A man of mystery, a bloke of humble surroundings, Melbourne’s own Sekure D is about to be catapulted into the big leagues with the impending release of his first official collab with skate giant Globe. Like proud parents, we have watched the artist blow minds with his intricate and original designs that have been bootlegged worldwide and established Sekure D as one of the top sneaker customisers in the world. We caught up with the ever-private artist as he puts down his palette to give us the low low on working with Globe, his imminent loss of anonymity and taking his art into a whole new direction.
Hey Sekure, how excited are you with the impending launch of the Globe Mace Hi?
Pretty excited, I think it will all sink in when I actually see it in the stores.
Has it been an eye-opening experience collaborating with a brand rather than doing a regular custom?
It definitely has been eye-opening. I have learnt a lot getting this shoe through production that I’m sure will be invaluable in similar situations in the future, it’s a lot more work than I originally anticipated.
How did the whole project take off?
Wow, it was a while ago now, from memory I was asked to come down and make a presentation on the basis of possibly helping collaborate on an artist designed shoe. I made a few presentations as well as customs and was then presented with a brief of upcoming themes for the next season. I based my design on one of the themes that focused on the colours red, black and white and then refined my ideas from there. In terms of creativity I worked within the confinements of the overall theme but artistically was able to do as I wished.
Was it surprising to be approached by a skate brand to do a shoe, considering the majority, if not all, your customs utilise Nike kicks?
Custom sneakers is a customer driven business and that’s the main reason my focus is on Nike shoes. The Dunk and Air Force 1 provide framing panels which allow for simple and easily contrasted design work. I think anyone good enough at customizing can make almost any shoe work with the right planning and colour blocking. In the past I have worked with at least four other brands to create customs whether for promo and shows.
Obviously this a mass produced run of shoes compared to your one of one customs. What challenges did you face to create something that was more general in terms of your art without losing your personable touch?
I struggled at times, everything I do is hand painted, and very rarely do I create graphics digitally so the conversion from one to the other presented a whole range of problems at times. Jazz (a footwear designer at Globe) was a big help with a lot of that. Also, with a mass produced shoe you have to consider a wider variety of consumers than you would on a single custom design which means sometimes pulling on the reigns a little. The outer design is inspired by my past customs but people who know my work will most definitely recognise specific things such as the robot arm pattern on the innersoles.
As an artist, is the work ever complete? Do you ever feel completely satisfied with the finish point and when do you know the sneaker is complete?
I often think, especially with a canvas two or three months down the track that I want to change or repaint something but I try to remember that it’s a representation of my work at the time and the frame of mind I was in, so changing something now could potentially destroy the overall image. When it comes to finishing a sneaker I know a shoe is complete when I feel a sense of relief. While painting I chuck on music and black out, sometimes an hour can go by and I don’t even realize as I am so focused, however this is typically pretty draining. At a time when I can sit them on the mantle above my studio table and not want to get up and grab them to do something I know they are done.
So with the launch of the shoe, what is expected of you now? Will there be a whole host of press conferences and media spots for you to attend?
I actually don’t know; I don’t believe so at least. As you know I like to be a reclusive character however I am looking forward to seeing what happens after the shoe drops, it will be interesting.
You’re known for keeping your anonymity when it comes to interviews. Is this a case of letting the work speak for itself?
Most definitely, I figure, what better spokesman for Sekure D can there really be than the products I create. It’s basically just personal preference, I’m sure a day will come where it is no longer viable but I have a backup plan. I’m not the guy you see clowning, self promoting himself at any chance possible. I prefer to sell my sneakers on the back of my work ethic and quality production, that’s what’s important to me. Plus it’s always entertaining to be at a show and hear people talk about your stuff when you're standing next to them and they don’t know it.
You're up there with the top customisers in the game. Do you still drop knowledge and help each other out with tricks of the trades whether it is from painting to negotiating contracts?
Cheers! There are a core few guys who I talk to quite regularly and then a rather large extended group of guys who I have contact with from time to time. Most of the guys I have come across in this custom thing have surprised me with their down to earth nature, it’s definitely a privilege to have some of them as friends. Sharing our experiences has at least for me certainly come in handy with my dealings.
Tell us about this amazing Fashion V Sport exhibition you were part of in the UK this year?
I am pretty proud to be participating in this show. I was approached quite some time ago about exhibiting in the V&A as part of this exhibition and I thought it was a great idea, I am just glad I still had the shoes they desired to show. As the title of the exhibition indicates its focus is on the relationship between sport and fashion and highlights some amazing designers. I suggest anyone in London to check it out.
Do you ever go abroad to these places where your sneakers are on display?
Not as regularly as I would like but this is something I am sure will come with time. Most of the shows I participate in are at this time group events so it’s not always an option. To date I have travelled to New Zealand and Singapore but that is it so far.
You’ve also started to branch away from the sneaker onto canvas painting, right?
I started about a year ago and I am yet to show my canvas work publicly. For me, painting canvas is a completely different experience to painting a sneaker. What I have tried to accomplish over many many sketch books is the creation of my own little world of characters and design elements that will become the focus of my canvas work but at the same time still reflect elements of the Sekure D sneaker designs of the past. Custom sneakers is essentially pattern design and colour blocking whereas with a canvas you are telling a story and creating a more full image, I find the differences refreshing.
What’s up next for Sekure D? What are you hoping to achieve in 2009?
Hopefully some new opportunities will open in the near future. I definitely want to start showing the canvas work, whether it be in group shows or a solo show. I am, at this point, trying to compile a collection of works and I will take it as it comes. Custom sneakers will remain the focus for 2009 with some possible expansions into new areas as well.