This is a story about integrity.
Just one year ago, Absolut Elyx, a luxury vodka under the Absolut Company, approached Water For People with one goal in mind: to embody the new wave of luxury. They wanted to turn the spirits industry on its head and integrate philanthropy into their business model.
For Absolut Elyx, a vodka that is handcrafted and sourced in and around Åhus, Sweden, it wasn’t enough to be made with integrity, they also wanted to act with integrity.
Just 6 short months later, in September 2015, the Water For People + Absolut Elyx partnership was born and we embarked on a 5-year mission to bring access to safe water to 100,000 people in the countries where we work.
And it’s working.
To date, Absolut Elyx has helped us reach nearly 13,000 people with access to safe drinking water through product sales, marketing campaigns, and an art auction on Water For People’s behalf at last year’s Miami Art Basel.
In honor of this incredible progress and Water For People’s Colorado roots, Absolut Elyx set out to celebrate our partnership in a completely unique way.
Enter Will Day, a Boulder-based artist who is determined to influence the way people think about and interact with art, and The OneWall Project, a Denver-based initiative that is working to elevate area artists and raise awareness around the local art scene through large-scale installations.
But why art? Why opt for a medium outside of traditional advertisements?
“With Elyx, we favor action over advertising and always strive to get noticed for the right reasons.” Tom Roberts, Absolut Elyx’s Director of Communications and Social Impact, says. “It is our pleasure to work with such a locally rooted artist, to create a piece of art that inspires and at the same time raises awareness for the global water crisis and our partnership with Water For People.”
Commissioned by Absolut Elyx, Will was given a seemingly simple yet lofty task: create a piece that celebrates our partnership, exudes integrity, and represents our shared commitment to think and act differently.
Tucked away in his studio at the base of the Flatirons, Will got to work. And over the course of two months he found a way to bring our unique partnership to life through a mix of warm coppers and vibrant blues.
“The blue tones represent water and peacefulness, and the rich textures of copper and gold play into it with this amazing energy and fluidity,” Will explains. “The real challenge was finding a relationship between the two colors because you really don’t see them together. It was about giving back and coming together.”
The challenges Will faced on the canvas are reminiscent of the challenges we face every day as our brands work to shift the way people think about luxury, philanthropy, and what it really means to end the water crisis.
“While creating this piece I learned how to work through challenges and difficulties, find wonderful relationships, and be honest with myself,” he says. “This is a soulful energetic piece that is incorporating different companies and organizations. It is really more about having fun and not overthinking things.”
Working within a 7-foot canvas in a white-washed studio is one thing, but picturing his piece plastered across a 50-foot brick wall along one of Denver’s busiest streets is a whole new experience.
“The scale inspired me,” he explains. “It challenged me to express how we work together with colors and a message that will impact people. But it will also be on the side of a building that individuals will see every day. There is a responsibility that comes with that. The message isn’t about Will, but about all of us collaborating on a global vision that is sustainable, has integrity, and is making an impact; one that will change people’s lives.”
For Will, it is more than just a mixing paint and completing a job. “This is really about being an example to others and unleashing greatness,” he explains. “Each of us is creative, talented, and unique. This is one project that everybody can benefit from. Sharing our love, our passion, our products, and our ideas.”
This piece not only represents Water For People’s commitment to fostering unique partnerships, it is a nod to our presence here in Denver, our commitment to driving awareness around the global water crisis, and an opportunity for us to celebrate 25 years of progress.