot. “To create such objects you need some good nerves,” Nowak explains, “all the materials have different weights and shapes, so they were really a balancing act,” assuring us that there was no super glue involved – “just Fimo,” he adds.
In-light of STIL-LADEN’s sustainability drive and in-line with Nowak’s chosen subject matter, the material contents of the sculptures were found across Vienna, within the city and throughout the woods. “This was really important for us,” Nowak reveals, “the sculptures are made out of materials which represent the characteristics of both,” a combination that represents their shared sustainable and aesthetic solutions, the conclusion of which can be found in a small exhibition housed in STIL-LADEN’s shop.
Sensitively paired with these striking images is Sometimes Times, a dainty Roman serif that acts as both complementary and neutral to the contrasts of city and nature within the photographs. Noting that the contemporary aesthetic of Sometimes Times pairs well with the contemporary sculpture, Nowak adds that “the type works incredibly well in big and medium sizes and gives the sculptures enough space to breathe.”