Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Two months ago, three artists began working on new creations for Bentley’s “Art in Motion” series. Within the Secret Walls studio space in Los Angeles, the artists—New York-based artist Ricardo Gonzalez known as It’s A Living, and L.A.-based artists Mikael B and Laci Jordan—drew inspiration from the brand’s New Bentayga model. Design elements of the SUV, ranging from sharp lines to geometric shapes, were referenced to colorfully impact each artwork’s visual identity.
Rooted in philanthropy, this inaugural artistic collaboration doubles as an auction, with proceeds benefitting Inner-City Arts in L.A. Throughout this week, Bentley’s auction partner 32auctions will accept silent auction bids for each piece, allowing art patrons an opportunity to collect one-of-a-kind works.
“As a creative way to announce that our New Bentley Bentayga has arrived, we wanted to celebrate the power of being inspired by the past as well as paying it forward. At the core of everything we do at Bentley is legacy, and we wanted to collaborate with Secret -Walls, these talented artists and Inner-City Arts to inspire future generations to live and create passionately, fearlessly and without boundaries,” said Christophe Georges, Bentley’s CEO and president of Americas.
Founded in 1989, Inner-City Arts seeks to provide a healthier, safer community with resources and arts education for generations of creatives to come. Since its inception, it has transformed the lives of more than 200,000 people in L.A. Typically, it serves more than 6,000 young people every year across all grade levels and art forms, encouraging individuals to be more creative, confident, and collaborative.
Work of Art, one of the organization’s programs, is a college and career initiative designed to prepare teenagers with skills, training, and experience for life after high school. Its associate director, Holli Hornlien, said, “Right now, arts and education nonprofits across the country are being tested by the enormous upheaval and stress of COVID. Like our peers, Inner-City Arts has done everything we can to continue at full speed, with the understanding that the vulnerable community we serve—typically 85 percent Hispanic and/or Latin/x-identified young people with access to the least resources or agency—is being the most severely impacted by this situation. All programs continue to be offered via a live, synchronous learning experience online.”
In commemoration of the auction, Whitewall spoke with the artists, as well as Georges and Hornlien, about putting art and automobiles in motion for a good cause.
WHITEWALL: Why did Bentley initially choose to host an art auction to benefit Inner-City Arts?
CHRISTOPHE GEORGES: To Bentley, legacy is a driving factor, and in partnering with Inner-City Arts on an auction we’re able to support giving opportunities to a new generation of young creatives from less fortunate backgrounds. At our headquarters in Crewe, we have many instances of generational artisans who’ve passed their passions down to sons, daughters, grandchildren, and we will always look to support creative growth in the arts community and beyond.
WW: How do you feel these three artists capture the car's DNA with their new works?
CG: Each of these talented artists’ narration of their works is vastly different from one another and completely unique to their own aesthetic. It’s A Living’s work is both bold and eye-catching from afar and equally as impressive up close as he drew inspiration from the Bentayga’s eye-catching headlamps and tail lamps. Mikael B’s work is vibrant and energetic, yet aggressive and bold, it was almost as if he was meant to depict a piece of art inspired by Bentayga’s diamond DNA. Laci Jordan harmoniously brought together the sculpted power and haunch of the Bentayga with her keen sense of surroundings in her life and the final product is of elegance and power.
WW: What design element from the New Bentayga is most impressive to you?
CG: Key to new Bentayga is its new strikingly dynamic exterior that drew inspiration from Bentley’s new design language, introduced by the third-generation Continental GT and all-new Flying Spur. These three cars form a new family that are more visually connected than ever before. The bold styling offers an imposing road presence, with every panel at the front of the car redesigned for a cleaner, modern look.
Its already highly praised interior has been updated, raising the bar even higher, and includes the new digital display infotainment center. The interior is further enhanced with the application of dark tint diamond brushed aluminum trim for the first time in a Bentley, as well as two straight-grained veneers new to Bentayga: Koa and Crown Cut Walnut.
These are just to name a few, but with new Bentayga the objective was simple, to take the best and make it even better. It reflects the truly sophisticated qualities and design make-up of other members of the Bentley family. It was already the pinnacle of the luxury SUV sector but now we have taken it even higher.
WW: It is especially important to support arts programs like Inner-City Arts right now, as many young people depend on its resources. What can those looking to the organization for help except to receive?
HOLLI HORNLIEN: If a student needs materials, supplies, or technology during shelter in place...we provide it. And as has always been the case, there are zero financial barriers to enroll in any of our arts programs.
We know young people are depending on us to step up and step in—to ensure they continue to have creative outlets, emotional connection, and a high-quality arts education during difficult times.
WW: How does this partnership with Bentley aid in the organization’s mission?
HH: Bentley's generous support of this initiative is enabling Secret Walls to raise critical funds for our young people in the Work of Art program, and they are accomplishing that through the creation of art and the promotion of local artists. It's a wonderful way to bring the artistic community in L.A. together, to affirm our shared values, and to help Inner-City Arts continue to reach its young people at a time when they need it most.
Our year-round Work of Art program, which provides a two-year creative career development track to high school students interested in entering the creative workforce, engages all students in the program as paid employees. This is particularly important in light of the fact that the young people we serve are often critical earners in their households. Through the support of partners like Bentley and Secret Walls, we have been able to provide continued paid employment to young people as they weather the added financial hardships in their families and communities.
WW: Ricardo, Mikael, and Laci, can you tell us a bit about your practices, and how they translate in your new artworks for Bentley?
IT’S A LIVING: My work is a combination of several components such as graphic design, street, calligraphy, fine art and words. All these aspects create my signature script style, its simplicity but also the concept behind “it’s a living”—doing what you love for a living. The merge of my style with Bentayga’s design was a natural blend, design, life and art.
MIKAEL B: Bentley represents a level of power that isn’t simply a car. It's energy. It’s legacy. It’s dedication. For me, it’s a success to strive for as an artist. My work is about elevation, a universe where everything is possible—rising to challenges and seeing opportunities instead of limitations. My main source of inspiration and motivation comes from my consistent pursuit of my 100 percent potential. Finding out what I’m truly capable of is my infinite source of energy. Striving for excellence and to be the absolute best version of myself is how I live my life and how I approach my art practice. It’s not just shapes and colors on a canvas. It’s not just 4 wheels and an engine. It’s a universe you can sense with your whole body. It’s an experience.
LACI JORDAN: My art is rooted in graphic design which is where I began my art career and when I fell in love with big partners and bold colors. Generally, in art and in life, I’m drawn to anything that looks hyper graphic and in your face. My fondness for these types of visual cues is implemented in every piece I do whether it be in graphic design pieces, illustrations, and now fine art. Mixed Messages is a direct translation of all of these influences.
WW: What was your creative process like creating this new work?
IAL: The process was very unique and collaborative. Bentley really understood my work and embraced it, which ultimately resulted in a special piece of artwork inspired by positivity and legacy.
MB: Creatively, I knew I was searching for a way to convey a vibe that was rare and exquisite, like a diamond. I planned to create a visual universe that kind of had its own story but still complimenting the Quartzite colored Bentayga. I knew the piece needed to have a dominating presence, like the Bentayga driving through a cityscape. Step by step, I maybe did around 10 to 15 sketches with pen and paper. Only concentrating on rough ideas and the composition. The final preparatory drawing I make more detailed.
After that I draw it on my computer and when I’m happy with the composition, I’ll decide on the color scheme. Then I’m ready to take it to the canvas. I use spray cans, masking tape and with extreme precision I cut the shapes directly on the canvas with a knife. I painted a monochromatic background and added several monochrome elements in the artwork, from completely black to white—not only to make the fluorescent colors pop but also to compliment the Quartzite colored Bentayga. And that exact grey you will find in my piece.
LJ: Exploration and discovery are at the core of the new Bentayga’s design and I wanted to give myself room and space to live out these values in my creative process. I spent a lot of time sketching out different concepts, freely exploring the various ways in which I could represent the core essence of the vehicle.
WW: What inspiration did you draw from the New Bentayga's DNA?
IAL: The inspiration behind Light The Way came from two parts, one of them is the feature of Bentayga’s iconic lights, the pattern in the lights game inspiration to create a piece that will reflect the light feature in my work. The second part is the meaning behind Light The Way. The concept is based on the idea of guiding the way for future generations in a specific craft or legacy.
MB: Uniting the sharp and the soft, the dark and the light, the grotesque and the harmonic is something I love to depict with my art style, and I can see those similarities with Bentley as well. Geometric shapes and diamonds are a prominent feature of the new Bentayga. My geometric work is energetic and dynamic just like the design scheme of the Bentayga. Using diamonds as an inspiration felt very natural to me and not something I had to force into my art style. So I just did my thing and focused on a powerful impression, much like the car.
LJ: When I look at the New Bentayga I am immediately drawn into how it reimagines luxury and flow while juxtaposing it against sharp lines and boldness. In this way, the car and consequently my art simultaneously imitate my life—constantly in movement, as I am propelled forward in my purpose boldly and unapologetically.