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They successfully merge mix-media and creative visual art work, in such a way that it could only be their own. XL and Donson, the two great artists behind FakedCandid, set out their partnership as a result of a casual hashtag they both created for their random Instagram pictures. They claim the best works are those that can fulfill both the needs of eyes and spirit. And we must say that this is precisely what they manage to accomplish every time we see their awe-inspiring projects. We get to know them due to their recently launched work for Cartier, “Amulette de Cartier”. Regarding the brand’s unique style built over the years, they have impeccably maintained the gracefulness of Cartier, providing a fresher and more minimalistic approach.

When you were young, did you have a clear vision of what you wanted to do? How and when did your passion for art and multimedia start?

Arts have probably always been instinctual for us. We have both been voluntarily exposed to several different types of arts since we were young –fine arts and performing arts, for example. So yes, you could say we always knew we wanted to be in this industry.

When did you meet and under what circumstances?

We attended the same course (Communication Design) and were actually classmates in university. It was easy to distinguish like-minded people with the same aesthetic preferences and interest for fashion editorials from such a diversified class. We also used to hang out with the same group of friends from school, so it was even easier to work out how our personalities and work habits could make up for each other’s shortcomings.
To be honest, FakedCandid started as a hashtag that we created for our random Instagram posts, purely out of fun. We are lucky to have found a pleasurable and harmonised partnership.

Every job signed by FakedCandid is characterized by its refined, positive and fresh style. Is your work a way in which you express yourself?

We definitely express our personalities and preferences through our works. It would be a lie to say that we take a neutral stand without getting personal in our work. They are the representations of our thought process leading to how the stories are crafted. We value the balance between visual aesthetics and the concepts behind the work. The best works for us are those that can fulfill both needs of the eyes and spirit, so we hope to do just that.

Playing with multiple dimensions, clean graphic lines, constructivism, visual perceptions, juxtapositions… What do you consider important and worth mentioning about your particular style?

Speaking of style, we actually carry very much of an OCD behavior when it comes to working. We like things to be coordinated and largely reduced. We only keep things that are vital in the storytelling. We also prefer our work to carry substantial concepts without making mass audiences feel distant. We hope to intrigue them with colours and graphics, and then gently lead them into the deeper stories. The marriage between vibrant colours and twisted humor developed a small habit of teasing and creating subtle playful interactions with our audiences. So, as much as we want our works to be minimal, we still emphasize on layers, textures and depth of field to elevate the visual impact and pleasure. Often, we play with mix-media to appeal to a wider audience. We tend to work towards blurring the line between art and fashion.

Tell me a bit about your recently launched work “Amulette de Cartier”. Sumptuous jewelry over a more minimalistic, conceptual approach with a simplified colour palette… What has inspired you to completely change Cartier’s personal style?

We have to say we were really lucky that Cartier already added vibrancy to the brand with Amulette de Cartier being introduced in a set of colours. Having that laid out in their product and marketing direction, it wasn’t difficult to pull in a splash of fresh, more upbeat style that was what we are very familiar with. We believe in value adding, so we did not want to produce a signature image of Cartier, something that they have already been so great at doing themselves. What was most interesting about the planning process was finding a way to reroute the project with just enough twist to shake things up while preserving the brand’s elegance. We maintained their gracefulness by substituting luxuriousness with minimalistic style.

Cartier was the first jeweler to explore femininity through the metaphor of the panther. Have you followed that concept in some way? Or in contrast, have you created a complete new imagery?

The panther motif was driven and introduced with the arrival of Jeanne Toussaint, who made her mark on Cartier design with her feminine elegance, independence and freethinking temperament. Femininity is reflected on the softness of the photos and freethinking what we embrace and have been putting in practice. When we craft the story to match the powers of each gemstones (the powers and unlocking wish is Cartier’s brand story for this collection), we tend to deviate from the conventional associations to the powers to produce a fresh and yet relatable imagery.

Regarding the seven sets of images, it seems that you are about to unlock different precious aspects such as luck, fulfillment, courage… Are you instinctive persons?

Cartier crafted the story of unlocking wishes in different aspects for this collection, and we proceeded to work according to the themes that were allocated.
We are quite the instinctive type of people, and we think that most people in the creative industry are too. You got to be instinctual, at least on a certain level, to dream up stories for your work.

Have you learnt new aspects about semiotics? Do you believe in the power of precious, pure stones?

It’s clear we are quite the enthusiastic storytellers, but more often than not, we tell in a teasing manner. We enjoy beating audiences’ expectations and surprising them with semiotics. This is something that we have been practicing. The Cartier project, in this particular case however, drilled us deeper in the development and discovery of unpredictable signs and symbols that are relatable to the powers and wishes.

Tell me a bit about your future projects.

We believe that fashion advertising and marketing have stepped onto another level with the growth of digital platforms. Fashion houses used to produce just one fashion campaign and their respective branches in other parts of the world would do an adaption. But now, with the growing trend for major cities to create their own localised sub-campaigns for marketing purposes, they often engage local fashion bloggers for outreach. While we understand that convenience, we also think that the contents can be a lot more substantial, so we saw the gap that we could bridge.
We hope to open up brands to this idea of extending their marketing approach from collaborating with bloggers to collaborating with visual artists. We can generate new unique contents for their marketing aspects or campaigns to produce more conceptual work and organised materials.

What else do you wish in your real life?

XL has a fantasy of having the people she loves and their families living all together in a cruise that travels the world. Donson wants the wardrobe of pop stars, G-Dragon and Kanye West to stage his life.
But wait, you said real life! We’ll just settle with being able to wake up and feel hopeful everyday.


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