We are living in a time when creative boundaries are only there to be broken. The demarcation between distinct genres and styles has been blurred by expert multi-hyphenate artists and creators to such an extent that it’s a thing of the past. Why can’t music artists perform in video games? Who says ice cream brands can’t design shoes? And why shouldn’t a car become the canvas for art? Enter BMW x Joshua Vides. In collaboration with BMW M, Vides has redesigned and decorated a one-of-a-kind BMW X4 M Competition.
LA-based artist and founder of label Reality to Idea, Joshua Vides is changing perceptions surrounding partnerships, one project at a time. Having gained major attention for his monochrome, illusive takes on classic sneakers, Vides’ transformations have been the foundation of a number of high-profile projects. His latest, though, might be the biggest yet, and it occupies a special place in the artist’s heart.
Since early childhood, Vides remembers being fascinated by the almost mythical power of BMW, dreaming of one day owning his own. Now he’s designed one. In his signature style, Vides has updated the BMW X4 M Competition for a new demographic. With his history in streetwear, Vides brings a contemporary edge to the German marque, “[Vides] perfectly understood how to showcase the design and lines of this vehicle with his artistic work. This is a unique collaboration with the art scene of LA and beyond,” notes BMW M GmbH CEO, Markus Flasch.
But, while the partnership is a savvy move for BMW, it runs much deeper than that. In fact, BMW x Joshua Vides amounts to a dream come true for Vides. We caught up with the man himself to find out more about his relationship with BMW M what this project really means to him.
Why does your style translate so naturally to the world of objects?
Joshua Vides: The entire concept of Reality to Idea is to highlight the shape and ideation process of an object. Meaning every object receives a specific design for its final form. If I drew a screw, you couldn’t use that artwork on a nut. With this approach, each product is different from the other and I think that’s why the concept continues to grow.
Was it difficult to begin translating your streetwear roots to better-known, official collaborations?
In reality, I’m doing exactly what I was doing as a streetwear owner. I'm creating a world of my own that allows others to be involved via design, experience, and product. What was my graphic T-shirt is now my canvas or sculpture, what was a pop-up shop is now my artistic experience, and what was my product still is with an elevation on quality and introduction to global partnerships.
Did you always envisage your style being applied to cars? How does your process change when working on a vehicle versus a sneaker, for example?
Organically, my artwork covers my interests. If you look at what I’ve painted or accomplished in the past years, I have an actual connection with all of those objects and spaces. I painted my first car in 2018 without any partnership, solely because I wanted to. As for process, everything is pretty similar: it all starts with a sketch, moves to the digital world for edits, and then I pick up the paintbrush. I allow just enough open space while I paint so I can improvise additional details.
We’ve seen a bunch of fashion-automotive crossovers in the past couple of seasons. Why do you think the two industries have started to work so closely together?
Well, think back to the Ford Expedition Eddie Bauer Edition! This has been going on for decades now, but the conversation is very different today. People like myself and other like-minded creatives are bringing more to the table. It’s one thing to get a license from a brand and slap a logo on a car, it’s another to work with a creative to redesign a vehicle from top to bottom, create experiences, and amazing products to take away from the moment on a global scale.
So do you think that the increasing number of automotive collaborations is a sign of things to come?
I think it’s similar to high fashion. Times are changing, and the youth is now being recognized more than ever. The doors are opening up, and we’re all ready to take the keys. I’m excited to see what automotive collaborations will look like 10 years from now, and I’m extremely grateful for having the opportunity to be a part of the blueprint.
BMW models, especially models like the E30, have always had a great synergy with the worlds of style and music. Did this influence your view of the brand?
The E30 body changed the game. I remember watching Will Smith step out of a black 325i Cabrio in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air or Money-Makin’ Mitch cruising the red 315 Convertible in Paid in Full. To me and a lot of others, the car was a sign of success. I’ve been a fan of BMW since the early ’90s and it was thanks to the E30 M3. I remember, someone in Rialto had an Alpine White E30 on gold BBS rims, and no matter what I was doing at the time, I’d stop and stare.
Did you encounter any surprises when working on the car?
Not at all. My only hurdle was to create the look and feel of a moving vehicle as I’ve never executed a car that way. I’m really happy with the final design and can’t wait for everyone else to see it.
Finally, how does your work connect with BMW? What does the partnership mean to you?
I think BMW and myself share a similar work ethic and attention to detail. We value each other for what we’ve accomplished in our own categories, and that’s why this collaboration makes sense. I’ve been a fan of BMW for the majority of my life. The connection between my work and BMW existed long before I knew what a BMW was. And hey, look at the other artists that BMW has worked with. I'm just happy to be here.
The world premiere of the BMW X4 M Competition by Joshua Vides took place at the exclusive [SPACE] by BMW showroom at The Grove in Los Angeles. Alongside the BMW X4 M Competition was a collection of merchandise including T-shirts, sweaters, pins, and mugs, as well as items by pro-skater Ishod Wair. The unique car is now open to the public as part of a vernissage with works by Vides.