Lets not front. When we look at sneakers to cop, we are initially drawn by the most eye-catching flavour a shoe can offer. For an artist, it is their job to provoke thought and emotion that overrides our expectations of where sneakers can take us. Nathan Gale from Intercity UK has used this premise to create the most comprehensive look into the one aspect of design that knows no boundaries and follows no rules - Art. ‘Art and Sole’ features over 230 pages of cutting edge sneaker designs from artists as far reaching as Stash, Futura, Neckface, Irak, Parra and Dalek to name a few. We caught up with Nathan on the eve of the release of his debut publication ‘Art and Sole’.
Hi Nathan, how has the summer been treating you in England? Did you get to enjoy some sunrays this year?
Hello Sneaker Freaker, the summer over in the UK has been pretty wet to say the least, but for the first time in a while I managed take a holiday – so I did catch some Italian sunrays!
What is your background in the art world and what fascinated you this much to publish an entire book dedicated to sneakers and art?
I was art director of UK-based communication arts magazine Creative Review for about the last ten years, before leaving to concentrate on my design studio Intercity (and Art & Sole) in 2007. I’ve always been interested in sneakers, and as a designer paid particular attention to the artistic element of the scene. Also, having worked in publishing for most of my career, the idea of producing a book on the subject was a pretty obvious one.
Tell us how the concept came about for your book 'Art & Sole'.
I’d had the idea for a sneaker book for a while, but really had to wait until I could find enough time to concentrate on putting it together. At first I thought the book would be more general, maybe showing classic models, collections etc as well as artist's work, but the more I researched the art side of the book the more I realised that it should be the main focus.
Who has helped in the process to get the book published and how long has it been in the works?
Although I’d had the idea floating around for a while, it wasn’t until a good friend of mine mentioned the concept to the publishers that it really began to happen. I started the book in July 2007 and it was finished by early 2008. Art & Sole is basically researched, written and designed by myself, so it was a fairly time consuming project. Luckily I had plenty of help from family, friends, artists and manufacturers along the way.
How did you decide who qualified for the book as far as artists go and how difficult was it to get all this amazing art work into one book?
I spent weeks researching a content list before I even began to try and find images or write text. After that it was simply a case of trying to locate everything on that list, and I’ve got to say that this book was really difficult to produce. When I first thought about creating a book about sneakers, I imagined it would be a dream project, but I wrongly assumed that most manufacturers would have records or archives of their releases! I couldn’t have produced Art & Sole without the help of many people, and there is a pretty big thank you list at the back of the book. In the end, and after several thousand emails, I managed to include almost everything on my list.
Who will we see featured in Art and Sole?
The book is split into two halves, the first looking at artists and designer sneaker collaborations, and the second featuring artwork based on sneakers. Pretty much all the major manufacturers are covered, and artists featured include Dave White, Ben Drury, Futura 2000, Stash, INSA, James Jarvis, Jeremyville, Mark Ward, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Tom Luedecke, I Have Pop™, Shin Tanaka, Michael Lau, Neckface, Evan Hecox, Dave Kinsey, Jethro Haynes, Parra, Mark Gonzales, Skulls of Saigon, Delta and many, many more.
Do you feel Art and Sole will fill the void left by a lack of this kind of book on shelves throughout the world? How will you attempt to do as such?
Of course I hope so, although Art & Sole is not an attempt at a conclusive summary of the sneaker scene – it’s simply a look at one of the most visual aspects. The book is filled with as much imagery and information as I thought possible, so hopefully will appeal to art and sneaker lovers alike.
When is the book set to launch and where can our readers pick up a copy?
The book launches September 29 (2008) and will be released worldwide. Copies will of course be available via the Intercity website and we have also produced an Art & Sole T-shirt for the occasion featuring a ‘sneaker-heart’ illustration by artist Jethro Haynes.
All images provided by Nathan Gale and taken directly from 'Art and Sole'