Getting Creative at The Ulsan Museum with Good Wives & Warriors

11 October 2022

11 years ago Good Wives & Warriors were commissioned to take part in the #AbsolutBlank campaign, inviting artists to create an original bottle design for Absolut Vodka. One 6-meter painted bottle and TV commercial later and they find themselves immersed in the Art & Industry exhibition in South Korea, re-creating their dreamy designs. 

The Art & Industry exhibition is an investigation of artists collaborating on brands and the symbiotic relationship between the two by exploring the benefits, the problems and what it means for both parties.

We caught up with Good Wives & Warrior's very own Becky Bolton to learn more about her painting journey in the heart of South Korea's creative hub, the Ulsan Museum. 

What was it like creating your bottle designs in the Ulsan Museum?

I was in the museum for eight days painting and while I was painting the gallery was open. They had a platform area where people could come in and watch me paint. It was a really lovely experience and something I really enjoy engaging with. We love to be there in the space and talk to the local people. We always want to put references in our paintings that are from that area. I think a lot of art can be on high ground and we try and put accessible pieces in our work so people can communicate through imagery.

What inspired your colourful paintings 11 years on? 

The great thing about these bottles is the nature of the shape. For the project, Absolut didn’t mind as long as you used their bottle shape and their logo, everything else could be absolutely blank.

The totemic nature of the bottle definitely dictated the sort of painting we would do, which in turn ended up quite bold with the use of bright colours and botanicals. We knew we wanted to update the one from 11 years ago and do references for South Korea. That’s why we had the Rose of Sharron, Flying Emblem for Korea, and Ginkgo Tree. We wanted people to see those things and feel like the painting was a gift to them or the city. 

What’s your opinion on the convergence between art and industry?

It was an interesting area for this public museum to deal with because it was publicly funded and some of the brands that were involved weren’t giving any money to this project. Absolut had nothing to do with the project this time, so it was kind of free advertising for them. But for the museum, it was all about exploring these relationships which can be quite complicated and I think when they talk about the relationships working it’s a lot about giving and taking. For us, we felt like we were given freedom whereas usually, you are working for a brand - there’s that difference. It was quite unusual to have so much creative freedom in a collaborative project.

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