HOW I CREATED A VAPORWAVE STYLE STILL LIFE FOR CROWN PAINTS

*This blog post is in collaboration with Crown Paints*

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll know that I’m all about people being themselves, whether that’s in their home, business or personal life. There is far too much talk of trends and ‘what’s in’ right now when honestly, I think the best thing you can do is work out what you personally really like and why. It’s my absolute key to successful decorating that lasts a lifetime.

I’ve worked with Crown paints on a few occasions. Do you remember I created these still life images using their ‘feature wall’ paint colours? I also then used their paints when I re decorated our living room a while back.

Sarah akwisombe crown paints
sarah akwisombe crown paints

I was really happy to be invited back this year to be part of their new ‘it’s not just paint, it’s personal’ campaign. I mean, that tag line alone had me like ‘hell yeessss!’

THE BRIEF

Crown asked me to create a still life set inspired by my own style and my favourite colours from their palettes. Also it was alongside some of my friends Jordan and Russell from 2LG studio and Abi from These Four Walls. We all have quite a different way of interpreting style so I knew that it would be really fun to see what they came up with too. We had complete choice over what we created and the colours we used. AWESOME!


crown paints influencers 2LG, sarah akwisombe, these four walls

MY IDEAS

I knew pretty early on that I wanted to take my obsession with Vaporwave and bring it to life. Vaporwave is basically an appropriation of 80s-90s internet culture. I grew up in the 90s making websites on geocities using stuff that looks like the whole Vaporwave aesthetic and it influences a lot of my design choices now (think kitsch, tacky and in your face). Crown had four colours that really suited this style: Lavender cupcake, Peek-a-boo Blue (a vivid sky blue) , Rebel (a charcoal dark grey) and clay white.

Lavender Cupcake and Peek-a-boo blue worked so well together. The ombre effect was exactly what I had in mind. They’re reminiscent of acid 90s colours and were similar enough in tone to create a blended look.

The Clay white and Rebel are perfect for creating a grid. I always like to mix in some neutral colours to really ‘earth’ a colour palette, even if it’s as in your face as Lavender and sky blue!

Back to the props, at one point I had an idea of a giant plastic dolphin rising out of the floor but it proved slightly too difficult to source ha ha!

I then sketched out some ideas and put together a mood board..

SOURCING

I had created quite a simple design but I needed to source the pieces. I needed the following:

  • A column and bust (couldn’t be stone as too heavy)

  • A bespoke Japanese style acrylic sign

  • A vintage 90s blow up chair

  • plant and pot

First, I called on my friend Amy Exton who is a brilliant set designer to help me source the bust and column as I thought I’d probably need something that had been created as a prop, not a proper garden ornament! She pointed me to Peter Evans Studios who do loads of cool set stuff. This place is an absolute goldmine of fun bits!

Next, I got hunting on eBay for a retro 90s blow up chair. Couldn’t be that hard to find right? WRONG! Turns out these things are pretty rare now and the new ones weren’t int he transparent style that I wanted. When I finally found one, the seller wanted £100 quid for it! With a bit of haggling I got it for £50 plus postage, which I could just about deal with. Those things used to be £20 back in my day!

The plant was pretty easy, I just headed to my local Ikea. Lastly, the bespoke acrylic sign. Let me tell you I had a MARE with this one. My lovely friend Lisa from Nikao Jewellery could help me design the sign (it says ‘crown’ in Japanese) and pick out coloured acrylics as she had a supplier she used for some of her jewellery pieces. Cool.

It was all looking great but when the sign arrived it had smashed during delivery. ARRGH!

 
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Luckily, we still had time to get another. Guess what happened? The second one arrived broken too.

 
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All the while I was in Paris on a work trip trying to organise redelivers and pickups. As a last resort my husband said he would drive to the workshop directly to pick it up. Finally, all sorted and safe (we were running very close to the shoot day at this point).

In another country on another work trip, after the sign had finally been collected, I rang hubby to tell him my flight had been delayed. ‘I have something to tell you’ he said. ‘Ok…’ I said, nervously.

‘I broke the sign.’

ARRGHHHHHHH! This was the night before the shoot. There was no way of getting a new one. He decided I’d have to superglue it back together on set. Laugh cry! Let’s just say hubby had a very stony silence from me on the phone.

SHOOT DAY

Gathering my props, I jumped in a cab to the shoot. Everyone was on set when I arrived, and we set about getting our props ready, and in my case, glued back together!

After spending about an hour pumping up my chair and roping in various members of crew, I was ready to shoot.

 
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…and here are the final images!

It all comes together in the end doesn’t it! Of course there are loads more colours to see over on the Crown website. What do you think of my vaporwave inspired set?

S x