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‘Where’s My Chanel Gas Mask?’ – The Work of Dutch Artist Diddo

Wednesday 29 January 2014

With rumoured commissions from the likes of Kanye West and Lady Gaga, Dutch artist Diddo is on the rise in the art world (and not only in the art world).

Diddo’s website describes himself as an ‘Artist & Designer’, and looking through his online portfolio falls nothing short of the self-appointed title.

Louis Vuitton print gas masks, Chanel branded oil drums, a Champagne fire extinguisher and a human skull carved from cocaine. Diddo’s artwork appears to contemplate the human condition in the 21st century, and a clear need for personalisation in culture today. Diddo makes us consider a notion that death is imminent, but beauty is deceptively created to sustain and shield us until we eventually meet our match.

diddo cocaine skull

With his work being featured in magazines such as Vice and Vogue, fashion is undoubtedly a bold and unwavering theme throughout his practice. Designer labels and drugs are the building blocks for his creations – perhaps Lindsay Lohan’s wardrobe could be worth more than expected?

Diddo’s Louis Vuitton gas mask from the ‘High fashion protection’ series bears several burning questions; one most obvious perhaps is the potential striving for glamour and opulence during chemical warfare. What we are witnessing is a coup for fashion design from a conceptual artist; luxury hazard protection.

Picture a hypothetical scenario in your head: poisonous gas is released across London in a horrific terrorist attack on the capitol and your first port of call is;

‘Where’s my Chanel gas mask?’

I don’t believe for a second that Diddo’s work is simply just about commerciality or corporate branding; however the aesthetics on first impression would say otherwise.

champagne fire extinguisher diddo

There is definitely a political thread, which is woven throughout the work. Danger, glamour and greed are three words which I believe to be at the crux of what Diddo’s art and design creations convey. These are objects that are of high value, or made to appear so. They are not objects that we necessarily need, but objects of desire.

Something about the conceptual aspect to Diddo’s work is endearingly Warhol-esque.

There appears to be a need for his audience to acquire items of little or no value, while the work is simultaneously upholding satirical stabs at the clientele who are running on the consumer treadmill.


Words: Sam St Varnham