Jim Shore, famous for ‘Heartwood Creek, his line of folk-art inspired pieces, has surrounded himself with art since he was a child, growing up in rural South Carolina.
Jim’s huge fan base continued to grow when he collaborated with Disney, Peanuts and other mega-brands.
Shore tells Hourloop about his newest collaboration with Coca-Cola.
When did you first get wind that this new Coca-Cola line might be in the making?
Actually we’ve had this in mind for a while now. I’ve always loved the Coke advertising, especially around Christmas. Those Santa’s and Penguins and Polar Bears are iconic images with a heartfelt message and a special kind of nostalgic warmth. Hard to use the word ‘warmth’ when you’re talking about Polar Bears and the like, but I think you know what I mean. The scenes were always fun and playful but there was an underlying sense of caring and looking out for one another. That combination of great images and sentiment, not to mention one of the most recognized brands in the whole world, just always seemed like a great fit.
How were you first approached about this collaboration?
Like I say, we’ve been thinking about if for a long time and had off and on conversations with the people at Coke for several years. We actually reached out to them initially, sometime around 2010. But their merchandising schedule and my work with brands like Disney and Peanuts kept pushing back the timeline. We didn’t actually finalize things until the fall of 2016. So, the idea that we already have designs complete and product scheduled to hit stores later this year means everybody pulled out all the stops! I finished the initial designs in a hurry (did I mention I’d been thinking about this for several years?), the people at Coke expedited approvals and our sculptors broke a few speed records. It’s kind of funny to think that something we’ve been thinking about for so long is now happening so quickly.
What was your first reaction to this partnership with such an iconic brand?
Great! One of the challenges of being an artist is reaching out to new people who don’t know your work. A strategy that’s worked for me is teaming up with brands and images that already have a place in people’s hearts. In that respect, I couldn’t ask for a better partner than Coca Cola.
What is your favorite piece in the line?
Well, I of course love them all! But I have to say I’ve always had a soft spot for the Sundblom Santa. It’s a Christmas image people of my generation grew up with. My goal was to stay true to that wonderful design and add something unique and recognizable to the work. I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to do that, not every artist gets that chance. And I’m proud to have my art associated with that kind of timeless imagery.
What sort of feedback have you already received about these new pieces?
So far so good! People seem to really love them. And I’m excited for people to see the second launch coming out next year! I’ve already finished all the design work for that too. Did I mention I’ve been thinking about this for a long time?
Tell me more about your family’s enthusiasm for Coke – do you take Coke with you when you go out? I know you said you plan restaurant trips around Coke.
My wife Jan is a total Coca Cola fanatic. As you say, we plan our restaurant trips around Coke. And she’s been known to send me out to buy one if we happen to stumble into a place that doesn’t serve it. Her dad Bill is the same way, when it comes to soft drinks he’ll drink nothing else. And I guess it’s served him well, Bill just turned 96!
When can we expect to see the pieces for retail sale?
The initial launch should be at retail in fall 2017, with the second scheduled for summer 2018. It’s been a long time coming and I’m excited it’s finally here!
Fans are already reeling over Jim's announcement with Facebook comments reflecting the excitement abounding before the pieces have even hit shelves:
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