Although pop-star Justin Bieber has quite a few haters out there, he has recently been in a seemingly spiritual transitional period, co-aligned with the release of his latest album, Purpose. The young adult has an amassed 42.5 million followers on Instagram – so when we heard he commissioned 18 different graffiti artists in 18 different cities, we did some Belieb-searching.
Truth be told, the feisty little Canuck got our attention earlier this year with an admittedly creative music video concept. But after some Instagram stalking we found out Bieber is apparently a self-professed street art enthusiast. This made it no surprise when we read that for his upcoming album Purpose, Bieber commissioned these lucky 18 street artists to create original works for each of the 18 songs on the album.
Beginning last week, street artists began to install works all over the world in cities like New York, LA, Paris, Berlin, and Sydney. Rather than painting Bieber’s likeness, the artists painted the titles of each song with names ranging from “I’ll Show You” in London to “Sorry” in Paris. The styles tend to favor old-school graffiti techniques with bubble letters and tons of color (despite the obviously angsty titles). Bieber’s team has also created a tab on his website that features an interactive map of the “track list” which links to the street artist’s Instagram accounts.
Though the album’s cover art was surprisingly created by renowned street-artist RETNA, the artists for the marketing campaign are all fairly new to the street art community (we’re talking under 1,000 followers for some). The artist behind the mural in Toronto, Kyle Howard, said in an interview that he had no contact with Biebs or his team, that the label simply contacted him and gave him a few days notice.
“All I was given was the name of the song and complete creative freedom,” says Howard. “That’s a big part of what made the campaign so cool.”
One can only imagine the amount of selfies that are currently being snapped all over the world in front of this artwork…or the vandalism it will inspire once city dwellers catch on to who is behind the campaign. Regardless of whose idea it was, it’s a pretty creative marketing technique and a great exposure opportunity for the artists involved.
All images via Bieb’s Instagram @justinbieber
Oh, and in case you’ve never seen images of Bieber’s personal attempts at graffiti…it’s extremely worth it (that penguin though…).