BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Alec Avedissian never felt comfortable in a suit. Which is why he traded in his investment-banking job for a six-month surf trip through South America with his best friends. According to his website, the group travelled through six countries, ate local food, hiked volcanoes, and searched for the world’s longest left wave, which they found in Chicama, Peru. Avedissian dreamed of “creating a business that could reduce waste in the world and sustain our playground—the mountains, rivers and oceans that all outdoor enthusiasts cherish.”
So in 2012, Avedissian and his brother Aric created RAREFORM, a Santa Monica-based company that stops old billboards from reaching landfills by turning them into unique surf bags and accessories.
Recently, RAREFORM partnered with Lamar Advertising Company, the country’s largest billboard ad company, to launch #ArtLives—an Artist Series. The sustainability campaign gives commercial art works a second life. As part of the new partnership, Lamar will be donating about 10,000 pounds of billboards each month.
For the first installment of #ArtLives, RAREFORM and Lamar recruited world-renowned graphic artist Milton Glaser, known for the iconic “I heart NY” logo and Mad Men ads. Lamar installed Glaser’s “It’s Not Warming, It’s Dying” campaign to kick off the series. The billboard will be on display until the end of October, when it will be taken down and repurposed into 300 limited edition backpacks and accessories.
At the end of November, RAREFORM will host a gallery in Los Angeles featuring videos, photos and products from the #ArtLives campaign, as well as some of Glaser’s famous works.
One per cent of RAREFORM’s sales will go to the preservation and restoration of the natural environment. As their website states: “We give all outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to be active problem solvers. This aim is in our DNA. We are a company that makes a positive impact in the world; a company that does more than profit from a product, a company that lets good run wild.”