Dissecting of the most ambitious pro-audio marketing campaigns of 2020.
QSC Australia kicked into 2020 with some very striking and eye-catching artist collaborations unlike anything that has seen before in the powered speaker world. With a number of these unique artist boxes now announced, we got some insight into how the ‘More Than A Black Box’ initiative came about.
It all started with a wall. When Technical Audio Group opened its new Victorian office in 2019, it quickly became apparent that the huge side wall was a very sought-after piece of visual real estate. The wall had displayed some remarkable street art including Fintan Magee’s ‘The Refugee’ and when TAG moved in the wall was adorned with a huge anatomical dissection painting of a Kangaroo by the artist Nychos.
With the help of street art mogul Dean Sunshine, Melbourne photographer p1xels and eight spectacular street artists, a plan was hatched to bring the wall to life once again with an enormous collaborative work paying homage to the late great Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, just in time for the launch of the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition showcasing the work of these two legendary artists.
Over the course of three weekends, the TAG wall was stripped back to bare then piece by piece brought to life again with a sea of vibrant colour. The wall features portraits of Haring and Basquiat by Heesco, background painted by Conrad Bisjack and Chehehe. The wall was then wrapped up with five graffiti pieces by Dvate, Sabeth, Phibs, Ling and Duke.
This epic collaboration of unique styles and approaches was inspiring to witness, which got QSC Marketing Manager Nicholas Simonsen thinking about how they might continue to work with artists moving forward.
“As the work started, we quickly set up a pair of QSC speakers – as any audio guy would – to add music to the creative process. Watching the wall come to life with such wonderful colour was unreal and got our whole team inspired,” Simonsen said.
“The first idea that came to mind was sharing art with music and making our QSC K.2 speakers look as vibrant as they sound. From there, it was clear that we had the perfect means of showing that the K.2 speakers were so much more than a black box by working with a slew of talented artists and commissioning them to use the speakers as a canvas for their work.”
It seemed logical to start these collaboration’s with artist Chehehe, who was one of artists to contribute to the TAGV office wall project. The collaboration was then premiered via the spectacular urban arts festival Can’t Do Tomorrow at the end of February, which had over 15,000 people in attendance over the course of a week.
“Chehehe’s style was ideal and he really brought the speaker boxes to life with his artwork. Our first concept was to paint just the speaker grills, but Chehehe showed us very quickly, and very spectacularly, that the whole speaker cabinet was the canvas – not just the grille – and we realised this was something quite unique and quite special,” Simonsen commented.
The second collaboration was with multidisciplinary artist Knock, whose work is all about transporting people deep into their imagination and out of the realities of the world around them.
This stunning pair of K10.2 speakers and KS112 sub were integrated into Knock’s most recent exhibition ‘Tektoniks’ to create a visual and auditory exploration of indescribable tectonic forces that shape the landscape of planets above and below the surface.
Knock’s set of speakers were then placed in residence at Melbourne record store Oh! Jean Records so the public could see them on show. These painted speakers are 100% functional and Knock’s set has been used in the record store for recent in store performances, with more to come in the near future.
The third collaboration for the ‘More Than A Black Box’ campaign is with New Zealand-born artist Haser, who was a part of the aforementioned Can’t Do Tomorrow festival in February. Haser painted this pair of K10.2 speakers on site during the week of the festival, allowing festival attendees to see the artist transform the speakers with his style.
However, maybe the best part about QSC’s new campaign is that it’s only just getting started. With a number of these collaborations completed and more in progress, these unique, one of a kind sets of QSC speakers are now set to travel to a variety of locations around the country so that everyone can bear witness to the incredible stylings of these wonderful artists.
“Having Haser paint his pair of K.2’s during the festival was absolute magic,” Simonsen said.
“Thousands of punters got to see him put his style on the speakers with his canvas work serving as the perfect backdrop. No one in our market has gone down this road before and it seems to be catching everyone by surprise, which is a huge part of why it’s so exciting.
“The response to every collaboration we’ve announced so far has been amazing, and already we’re seeing others in the QSC community add art and colour to their speakers. We can’t wait to roll out more and more of these artist collaborations and hopefully inspire more people to bring their gear to life with some colour!”