The Happy Socks’ nothing-is-too-much aesthetics meet the Namibian-German artist Max Siedentopf in a twisted vision placed somewhere in between a retro horror flick set in 70’s suburbia and a bouncy castle.
Internationally acclaimed for his ability to turn everyday pieces into something you’d never expect, Max has been our dream collaborator for a while now.
There was just one thing we asked him to do: GO WILD. And boy, he did... The result: an undreamed-of mix of unique weirdness and beauty.
In Happy Socks x Max Siedentopf we’re thrown into a universe where chairs look way better up on the walls and socks can grow teeth. And obviously, it’s all set to the sounds of bells ringing and flutes playing.
Read our interview with Max and deep dive into his thought process and inspirations.
How would you describe your work to someone who’s seeing it for the first time?
Something that feels similar to when you put a banana, two nuns, a question mark and a depressed clown into a smoothie blender and film it in slow-motion.
What feeds your creativity?
A fresh smoothie and my daily surroundings.
Do you have any pop-cultural references that inspire you right now?
Those inspirations change as quickly as TikTok trends. 2020 was majorly inspired by our new normal and all the limits that were forced upon us, and the creative solutions pop-culture found to cope with those limitations to stay creative.
During quarantine you launched “Home Alone Survival Guide”. How did this idea come about and did you expect it to be as engaging as it turned out to be?
“Home Alone - A Survival Guide” was created right in the beginning of the lockdown. Almost all shoots were cancelled with everyone being stuck inside their own four walls and nothing to do. As challenging as this time was, I wanted to show that being stuck at home didn’t mean you had to feel stuck - your home actually provided an endless amount of creative possibilities. I decided to post a series of instructions of things you can do at home on social media - they were then photographed by people all around the world and sent back the same day. This collaboration went on for over 16 days amounting to 100 different instructions and over 1000 photos which were all compiled in a book. The entire project was always meant as a small experiment and never did I expect to gain so much engagement. I absolutely loved this large scale collaboration with people all around the world and all the creative outcomes that flourished from the project.
Many of your images play with the idea of expanding the limitations of a human body in terms of its flexibility, dimensions etc. What draws you to that topic?
It’s probably because I’m not flexible enough to touch my own toes!
Your work often touches upon the absurdity of your surroundings by emphasizing them, like in ‘’Tools To Secure School Safety’’ and ’’Security or How-To Survive In A Deadly Global Virus’’ . Did that play a part in your work with Happy Socks?
I think a pair of Happy Socks already brings enough absurdity into their own surroundings with the hot dog, broccoli or fried egg patterns - all I had to do was take a photo.
The models you select are always unique. What do you look for when casting for your projects?
I think if you look long and hard enough you might probably find some common denominators - however for me the search is usually more through a gut feeling. I’m not interested in stereotypical beauty you get to see in advertising - there are so many other and often more interesting people that don’t get enough exposure.
What excited you the most when Happy Socks contacted you for a possible collaboration?
My big toes were slowly peeking out of the front of my socks so the timing couldn’t have been better to get some decent-quality socks in every colour imaginable.
If you were to narrate the story happening in this photoshoot, how would you describe it? Who are these people and what/where is this house?
Unfortunately I can’t remember much of the shoot. The moment we all put the socks on, everything became very blurry and colorful. The only thing that remained of that day are the photos.
If you could design a pair of Happy Socks, what would they look like?
They would probably feature a good set of teeth so they can have a big bright smile to show how happy they are.