Written by CHRISTOPHER DAMM
Photography and installations by ALI OF A NOBLE SAVAGE
Ali: artist, creator, thought-provoker. His studio on the second floor of an unassuming Brooklyn warehouse reflects not only his individuality, but a remarkable journey from past to present.
“I’ve been collecting for as long as I can remember,” he says, pacing back and forth, musing over his treasures. “I started collecting army men, army sets, hot wheels, and matchbox cars. I had two sets of cars: one that I actually played with and crashed, the other, pristine, which sat perfectly on my dresser. Those were my first installations.”
Through his early observation and mature choices, Ali has developed a deep love and appreciation for fine furniture, books, art, clothing, and accessories. After highs, lows and lessons learned in both the music and magazine industry, Bevin, a close friend, suggested that he start a blog to present his vintage collection to the world. “The original concept for my blog was to take pictures with my camera phone of interesting items I found — that was it — that was my blog.” Bevin insisted that Ali buy a computer and a real camera to document his installations and pieces.
His collection of vintage clothing, denim, luggage, kaleidoscope of antiques, books, art, and immaculate Ralph Lauren garments and accessories work together as a single continuous thread in perfect harmony. “I’ve been wearing Ralph Lauren since the fourth grade. However, I started collecting it when I was fifteen; that’s when I became conscious of the value each piece held.”
It goes without saying that art has the ability to transform, mold, and inspire. Ali’s installations, which consist of clothing, found objects, and historical artifacts are meticulously pieced together in perfect unison. “I have a vision in mind with my installations — other times I have to sit with the objects. The object has to speak to me, especially when working with brands on lookbooks and campaigns.” Ali’s installations require viewers to embark on a journey through the photographs he takes. One yearns to touch the fabric of the clothes, smell the aged-leather, and feel the strength of the bones.The birth of each one varies, but all lead to Ali’s philosophy and moniker A Noble Savage. “What A Noble Savage represents to me is freedom; the name itself — from Rousseau’s definition — the natural man, pure passion, freedom, with the ability to think.”
“I started collecting army men, army sets, hot wheels, and match-box cars. I had two sets of cars: one that I actually played with and crashed, the other pristine, which sat perfectly on my dresser. Those were my first installations.”
His installation art has expanded into lookbooks and marketing campaigns for various brands. Ali is also continuing his work by expanding A Noble Savage into a creative services company that specializes in a design version of what he calls conflict/resolution and creative visualizations. “There’s no problem we can’t solve,” he added. He’s eager to begin collaborating with Kenyan Paris Lewis of ByKenyan L.L.C. on the design of the boutique for Leisure Life NYC, a fine men’s clothing line specializing in leather goods and accessories out of Brooklyn, NY.
When asked what makes him most nervous he says “I’m a naturally shy person and somewhat fearful of public speaking. However I’m honored the Friends Academy School has invited me to speak to their Senior AP Art Class in February about my work. I am really looking forward to it.”
Ali is a true artist, one that views the world from angles which aren’t often noticed. “At the end of the day you want to provoke some sort of emotional response. That’s what art is.” His work challenges the thoughts, feelings, and comfort zones of its viewers. His creations are raw-full of energy, passion, and creativity. Ali is inspired by the beauty and remnants of everyday life. “Whatever I find beautiful or triggers an emotional response, whatever I can feel, inspires me.”