Back on Pokémon day this year I reported on the rather quiet announcement of a collaboration between modern artist Daniel Arsham and the iconic Pokémon franchise. At the time of the announcement, there weren’t any actual details provided, but a promotion video did give us all a glimpse at some character statues sculpted in the style of Arsham’s “Fictional Archaeology” concept. Arsham is known for sculpting pieces that emulate familiar imagery with erosion and wear reminiscent of something you would find in an archaeological dig. Now we finally have some details related to the collaboration and its launch in the form of a series of new UT graphic tees from Japanese fast-fashion brand Uniqlo.
The new Daniel Arsham x Pokémon UT collection will feature 7 designs across kid’s, men’s, and women’s sizes. The monochrome shirt designs feature imagery of iconic Pokémon characters like Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Mewtwo in a crystalline formation. These character sketches drawn by Arsham himself cross the line of a plain graphic tee and become something of a wearable canvas showcasing his art. Check out a preview of the designs below.
Arsham had this to say about the collaboration and working with Uniqlo:
“With many of my projects, I try to make work that’s not just for art people and I think UNIQLO has a similar egalitarian culture. The reason I feature iconic characters in my work is that they are very recognizable, and, on the surface, they make it easy to enter my work. Pokémon has been a monumental presence ever since I was a child and I’m excited about the opportunity to present my work to a much wider audience.”
When this collection was so silently announced in February I was honestly rather surprised. Arsham as an artist is someone who has been garnering some serious buzz lately. Last year it was announced that he was tapped by Kim Jones & Dior for their 2020 Summer collection, and his “Eroded Relics” art collection was the center of major attention as new pieces were being added. Even the gaming world got a little taste of his work earlier this year when his Gameboy Crystal Relic sculpture hit the open market.
The future of this collaboration is set to continue his relics series with a focus on “The relics of Kanto through time”, a concept which sees Pokémon unearthed a thousand years in the future. I love the pieces that have been teased so far, and if the imagery on the UT collection shirts are any indication, I can’t wait to see the rest of his work be unveiled. Here’s hoping a gallery tour of some kind is planned so I can see the pieces first hand at some point. Either way, it’s exciting to see The Pokémon Company continue to work with art & design contemporaries and I really hope between this and the FRAGMENT DESIGN led THUNDERBOLT PROJECT that this is just the beginning.
The collection will go up for sale worldwide on April 24th at Uniqlo’s online shop. The shirts will be priced between $9.90 and $14.90 as is the standard for the UT line.
You can find out more about Daniel Arsham and his body of work at his official website.