August 9, 2012 | 4:00 PM
Len Peltier is Levi's Creative Director and currently oversees all of the brand's global creative initiatives. As a genuine art-lover and a photography aficionado, it's no surprise Len spearheaded Levi's "Go Forth" campaign and continues to facilitate collaborations with contemporary artists and innovative filmmakers to create some of the most iconic brand images of the last decade.
As part of the "Friends of..." initiative by Levi's and Intel, contemporary art icon Vik Muniz is working on a limited-edition T-shirt collaboration that will benefit Vik's favorite non-profit, Spectaculu Art and Technology School in Rio de Janeiro. Proceeds from Vik's limited-edition T-shirts will fund performances, workshops, and the sharing of Spectaculu's groundbreaking curriculum with youth all over the world through a digital suite of Skillshare videos and downloadable tools that will be available on the web site of The Ultrabook™ Experience. We chatted with Len about the way Levi's and Intel are joining forces to make "Friends of Vik Muniz" possible, why sharing skills and expertise is crucial, and what he predicts the future of this partnership will reveal.
What's unique about Levi's and Intel partnering together on this project?
Len Peltier: Working with Intel on this project has been a really unique, landmark collaboration. I mean, here you have two global brands coming together to support Vik Muniz and Spectaculu on a very simple, purposeful project. The results—both Vik's T-shirt collaboration and Intel's accompanying digital experience—wonderfully align lifestyle and technology in a way that is considered, creative, and connected.
What is it about Vik Muniz's work that compels you?
I knew of Vik's work in a contemporary art context before I saw his film Waste Land, which documents the artwork he creates with garbage pickers in Rio de Janeiro; it totally blew me away. Not only is Vik's work extremely powerful and well-crafted, it's also clever in how it attracts the viewer. From a distance, his photographs appear to be traditional illustrations. But upon closer inspection, you realize they are massive collages and collections of everyday material. Vik makes the ordinary extraordinary.
There's something great about assembling the right minds. How do you think the "Friends of Vik Muniz" program will impact the Spectaculu community?
Absolutely. This project is all about harnessing the power of community. We live in an amazing time, where our "communities" can actually stretch around the world. I am lucky enough to travel and work with some of the most exciting minds in the creative field—all in different cities. This project is bringing some of those global resources to the students working at Spectaculu in Rio. Levi's has helped orchestrate workshops by national and international talents... Intel is offering their technology resources so that local experts can better share their skills and students can access online design tools.
How can this program facilitate a real creative resource for the artists, animators, musicians, and creative directors of tomorrow?
Actually, I think it takes more than just access to creative tools and training on how to use them... you also need inspiration. This project combines the digital curriculum and new technology with an amazing collection of inspiring people including Vik, his collaborators, and all the people who run Spectaculu. All these people are not only enabled by computers and design tools, but they also use these same communications technologies to share their work and influence others to pursue a creative field.
What's next for Levi's collaboration with Intel and the "Friends of..." project?
I don't want to ruin the surprise! I will say this though, I'm excited to see what a partnership between Levi's and Intel will bring.