Ellesse is celebrating its 50th anniversary with the design competition, “Create Tennis Art”. Part of the jury is illustrator and typographer Si Scott. The Italian sportswear brand is now also unveiling two new collaborations with textile print star Kate Gibb and Greek animation expert Babis Alexiadis.

Kate Gibb is an international silk-screen artist that has worked with the likes of Dries Van Noten, Stüssy, Adidas, Virgin Records and EMI Recordings. Her signature style is also presented in her ongoing collaboration with The Chemical Brothers.

Gibb was influenced by vintage images of tennis players for the silk-screen print she created for Ellesse. Applying layer upon layer of color to these original images, she developed a print that captures the qualities of the brand and the sense of her work as a silk-screen artist.

Babis Alexiadis’ work, meanwhile, focuses mostly on short animation and video art productions best recognized for being hand-drawn with limited digital input. The piece he created for Ellesse’s 50th anniversary consists of an animation featuring hand-stitched characters that took over a hundred hours to create. Alexiadis used a new technique and adopted a palette of watercolors to illustrate the brand’s history. (Check out http://vimeo.com/4150738).

Alexiadis has created pieces for the likes of BBC Big Screen West Midlands, the Midlands Arts Centre and Friction Arts and directed two music videos. In 2008, he won the first prize in the "Your Point of View" competition run by fashion brand BSB. He also won the public choice award in the Micropolis international film festival in Athens, Greece.

Ellesse has also announced a general competition that has been pushed to May 10. The topic: to create a piece of art or design to commemorate Ellesse’s 50th anniversary inspired by the brand’s Italian heritage and sporting roots in tennis. The categories for the competition range from fashion and textiles right through to fine art, sculpture, street art, graphics and digital. Prices range from a €4,500 award to an invitation to Ellesse 50th anniversary this summer in Rome.

—Melanie Gropler