blik: Making Ideas Stick

Scott Flora and Jerinne Neils founded blik as an exploration into the ‘wall as canvas,’ and were initially inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol, Sol LeWitt and Damien Hirst. Through widely varied collaborations with companies, artists and students, the team has curated a line of self-adhesive surface decals which are as easily applied as they are removed, allowing spaces to evolve and adapt on a whim. Behance sat down with Scott Flora for the skinny on partnerships, keeping their line fresh, and making ideas happen in the world of blik.

When it comes to getting their most challenging ideas off the ground, tenacity and perseverance continue to pay off handsomely for the team. “It sounds cliched, but we stayed persistent. Once we got an idea, we saw it through. It took us over a year to secure our collaboration with Nintendo. [blik recently announced they will manufacture wall decals of characters and scene graphics from two of the most popular video games in history, Donkey Kong® and Super Mario Bros.®] We could have been intimidated by this giant corporation, but we found our way through the labyrinth, pitched our idea, and fortunately, they saw our vision. So I would say, when you start an idea you are passionate about, see it through. Don’t give up if you see that your idea might be floundering slightly. To keep forward momentum, bring other people to the table who have core competencies that may be different than yours, but that also complement your sensibilities.”As with most fledgling companies, their ideas found a fair share of skeptics early on. Their unwillingness to surrender to negativity enabled them to prove their doubters otherwise. “When we first came up with the idea for blik, [a massive] challenge we faced were all the nay-sayers. When you have an original or creative idea, you tend to encounter people whose knee-jerk reaction is to say ‘it can’t work.’ It’s easier to say that, then take on the monumental task of executing a ‘big idea.’ But we used this as motivation, because we believed so strongly in the idea. Now it’s important to us to find people who are willing to push boundaries in terms of our ideas, about what can and cannot be done. Particularly since we often have ideas that push the boundaries of manufacturing restrictions. I guess we just don’t like to be boxed in.”

It’s the small failures that allow you to hone things moving forward.

blik’s line is flush with collaborations from a variety of sources, from large corporations, online curation methods (like Threadless), individual artists and even Working Class Studio at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Embracing other artists enables the line an ever-changing landscape which may be otherwise impossible. “Collaboration has been an amazing thing for our company. We came up with the original idea and hooked up with artists that were able to bring our idea to new audiences. In some cases, they helped us think about our idea in a new way, gave us a fresh perspective and allowed us to expand and evolve our idea. We find inspiration in everything from graphic design to film, from architecture to storytelling. We love pattern, textiles and nature. It’s fun to pull from these various ‘mediums’ to come up with something that’s fresh, yet familiar. blik Chandelier, for example, takes a long-entrenched, very traditional lighting fixture and turns it into a unique, modern home accent. On the flipside, artists like Mel Lim, Ilan Dei, Zeptonn and Undoboy (a few of our collaborators) bring an entirely one-of-a-kind sensibility to our visual language.”

Keeping a large inventory of ideas and projects at one time would be crippling without organization. Objectively assessing each idea over a period of time allows blik to make their strongest ideas happen. “We come up with an initial subset of ideas that are valid and over time, slowly begin to see the shortcomings of one idea or another. At all times, you have to realize that not all of your ideas will be successful. But you continually learn something from each endeavor so it’s rarely a waste. It’s the small failures that allow you to hone things moving forward. We don’t allow ourselves to get discouraged because we truly believe in our product and love the interactive quality it brings to people trying to infuse energy into their space — this is something that is always evolving.”

Heather Ann Snodgrass

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Heather is the founder of Darling, where she makes amazing nail products for beautiful girls.
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