Me Company

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London-based Me Company has been around for two decades, which would make it a veritable geezer in this business. But strangely enough, the illustration collective continues to remain associated with work that's inarguably on the cusp of cool. "The journey has often been a pursuit between creative, conceptual ideas alongside technological developments, exploring the symbiosis of technology and art," explains designer Paul White, who founded the shop in 1985, when he was helping to conceive the artwork for then-fledgling record label One Little Indian. That would be the home of the patroness of creative weirdness herself, Bjork, who has enlisted Me Company to do years of work on her face -for various album covers, posters, and music videos, of course. The shop's computer-savvy illustrations have also graced campaigns for Scion, Kenzo, and Nike.

Part of what explains Me Company's lasting freshness is that since its genesis, its artists' sights have been fixed obsessively toward the future. "Even in the days when technology hadn't made an impact on graphic production, there was still a very strong obsession with it," White notes. "Early on we played around with technological ideas like sampling, repetition, tesselations-things that seemed formed on a computer, but we actually did them by hand." You can imagine how hogwild they went when desktop tools finally became the norm in the last decade, during which they've demonstrated a more free-flowing exploration of hybrid styles. An editorial spread for Numero magazine merges warped photos of models and graphic CG treatments to create wild manga-pop imagery; a Kenzo campaign situates models in lush Edens overgrown with CG botanica. "With CG imagery, it's sometimes all too easy to have a look that generically you could call 'computery,' but we try to bestow more emotive content with our digital toolset," notes Me Company artist Jess Warren. Adds founder White, "One of the things that has come through in our work and that we very deliberately embrace is a sense of poetry. We don't want technology to be cold. We want technology to be warm."