“When reality seems overwhelming we tend to seek escapism in the imagery surrounding us,” says Constantin Prozorov from his studio in Paris. It’s true; as consumers, as humans, we seem to be seeking hope and inspiration in the visual culture around us now more than ever.
The collage artist has found his niche in creating surreal digital dreamscapes for major fashion clients; composing visions of a surreal world that invite millions of people to escape into imaginative parallel realities. Through a digital technique fusing visual references from classical art, high fashion and popular culture, Prozorov’s work has been at the forefront of a collage ‘renaissance’ over the past few years, inspiring luxury brands to explore the ‘art’ of advertising beyond the physical world.
Any close observer of Porzorov’s work must wonder what it might be like to spend a day inside his brain. He is like a sponge, absorbing an explosion of visual and sensory stimuli every day, deeply sensitive to the nuances of the human experience which are often difficult to capture in words. Graduating with a degree in Fashion and Communication Design at the German Masterschool for Fashion in Munich, Prozorov knows the powerful role that narratives and storytelling play in expressing the allure, heritage and identity of luxury brands. More than works of art, his collages are documents of a global social and cultural evolution, exploring potential realities, drawing inspiration from past, present and future to muse on the possible. In truth, his inspiration for the fashion collages that captured the attention of houses like Gucci, Moncler and Louis Vuitton doesn’t necessarily come from the fashion world.
“I have always been inspired by the works of artists like Hieronymus Bosch, Henri Rousseau, Yayoi Kusama and Salvador Dali. At the moment I draw a lot of ideas from the Mexican surrealists like Leonora Carrington, Remedios Varo, and of course, Frida Kahlo. These artists focus on creating new worlds that stimulate our imagination and thereby create a new reality for us,” says Prozorov.
“Over the past few years I’ve been very inspired by designers like Alessandro Michele and Virgil Abloh, and also by directors like Tim Burton, Wes Anderson and Steven Spielberg. For me, these are personalities who use their art to tell stories and do so with such a love for detail.”
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In the vein of the surrealist artists who created mesmerising parallel worlds exploring the mystique and strange beauty of ‘the unexpected’, Prozorov arranges a seemingly unlikely combination of objects, humans, animals, textures and colours that challenge our perception of reality, and his viewer is immersed in an experience of the ‘familiar made strange’. Each layer of his collage is a new layer of imagination, an infinite source of exploration and possibility. For the artist, the mystique of the collage art form is the endless opportunity it provides for research and discovery. This is seen in his more recent foray into animated collages that propel his style into yet another dimension.
“Over the last few years, I have been able to refine my collage technique, and, above all, I continued to experiment with mixing techniques, from which the collage animation evolved,” he shares.
“For a recent project with a luxury client I created a 360-degree collage over two metres in size for their website. It is an interactive collage in which some of the elements are moving already pre-programmed. The viewer gets the opportunity to interact with the surreal world, for example, by clicking on selected elements which then come to life, and you have the opportunity to go on a 360-degree journey within the fantasy world.”
Whether one considers it art or advertising, Prozorov’s work continues to prove a powerful tool for marketing and communications within the luxury fashion sphere, showcasing his signature finesse in seamlessly integrating the two. Every brand or product he features in his collages – be it a fuchsia padded Gucci leather jacket or a lineup of garments from the latest Louis Vuitton menswear collection – assumes a new artistic meaning of its own beyond its physical and intended reality.
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The artist considers his #LOUIS200 collaboration with Louis Vuitton in 2021 one of the highlights of his career so far, a project for which he created a digital collage celebrating the house’s 200-year anniversary. His artwork was showcased in the windows of Louis Vuitton boutiques globally and toured the world as part of a group exhibition starting in Paris before travelling to Singapore, Los Angeles and New York.
“The piece I created was a surreal interpretation of Louis Vuitton’s world. It was very important for me to express the past, present and future of the house in my image. The trunk represents the revolutionary inventiveness of Louis Vuitton, the last collection by Virgil Abloh, and the present identity of the house. My digital collage technique took people on a virtual journey around the world, and into the future,” he says.
Global collaborations with luxury brands continue to see his art reach audiences of millions worldwide. In 2019 he had free rein in creating three animations for Moncler as part of another major collaboration, which have been viewed over 30 million times on Instagram. His collaboration with Gucci garnered a similarly enthusiastic response. Even today these animations captivate global audiences as an invitation to escape into parallel universes that transcend social, cultural and gender-based boundaries that are often inherent in other advertising mediums.
The eyes of the world will soon be tantalised by more of Prozorov’s work. He is determined to continue expanding his artistic range and reach. He is currently engaged in creating some of his most ambitious projects to date, including collaborations with an automotive company and a luxury department store found in several cities. As his artistic identity continues to evolve, so too does his responsibility as a storyteller intent on stimulating viewers’ imaginations through the universes he creates. The artist seems to have the world (and beyond) in his grasp. He is riding the surge of creative momentum towards new career feats like books and films. With an exuberant and almost childlike sense of optimism, Prozorov reminds us of the power that comes from having a dream and following it with single-minded determination.
“The advice I give to people is to listen to what others have to say, but then go out into the world and make your own experiences. Find your own inspiration, and always trust your intuition. It’s always right.”