The intimate affair held at Industria New York City showcased artwork by this year’s V.S Limited Edition designer, Felipe Pantone. Felipe’s vision for the 9th annual V.S Limited Edition design was “Remixing the Present” a theme in which Pantone investigates and depicts how life’s in a constant state of flux and that we must understand the past to know the present and be able to remix it. On this year’s V.S Limited Edition collaboration, Pantone pays homage to Maurice Hennessy by reprising and remixing a classic three star logo found in the Hennessy archives used by Maurice himself. The design also features prism-like graphics with a blue, yellow and red gradient overlaid onto black and white patterns pictured below. Hennessy’s V.S Limited-Edition collaboration is available for purchase at retailers and online for a limited time.
The night of the preview, Industria was transformed into an art gallery with a live DJ and complimentary cocktails, including “The Dimensional,” A$AP Ferg and Pantone’s remixed recipe from their limited edition remixed Hennessy cocktail kit. The Pantone x A$AP Ferg REMIXED Cocktail Kit will be available exclusively at cocktailcourier.com starting August 1st for $120.
A$AP Ferg is an artist, trend-setter, entrepreneur and brand, so it’s only natural that he partnered with the lucrative and stylish liquor brand for this REMIXED cocktail kit. With partnerships and collaborations with Revlon, Tiffany’s, Hennessy, and a new album on the way, Ferg is making 2019 his year. We had a chance to catch up with both Pantone and Ferg about their relationship with Hennessy, their love and passion for the brand and upcoming work like Ferg’s Floor Seats.
The Knockturnal: What made you interested in partnering with Hennessy on this collaboration?
Felipe Pantone: I had every reason, I’m the 9th artist, the 8 before me, they’re pretty much like my idols when I was younger, so I’ve known about this collaboration for many years, so when they told me I didn’t believe it.
The Knockturnal: Can you discuss the design process and how closely you worked with Hennessy on the design creation?
Felipe Pantone: Very closely, I went and saw how they make the product, the whole process, I spent quite a bit of time in the archives browsing what they’ve done before, especially for me as a graphic artist it’s so dope to see century-old posters and labels, so there’s many elements I got from those and things that I saw.
The Knockturnal: Where did you draw inspiration from when coming up with the design?
Felipe Pantone: We live in a fast-paced world where change is very important, so transformation is a huge theme in my work, perception also plays a big role, for example we are introduced to new things everyday like virtual reality and things that f*** with your perception. That’s a big thing for me, you’ll see that all over my artwork, things I do for galleries and in the streets and I think it’s a very present feeling that we don’t know what’s happening with the world when everything changes so quickly.
The Knockturnal: Getting to design this year’s latest Hennessy V.S Limited Edition bottle was definitely a big achievement in your career, can you name three other big milestones you’ve had so far?
Felipe Pantone: The first train I ever painted which was near my home in Valencia was a big milestone. Throwing my first exhibition in Paris was a big deal for me, it’s been a center of the arts for a couple centuries and my exhibition in New York was very important for me.
The Knockturnal: Who are some of your contemporaries whose work you admire?
Felipe Pantone: All of the guys that did this before, I’ve always been connected to them and followed what they did. Kaws, Vhils, Shepard Fairey, of course they were huge and super inspirational for me. Carlos Cruz-Diez is a super important artist for me, just by looking at his work I’ve learned so much and then he’s 95 I got to meet him at his studio and that was huge.
The Knockturnal: You’ve designed the Hennessy VS limited edition bottle, can fans expect you to keep branching out and maybe enter the fashion world? What can fans expect next?
Felipe Pantone: Cannot talk much about it right now, but I may do something in fashion soon. Lately I’ve been focusing on gallery work mostly, and trying to do less brands and more gallery shows and museums shows, a few of which I have planned for next year. I think you do these things when they really make sense.
The Knockturnal: Any piece of advice for aspiring artists?
Felipe Pantone: For me, the most important thing for is to learn about art history, to see what’s been done before. It’s a little bit like science I guess, if Penicillin has been discovered already, you don’t want to discover it again. That is very important for me to learn what’s been done before, also I think it’s important to be true to yourself and not to please anyone because if you try that you won’t get anywhere. The most honest you are the more specific your messages will be and if it’s that honest and that specific people are going to connect with it somehow and empathize with it.
The Knockturnal: What’s your favorite Henessy cocktail, aside from the signature kit collection?
Felipe Pantone: Just make it simple Hennessy with ginger ale.
The Knockturnal: How did the Hennessy partnership come about?
A$AP Ferg: Hennessy has always been on my bucket list to work with just because it’s a wonderful brand and it came about organically through one of my friends who works with Hennessy, Anna, she introduced me to everyone and kind of made it happen.
The Knockturnal: How did you help make the new cocktail kit your own?
A$AP Ferg: I like fruity drinks, I hate the way strong drinks taste. When they were talking about blending and the mixologist was calling, I was like man I wanna taste a tropical drink, something you might have had in Dyckman or if you went to DR.
The Knockturnal: What’s your favorite Hennessy cocktail?
A$AP Ferg: The “Dimensional!”
The Knockturnal: Who are some of your style and fashion icons/ inspirations?
A$AP Ferg: I’m inspired by all of the Spanish guys that I grew up seeing playing dominos and the drug dealers in the neighborhood that drove fast cars and got Dapper Dan custom fits made, Mike Tyson when he was with Naomi Campbell walking with his shirt off in the streets, that’s what I’m inspired by.
The Knockturnal: You studied fine arts and fashion in high school, if you weren’t doing music do you think you would be working in fashion? If so, what specifically would you be doing?
A$AP Ferg: If I wasn’t making music, yes- probably not even exclusively because I feel like I’m an artist who expresses myself through many different ways. It’s not even that I don’t wanna limit myself – I just naturally- for me to create a song I’m naturally thinking about the visuals, then I’m thinking about what I would wear in that visual, so I wanna design clothes and I’m getting inspired by the art and just the environments I’m in. I’d be designing for sure.
The Knockturnal: Is your latest project Floor Seats complete? Can you talk about the experience of working on the album?
A$AP Ferg: It was finished months ago, actually “Pups” is a joint off of there, and I just dropped “Wigs” featuring City Girls and ANTHA my artist and we just put out a new version with Asian Da Brat. Floor Seats is geared towards me working with more females, I wanted to gear the music more towards females because I witnessed the success of “Plain Jane” working with Nicki and it was just crazy. I loved the response from women so I wanted to collab with more female artists. I got Rico Nasty on a song, I got a female artist ANTHA and then there’s City Girls who all the girls love and Asian.
The Knockturnal: What was your favorite collaboration off the album?
A$AP Ferg: That’s hard because some songs are four years old, I got a song with Ty Dolla Sign that’s four years old called “Ride.”
The Knockturnal: Why wasn’t it included on your last project?
A$AP Ferg: I feel like my brand wasn’t ready for that type of song, I had to make my bread and catch up to that type of song. You can’t give people a hard curve into a new direction, you gotta kinda spoon feed them into this new direction and give them a taste of what it might feel like, lowkey like seduce them into something they might not know they love.
The Knockturnal: Can you tell us more about ANTHA and how you discovered her?
A$AP Ferg: I grew up with ANTHA and she’s always been an amazing artist and I was looking for someone in the game, particularly a female to jump on my records and I was combing through a lot of the artists and I wasn’t finding that. ANTHA reminds me of a mixture between a Kelis, a Lil Kim, a Missy meets Adina Howard meets Keyshia Cole meets Mary J. Blige all in one and then also like a female version of me because she’s so versatile. When I started working with her we started exchanging a lot of ideas.
The Knockturnal: Where was most of the project recorded? Harlem? Different studios?
A$AP Ferg: I recorded a lot of it in LA, I recorded a lot of Floor Seats in Soho, mostly between LA and New York. I recorded the song “Ride” with Ty Dolla in a house in the hills.
The Knockturnal: What have you done differently with this project that you didn’t with your last ones?
A$AP Ferg: I’ve expressed myself more and literally given people Floor Seats to my life. I gave people VIP access into my life and catering to the ladies way more.
The Knockturnal: Saw your in depth sit down with Joe Budden, really enjoyed listening to the interview. You mentioned you wish you could have created more visuals for b-side records – If you could go back and do visuals for some of your records which would you choose?
A$AP Ferg: I would have done a visual for “Grandma” on Always Strive and Prosper and “Strive” featuring Missy, I would have done a visual for the Chris Brown record, “Let You Go” – pretty much all of them I wanna create visuals for all of my songs just because I’m so visual as an artist and I want people to know what I’m talking about.
The Knockturnal: You mentioned to Joe that you have to do what makes you happy and that last year music wasn’t it – what were you working on last year that was making you happy?
A$AP Ferg: Last year I was just working on myself and gearing myself up for the next level because the reason the music wasn’t getting me excited was that I wasn’t in a place to make music because I was in a transitional period where I got new management. I was just getting my infrastructure right and just making sure I was ready for what’s next.
The Knockturnal: You mentioned to Joe that Pharrell’s been a type of mentor to you, did you ever imagine you would have that type of relationship with him?
A$AP Ferg: I’m kinda surprised we’re as cool as we are, but Pharrell is an awesome guy – like him being a mentor, like a big brother to me is something that I didn’t even dream about. He’s a person that inspired me coming up, by making music and doing fashion and for him to gravitate towards me and be like, “Yo let’s get in the studio..I didn’t forget we gotta go back in-let’s meet up in New York, nah let’s meet up in Miami, where you at” and to continuously pushing us to collaborate and partner up on things was amazing to me and just talking to him about normal things, life, finances and business moves and opportunities.
The Knockturnal: How have you been coping emotionally with not having your brothers over here, especially while you’re gearing up for this release?
A$AP Ferg: It sucks and every time I think about the fact that Rocky is locked up, I’m flabbergasted, I can’t believe it, he’s not the guy for that, he’s just really not the guy. It’s unbelievable, but we all got him in our prayers and working as hard as we can to get him out.
The Knockturnal: Is there any piece of advice you want to give aspiring artists?
A$AP Ferg: I would say as an artist you gotta completely be yourself and be cool with that because that’s what’s gonna shine and make you a superstar, if you coming in this game to copy people and duplicate what’s been done already it’s not going to do anyone any justice, I believe in this world everyone should show their own colors and be unique because that’s when you make the best work.
The Knockturnal: What do you think you’re achieving with Floor Seats that you weren’t able to with past projects?
A$AP Ferg: Basically solidifying my spot and telling people I’m here to stay, I’ve been doing it for so long – I’m a hitmaker, I can do this forever, I’m here forever. This project is solidifying the brand and launching new artists with it.
The Knockturnal: You spoke about ANTHA earlier, who you have featured on “Wigs,” who are other developing artists that you have your eye on?
A$AP Ferg: I’ve been working a lot with Frankie P who produced “Wigs,” he produced “Pups” for me and Rocky, he’s worked on most of the Trap Lord album with me and he’s been with me since day one. He’s really blowing up right now and I got Tweak Tune whose another dope artist, he’s a producer, he produced “WAM” with me and MadeinTYO, he’s also been in the studio with Timbaland cooking up some stuff, he has a lot of promising records, he produced the record with me and Rico Nasty on Floor Seats. We got some up and coming producers and artists, a lot of fresh energy around.
Photo Credit: Hennessy