Sneaker enthusiasts Art & Sole have collaborated with Nike iD for the 40th anniversary of the Nike Cortez running shoe. Four artists, Jiro Bevis, Matthew Nicholson, Shantell Martin and Rose Stallard, were chosen to create artwork for the covers of four limited edition Art & Sole books. The books are sold in packs with a pair of matching Cortez sneakers, and different approaches for each design were used: moving image, sneaker-art, print and sculpture.
Jiro Bevis named his cover “Beer, Waffles & Nuts”, which features a beer-drinking beaver wearing shades. Bevis says, “I was given a brief history of the Nike Cortez, and the element I found most interesting was that, according to Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, eating waffles, nuts and drinking beer were vital ingredients to running.”
Matthew Nicholson’s approach was to create his cover using paper. He modeled a pair of Cortez sneakers which were then photographed for the cover of his edition of the book. He says of his work “the most interesting part of this [project] was spending time exploring the heritage of the Nike Cortez and its surrounding graphic literature. My response is a visualization of this exploration, but, most importantly, it is a celebration of the Nike Cortez’s involvement in the history of running. By building the Cortez from this rich ancestry of literature and graphic material, I aim to suggest that this is a shoe built, informed and improved by its past.”
“When creating the piece I was thinking about: running, green and the Cortez shoe,” says Shantell Martin of her cover artwork. Her cover was based on a moving image work, created for the Cortez brief. “I chose to start with a green mobile dot which represents the atom; ‘a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons’. This atom is one very tiny part of the Nike Cortez shoe that is discovered and then in turn taken on a journey to find the origin of its name. Once observed the atom slowly returns to its original singular form.”
Rose Stallard used the actual trainers to create her Art & Sole cover, by hand-illustrating a pair of blue Nikes: “I wanted to pick out some key points to do with the Cortez and the last 40 years of running, so that I could create my own sheet of Cortez clip-art that I could pick and choose from. The vibe I was going for was kids customizing their school bags, and paying homage to their heroes.”
The packs, which were launched at the opening of the new Nike iD space at BOXPARK in Shoreditch, will be available exclusively from this store at a price of £125. The artwork from the four artists will be on display at BOXPARK until the middle of April 2012.
Artist quotes from Creative Review.