Timeless midcentury design meets iconic images of the American West in an exclusive collaboration at Modernica.
Brothers and Modernica owners, Jay & Frank Novak, have known renowned photographer Jim Krantz since childhood. The lifelong friends recently collaborated on a project that blends the best of what they do, in the form of classic shell chairs embellished with Krantz's imagery of cowboys and cattle. The Way of the West Collection is available exclusively at Modernica in a limited-edition of eight chairs. Here Jay Novak and Jim Krantz discuss the collection, their shared history, and love of art and design.
Share your common history. Jay Novak: Jim and I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska. Our families were friends, so its been great to be able to work together later in life. Jim Krantz: Our friendship began many years ago before we both left and pursued our interests, mine being photography, Jay and Frank in antiques and salvage. What is most exciting to me is collaborating with my lifelong friends in a new interpretation of an American Classic times two.
What inspired the Way of the West Collection of eight one-of-a-kind chairs? JK: The images were edited and designed to work either individually as a group [and] showcase the west and the cowboy in particular. I have chosen to illustrate these images in the way a film negative appears once it is processed in the darkroom for two reasons. First, the image is abstracted and taken out of the literal and second, as an homage to my deep appreciation of working in a darkroom and experiencing the excitement of seeing a wet negative appearing after processing.
Why was the Eames chair “the one”? JK: When I saw the sweeping shape of the chairs I beheld a canvas for my work. The fiberglass chair is also an American icon as is the iconography of the cowboy. JN: The fiberglass side shell is iconic and timeless, which makes it a perfect canvas for art. Also, the chair was designed and developed in Los Angeles and is the first fiberglass consumer product that was ever introduced. It is an important product of SoCal.
How were the photographs applied to the surface? JN: Jim’s photographs are embedded inside the fiberglass by proprietary methods developed by Modernica.
How has the collection been received? JN: The Modernica audience has been really receptive. This project is like no other we’ve ever done, so it really stood out. The imagery and setting that Jim used to photograph the chairs is a unique environment that is not the typical way we shoot our products, which makes people gravitate toward it and engage in conversation.
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