Art & Sole: Contemporary Sneaker Art & Design
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing LTD.
Publication Date: 2008
Author(s) and Designer: Intercity
Availability: Amazon, eBay, various other book sellers
Taken directly from their website, “Intercity is a UK-based graphic design studio with a network of collaborators from the worlds of art, design, illustration, photography, digital media and beyond.”
The first section appropriately celebrates the art of the sneaker collaboration, showcasing innovative sneakers that laid the groundwork for collaboration explosion that’s occurred in the last 2-3 years. As with any new technology (and make no mistake about it, for sneaker companies, collaborations were/are the equivalent of a new technology), there is a life-cycle that is followed. The pairs in Art & Sole are some of the true originals, put forth in the infancy of the innovation stage of sneaker collaborations.
Today the idea of sneakers as an art form has already passed through the early adoption stage, and begun to percolate into the early majority, meaning sneaker companies have figured out how to drive positive revenue growth from collabs. Parallel to this shift (or perhaps in tandem), the impact that sneakers have as a form of individual expression has migrated from individualistic to group-oriented. When companies are willing to sell their sneakers to collaborators at cost, thereby enticing creative partners who would otherwise likely not be interested, the overall cumulative impact of collaborations may increase (due to an excess of collabs), but the average effects felt by an individual collaboration are inherently diminished. This is not to say that powerful, beautiful, artistic, outstanding collabs don’t exist anymore (they absolutely do, see: @cncpts @hanonshop @overkillshop amongst others), but rather that the driving force behind collaborations has shifted from external (the artists outside of sneaker companies) to internal (the marketing departments within sneaker companies).
The second section examines works by too many artists to name here, but some of the highlights are: Dave White @davewhitestudio (also the cover art), Shin Tanaka, Gary Baseman @garybaseman, INSA @insa_gram, Parra @pietparra and Sneaker Pimps @sneakerpimps.
“Permanently associated with creative subcultures such as hip-hop and skateboarding (both of which have a strong history of customizing shoes), the sneaker scene has always been connected with creativity and this book sets out to document the current state of this relationship. The book is split into two halves: the first half displays the collaborative and limited-edition sneakers produced by a wide range of artists and designers; and the second documents the burgeoning art scene connected with this phenomenon.” – pg. 6
Sneakerature’s take – A meticulously researched, beautifully presented epitome that includes works of art/sneakers that are cornerstones in the progression of sneakers as a culture. A must-have book for those that value sneakers as a form of self-expression. If you are unable to get your hands on the book, then check out the blog: artandsoleblog.com/blog @artandsoleblog
Art & Sole is available on Amazon