In a special project with Kiehl’s for the holiday season, Jeremyville talks skincare, and the magic of art and Christmas
He first blew up social media with his idiosyncratic artistic flair before going on to decorate walls and windows, as well as clinching commissions by names such as A la Mere De Famille (one of the oldest and most prestigious chocolatiers around) and French fashion retailer Colette — the latter resulting in a face-to-face with Karl Lagerfeld who became a fan of his work. It certainly appears Jeremyville is moving up in the world, but the Brooklyn-based artist remains as humble as they come. Even with a rapidly growing renown, he's still nurturing one of his initial projects, a series of illustrated Community Service Announcement messages via his own newspaper, which he personally takes to the streets to distribute.
Having inked his artwork with various product and fashion collabs over the last few years, Jeremyville is no stranger to partnering up. But being elected to illustrate the annual Kiehl's holiday collection strikes a significant chord, as both brand and artist share a mutual love of community (with the extra aim of putting a smile on someone's face). So what makes the Kiehl's x Jeremyville partnership the biggest and brightest holiday collection yet? Let the artist sprinkle his unique brand of winter-wonderland and get caught up on why this limited edition packaging is exactly the festive merriment to get for your loved ones.
Why did you decide to partner with Kiehl's? A few years ago, we had created a streetscape drawing of the Kiehl's flagship store in the West Village, so we already had an idea of the working relationship. It was totally pleasurable and an absolute joy to work with the creative and highly professional Kiehl's NYC team. So, that's how we got started!
Studio Jeremyville gets many offers for projects; we seriously turn down about 80 pre cent of them. It has to be the right fit, grow us and challenge us creatively in some way. We're not a normal design studio; we're more art-based and concept-based. It's all about the collaboration, going deep on a project and making something memorable and great. It's trying to change the world through art and messages. So, when we were invited to be involved in Kiehl's Holiday program, it was an instant yes! Kiehl's is a brand on a similar journey, trying to make a difference in this world. Kiehl's also has a similar stance to our studio, so it was a perfect fit in terms of our shared mission.
What's your first memory of Kiehl's? I've actually been a fan since I was about 12, when a now friend of ours was the first to sell Kiehl's in Sydney in the mid '90s. He had a big Kiehl's wall area in his influential store called REMO on Oxford Street in Sydney that showcased lots of concepts from overseas. At the time, not many people in Sydney had heard of Kiehl's — it was more a New York phenomenon. Instantly, I was taken by the simple, clean packaging design, the apothecary feel and the heritage. I knew instantly that it was a brand with its own unique voice and stance. It actually had an impact on my design sensibility at that early, impressionable age. Later, I tried the products when I was about 16, and I was hooked. That's how this artist kid from Sydney ended up instantly loving Kiehl's, and here I now am working with one of my favorite brands. How special is that?
What was the creative inspiration for the collection? I wanted to reinterpret the feeling of the holidays with a New York twist. The Kiehl's team had the brief to bring a connection to the project, and my art generally has a sense of community and inclusiveness, and yes optimism, so it was definitely a natural fit creatively. I've also lived in NYC for about eight years now; it's my new home after Bondi Beach in Australia, and I've really embraced the whole holiday feel that New York City can do so well. The scent of spruce trees, fairy lights on the trees, snow in Central Park, drinks by an open fire, scarves, overcoats, walking down 5th Avenue looking at the windows, smiles and real connections with great friends and family. I wanted to capture all of that in ink for Kiehl's.
Describe the final artwork you created with Kiehl's, including the significance of some of the characters. Megan Mair, the creative director at Studio Jeremyville, came to me one day with a really beautiful pencil drawing of a girl skating in Central Park, and a winter wonderland scene. She loves that time of year. She often skates in Central Park and she's a natural on the ice so that was a beautiful image, coming from a real place and a real experience, and I reinterpreted it in my own style for the main scene. The skater has the spirit of Megan and the spirit of everyone truly enjoying winter in New York City. I made a snowman in my imagination by packing snow crystal into shapes, included a reindeer delivering presents like a NYC courier, and a talking tree who holidays upstate in Woodstock.
What are your favorite Kiehl's products? The Midnight Recovery Concentrate is definitely my top favorite. It's on my bedside table; I use it every night as aromatherapy. It calms me after a long day, and instantly puts me at ease. I take it travelling too. It's perfect after a long flight. I just put some on before exiting the plane and it revitalizes you. It can either wake me up or calm me down. It's amazing. I also love Crème de Corps as a general go-to.
What does the holiday season mean to you? Time to enjoy the winter in New York with good friends. We often have 'smores at the fire pit in our Brooklyn Brownstone, and that's always a fun night. Pizza, red wine and 'smores in a Brooklyn backyard on a cold winter's night. Very New York.
What do you like to do for the holidays? When it gets too cold in NYC, I head back to Bondi Beach in Sydney Australia, where I still have a studio by the beach. I hang there, swim, run, and eat coconuts. I then ask my NYC friends if the snow has melted yet, and head back as if nothing happened. Simple plan really. Of course, I take my Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate with me for the long haul flight to Sydney; 26 hours!
Your favorite holiday tradition? Drinks by the fireplace at SoHo House in the Meatpacking District, picking a spruce tree for our Brooklyn Brownstone parlor floor, adding the fairy lights on the front stairs of the stoop, and to the tree so they're on every night during the holidays. It's a lovely feeling, and a special time for me.
The Kiehl's x Jeremyville limited edition collection is available at Kiehl's stores and counters