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This Artist Knows What to do With Your Old Sneakers

Date: May 02 2018

By: Matt Kennedy

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Not sure what to do with your vintage sneakers? Tokyo-based artist Kosuke Sugimoto, known on Instagram as shoetree_2016, has some clever ideas. 

Through a method he calls ‘Justification of Deterioration’, the artist sources un-wearable Nike kicks from the 90s and noughts and imbues them with new life, transforming the relics into prim houseplants. A true labor of love, it takes three to five years for the hydrolysis process to complete, during which time the shoe’s surface is gradually overrun by moss.

The artist draws inspiration from ‘…the sight of plant roots stretching across the ruins of collapsed, moss-covered buildings,’ and aims to ‘…create mystery, and a harmony as though everything were one,’ he says on his website.

So far, Sugimoto has cultivated a garden’s worth of Nike sneakers, including an Air Max 95, an Air Max 97, an Air Foamposite One, and a Zoom Flight 95. We can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.

If you’re in Tokyo and want to see more, Sugimoto’s botanically boosted kicks are on display at Daikanyama T-Site until April 22. For everyone else, we recommend a thorough browse of Sugimoto’s Instagram page.

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