“I think color is a universal language that everyone shares and understands,” Sudbrack said on a recent afternoon in Brooklyn. “Color not only concentrates energy but also transmits energy. It’s a tool to bring people together. And I think we need to be brought together. That’s the core, basic thinking of my work.”
The Brazilian-born artist—who splits his time between New York and São Paolo and also uses the alias AVAF, or Assume Video Astro Focus—is the latest to collaborate with Michael Kors on the Watch Hunger Stop campaign, now entering its sixth year. Sudbrack designed this year’s vibrant T-shirt with an original interpretation of the number zero, symbolic of the United Nations’ goal of achieving Zero Hunger in the world by 2030. His large, black zero is obscured by illustrations of the countries in the world most in need of food aid, where the U.N.’s World Food Programme (WFP) concentrates its efforts. “I wanted the countries to somehow work as colorful clouds that eventually cover the zero—thus symbolizing the end of world hunger,” he said. (Every T-shirt sold will trigger a donation of 100 meals to hungry children through WFP.*)
Sudbrack is no stranger to fashion collaborations: in 2011, he designed site-specific installations for Comme des Garçons’ global flagship stores and worked with Lady Gaga to dream up “Gaga’s Workshop” for Barneys New York. Collaborations appeal to him in that they enable him to extend his influence beyond the art world cognoscenti; Sudbrack favors a more inclusive, far-reaching artistic practice. “Immediately, I realized that fashion would take my work to the world,” he said. “As artists, we’re usually limited to reaching people who frequent museums and galleries. I’ve always thought that was way too restrictive.” Philanthropy is another way Sudbrack aims to expand his reach, with hopes to effectively change the world. “When I was invited to this Watch Hunger Stop project, I was so happy to finally do something where I could reach out and help people’s lives in a very concrete way,” Sudbrack said. “I come from a country that has a lot of issues with hunger and education. If we could solve those two problems, the world would be different.”
*For each Watch Hunger Stop t-shirt purchased from a Michael Kors retail store or official Michael Kors website, Michael Kors will donate 100 meals (US $25) to WFP. Visit www.watchhungerstop.com for more details.