C.J.: Louis Vuitton reportedly got a blast out of Minneapolis animated glass

  • Article by: C.J. , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2013 - 11:28 PM

Louis Vuitton has reportedly shown interest in a glass product invented by Blasted Art Inc. owner Kerry Dikken.

Dikken has created what he believes is something new in the realm of “animated glass.” Using a sandblasting technique (and other methods Dikken doesn’t disclose for fear of being ripped off), he creates images that appear to move as you walk by the glass.

Sandblasting is a mainstay in Dikken’s studio, whose work you know if you’ve seen the “Tradition Wall” at the Twins ballpark, where large panes of glass are inscribed with the names of fans or quotes from players.

A New York architect who does work for Louis Vuitton suggested that Dikken deal directly with people in Paris. The Paris staffers told Dikken they would like to meet him if he came to France, so the graphic artist and his assistant, Sam Spafford, planned a February trip. They met the LV director of architecture and five others at the company’s HQ.

“They had all these spectacular glass samples around of the big Louis Vuitton logo created by others,” said Dikken. “As we were sitting around the table, I was throwing out ideas about where my concept could be used. I’m thinking it could be incorporated into a facade.”

Dikken traveled with 100 pounds of glass on which he had sandblasted the fashion house’s logos and other identifying patterns, such as Damier.

“There was a photo shoot of a woman modeling on the Louis Vuitton website which I pulled off and incorporated in one of the panels,” said Dikken. That is one of the more striking panels in the startribune.com/video I shot Tuesday at Dikken’s studio.

Result of years of work

For the past two years, Dikken’s workplace has resembled a Louis Vuitton prop facility, as my friend Kerry refined his animated glass technique using the fashion house’s logo.

“Everyone wants to work with them, and here they are saying they have never seen anything like the work I’ve done. It was pretty complimentary,” said Dikken.

One text message Kerry sent me from Paris read: “The meeting was fabulous. The architectural designer thought my work was impressive. I can live on that a long time.”

The trip was not without hiccups.

Traveling with 100 pounds of glass — even if it’s a half-inch thick and secured between foam rubber — can be worrisome. Dikken thought he was going to check 100 pounds of glassware until he ran up against Delta Air Lines’ weight limit for checked baggage and ended up carrying on about 30 pounds. Only one of the panels sustained any damage; there was a chip on a piece that went through the baggage handlers.

“We packed [the glass] in military gun cases,” Spafford told me Wednesday. “We got some unusual looks on the street.”

Spafford said he loved Paris and was happy the meeting ended well. It didn’t seem like it might in the beginning.

“It was very interesting: We got there on a Monday morning, people filing in [not paying us much attention]. It seemed we were going to be dismissed pretty quickly after the meeting started. Then Kerry showed them one of the samples. ... It was cool seeing them pull out other concepts and comparing them to ours. There were some different applications; ours was clearly more functional.”

Say what?

While hanging out Monday with KQ92’s Tom Barnard ...

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