During an exclusive event at Art Miami, Hublot unveils its new Classic Fusion Aerofusion Chronograph Orlinski timepiece created in collaboration with French artist Richard Orlinski. This brand-new collection combines one of Orlinski’s signature styles of working with facets that totally changes the look of this Classic Fusion timepiece. Revolution’s Sophie Furley caught up with him in his Paris apartment just before the show to learn more about his work and this exciting collaboration with Hublot.
How did your partnership with Hublot come into being?
Richard Orlinski (RO): It came about thanks to my existing friendship with Jean-Claude Biver, who had the idea of working together. He introduced Ricardo (Guadeloupe) to me and we decided to create a watch together. It was a project that was both interesting for me and for Hublot. We have a similar DNA as well as a vision of life that is quite alike too, so it was something that became quite spontaneous and natural.
How does a partnership like this help you as an artist?
RO: I don’t know as we haven’t started yet! But so far, one of the fruits of this collaboration is that it was a really fun project to work on. It is great to work with such a prestigious brand and it is wonderful to create your own watch. It is also really something to embark on a project that is quite daring as we played around with the watch case. We will see how it goes, but above all it is a project that has brought me a lot of satisfaction.
Can you tell us about the creative process?
RO: I started by looking at Hublot’s designs, the DNA of their watches etc., and then I reinterpreted the watch in my own way. I arrived at the manufacture with sketches already done. In fact, I came with everything already finished and then Hublot worked off of my drawings. I didn’t just turn up — I had already put in a lot of work before the first technical meeting.
Did you come across any particular challenges in creating a watch?
RO: We did, as we wanted to play around with the case and I don’t know anything about the technical side of watchmaking, it wasn’t easy to find solutions for all of my ideas, but we got very close with 90% of my designs being incorporated into the watch.
Can you tell us about your choice of titanium and ceramic for the case?
RO: We worked together on the materials. It was teamwork with the Hublot people; we got on really well and we worked together just like I do with my team here. It was a joint design process which was very natural.
What appealed to you about Hublot in particular?
RO: For the collaboration, it was really the freedom they gave me to create, but as I am also a friend of the brand, it was also my desire to share and create something together. I also feel that they are really ahead of the competition in many ways. The brand has a lot of energy which is boosted by their management, whose aspirations are totally in line with my own.
You recently visited the manufacture, what were your impressions?
RO: It is a truly magical place. I was impressed by the robots with hundreds of tools that come into play to work on a component with such precision. I use certain machines for my work too, but nothing like that. The manufacture is really something to see. It was definitely worth the trip.
Did you wear a watch before this project?
RO: I am actually a watch collector, but I mostly collect vintage watches.
Do you remember your first watch?
RO: Absolutely, my first watch was a gift from my grandmother. It was a Bulgari, when Bulgari was relatively unknown. I loved it because it was something that no one else had. I also had other watches that were quartz with red and green LED displays.
What do you have planned for Art Miami?
RO: Well, it is the big unveiling of the watch of course, but I also have a gallery where we are going to present something that is between art and horology, and there will be a party too, so quite a few things going on.
You started your artistic career later in life, was there a defining moment for you?
RO: I did start late, but then again I have been an artist since I was four years old, but I never believed that you could earn a living from being an artist, so I took a more traditional path. After a while I had had enough. I had succeeded in what I was doing and just didn’t want to go any further. I was wearing a suit that just didn’t reflect who I was, so I decided to completely change what I was doing and go into something that I really wanted to do.
You are currently the world’s bestselling contemporary French artist. What would you say has been the secret to your success?
RO: I don’t know if there are any secrets. I think a lot of it has been luck, but also a great deal of hard work. I think that the fact that I didn’t start straight away brought me additional experience that helped. I think it is also important to try and predict what people will like. My work is quite mainstream and I’m lucky in that what I like appeals to quite a few people.
If you were to give advice to a youngster wishing to take the same path as you, what would you say?
RO: It’s not a good idea! It is a tough field where it is really difficult to succeed. I go back to my thoughts when I was younger – so few artists succeed – but you have to believe in your dreams, do everything you can and work hard. I believe that if you give yourself the means and work hard, you can succeed, but you need to be tough so you can take a few punches. It is not always easy, but I would say don’t give up.
What does a typical day look like for you?
RO: Well, I go to bed late because I am in contact with many different countries across the world and the hours are obviously not the same. I try and give time to each of my creations, whether it is my art, music, theater or our Hublot watch project! Each day I am managing all the different creative areas of my life. I rarely eat at midday and I have a lot of meetings throughout the day. I am very busy and it is very intense. There is always something going on.
Apart from the watch, what else are you working on right now?
RO: I have so many projects on the go. I am currently working on a show for 2019 and it will be coming to Switzerland too. It is a kind of experience more than a play. Whenever I go to the theater I’m often bored as you just sit there doing nothing, so this is something completely different where we take emotions and let the audience participate, so it is interactive. There will be music, comedy and art, for example. The idea is to call upon all different kinds of emotions and senses that affect the human body. What I want is that for an hour and a half the audience really enjoy themselves.
How do you find the time for all these different creative projects?
RO: I don’t sleep much! I have a lot of help from my team too which includes between 150 and 200 people, depending on what I am up to.
Who do you think the future buyers of this watch will be – watch or art aficionados?
RO: Hopefully both. The watch was made for everyone.