Ladies it’s time to ‘check yourself’ with Pony’s new collaboration with cancer awareness campaign ‘Keep A Breast’. Utilising sneakers in order to spread their message to a new demographic, the women at KAB have roped in the artistic genius of Spanish illustrator Pepa Prieto. We caught up with the team to find out how one simple check could not only save a boob, it could save your life. On the flipside, we also hooked up with Prieto to find out how she went from decking out an MTV Airbus to Pepa-fying Pony.  

KEEP A BREAST INTERVIEW
with SHANEY JO DARDEN

Tell us a little about the Keep A Breast program…
Keep A Breast is a youth driven non-profit organisation that is dedicated to educating young people about breast cancer prevention and how to live a healthier lifestyle. We do many different types of events and programs all around the world, from breast cast exhibitions to our traveling education booth on the Warped Tour. We are always out there reaching out!

Who brainstormed the idea to collaborate with Pony shoes?
Pony actually contacted me one day – it was one of those friend-of-a-friend things. One of the artists we work with is named Kelsey Brooks – he has painted a cast for KAB and also appeared on the news with me to spread the message. Kelsey’s girlfriend’s sister Tess works for Pony – there you have it. Tess contacted me about doing a collaboration and we hit it off right away and became great friends. Keep A Breast is an international organization, so I was really happy to have such a great partnership with a cool brand that has heritage with sports and an international presence.

Was it a long process from idea to fruition?
Yes pretty long. It’s been one year since we started talking to the product actually hitting the a shop floor.

How did you translate your ideas to artist Pepa Prieto in order to spread the message through her art?
Working with Pepa was a breeze. She’s totally professional and was able to totally get and understand the feel and direction I was going for. We have actually never met in person, we worked completely through email. I’ve been a fan of Pepa’s work for a long time. For this project I wanted an artist with an international appeal who has a fresh style that would compliment PONY and KAB. I just contacted Pepa though email and we made it happen.

How do you hope the campaign will bring awareness to Keep A Breast?
We came up with the tagline ‘check your self!’ for the collection. We immediately wanted people to see ‘check your self!’ on the shoes, so they will question – what’s that all about? We want people to get the message that it’s important to ‘check your self’ once a month, be aware of your body and your breast health.

Fantastic! So where to now that the product has dropped?
We are launching a membership drive this October, which is a collaboration with Glamour Kills. We have more designs with PONY, a breast cast exhibition with casts of professional surfers painted by their board shapers. We are also launching a new campaign called ‘non-toxic revolution’ and much more.. Stay tuned to our website for updates.

PEPA PRIETO INTERVIEW

Hey Pepa, how is Spain these days?
Hello! Spain is pretty warm as it’s summertime! A great time to come and visit.

You’ve been immersed in art culture from a very early age and your style is very child-like – how did your technique develop?
Well through practising and thinking a lot! I painted and drew loads before developing my own style.

It’s a style that seems to cross over very easily into the street/sneaker scene…
Well I think a sneaker is a good surface to put any type of motive. Sneakers are good friends with visual artist/designers – it’s a nice relationship.

We gotta ask how you hooked up having your designs on an aeroplane! What the hell was that about?
They just called me – sometimes it’s just that simple. At that time I was living in L.A. and the phone rang at 6 am due to the time difference (they were calling from MTV Europe). I was half sleep when they started talking about the project! I thought it was one of the most bizarre projects I had ever heard of, and the timing was crazy too! I had one week to show all the final sketches from the outside, inside and promotional stuff of an Airbus A-323! But in the end it all turned out great.

Your parents must be mad proud!
Haa! Thank you but I have never asked them! They have certainly relaxed more so than a few years ago – especially as they see that my art has become a ‘real’ job.

Was this something that they always encouraged in you?
No, not really, thank god!. But I was very lucky because they taught me to love and work hard on whatever I was into. They set a great example.

Talking of setting an example, you’ve become somewhat of an activist through your art, first with Element and now with Pony. Can you discuss what you are doing for both brands.
Well as a freelance artist I work for anyone that has a project to offer me. With Element it is more about clothing, and with Pony it was a back-to-school kit with a range of sneakers included.

Has there been any conflict of interest between them?

Hopefully not! As I said, I am a freelancer and brands should hopefully understand that! Its not an easy position.

Let’s talk about working with Pony and the Keep A Breast campaign – how did you become involved?
They contacted me through e-mail and I really liked the project. It’s a wonderful mixture of creativity with a way of helping others and Shaney is such an encouraging person, so it’s great to work with her.

What was it about Keep A Breast that made you have to be part of the cause?
I truly believe that prevention is the key to everything. Education is the basic for everything in life and I think Keep A Breast is a great organisation that helps young people to understand the importance of getting checked out. I love the idea.

How closely did you work with KAB and Pony in designing the range? Do you have full reign or are there specifics you have to run to?
Pretty close, with an Atlantic ocean in between! I got a small brief from Keep A Breast. From there on I created a world that consisted of the city, music, dreaming, youth – a world full of colour and optimism with a clear target of awareness. It’s all about enjoying life to the maximum but never forgetting that prevention is the key to a better life.

What’s up next for you?
I just have completed the opening of a show in Barcelona at www.iguapop.net I am really happy with it because it’s a great place to show. I am starting to prepare my next year…I will be traveling around and hopefully working hard on a lot of nice projects!

To find out more about Keep A Breast, hit up their website today!

Photos of Baya Voce from the Real World are taken by Photographer Matthew Hanlon.