Artists and Designers Steffen Schwartz and Andrea Ciccolo collaborate on both eccentric artwork and footwear design, that taps into the ideals of their brand name: 5th Dimension. From painting to sculpture to fashion design, Schwartz and Ciccolo stretch the definition of reality and use their art as leverage for their shoe designs, and vice versa…
How did you both meet? How long have you been working together?
We met each other in a Fashion Design School in Milan. I was Andrea’s fashion design student. After the course was finished, I went back to Germany but our friendship kept going on. We were both working as freelance fashion designers. After a few years we decided to produce a shoe line in Italy together to create a one of a kind brand concept and from that Fifth Dimension was born.
Which came first: your artwork or the 5th Dimension shoe line?
Art. It’s the heart-beat– the real background noise that nourishes everything. Without it, we wouldn’t feel the necessity to express our own vision or desires, whatever the nature or scope may be.
Do you keep the world of your artwork separate from your shoe designs or do these realms feed off one another creatively?
They are two vicious cycles that feed off of each other–impossible and detrimental to separate. The creative approach isn’t very different between art and design, because a shoe is an object, that at the preparation and planning level is closer to a sculpture.
Is there any correlation between a current art project you are working on and the shoes you are designing?
There will always be a correlation, more or less an awareness; it’s a force that conditions everything else. The aesthetic sense of the collections will influence the communication, of which will become a pretext and space to express art.
For your artwork, how do you collaborate with one another and what is your creative process like? For your shoe line?
With art, the work is always done in solitude. It starts from a personal idea and becomes the result of an intimate vision. With shoes, the beginning is the same:
we do our own research independently. Then there is brainstorming where we try to find the alchemy between the two parts.
What mediums do you prefer to work in for your artwork? Where do you resource your materials?
Computers help to develop the project and video to communicate, but painting remains the main approach to art. Impressing the strokes of the brush is the essence of everything; reality transfigured is what really seduces, more than reality itself. A vision is of course an abstraction; to find the way to make it concrete is the challenge so to understand what technique is the most adapt and to find materials is the natural consequence. Materials can come from everywhere. Art means, above all, to overturn the common sense.
If there is in fact an alternate dimension, what does the 5th Dimension entail or rather how do you envision it?
It would be like giving a second possibility to the Big Bang where everything could be so different. For example, what if our brain worked only as short memory? We would be shocked every two minutes– even when we are just seeing our own faces.
What can we anticipate from 5th Dimension– either shoes or art-wise– in the next season?
“Crepe della Natura,” could be leaks, cracks of nature…
Where is 5th Dimension collection available for purchase stateside? Where is your work currently on display?
For this first collection, we will announce where to buy it soon. Art works I just can say is a work in progress project, and all the efforts are now dedicated into Art Direction for Fifth Dimension.