The Jean-Michel Basquiat x Converse Collection is a Multimedia MarvelRelease: 14 September 2021
Jean-Michel Basquiat was a consummate artist that transformed from street graffiti hound into gallery gentry within one intense decade. Like his creative compatriot Keith Haring, the sprawling and chaotic handstyle of Basquiat lives on today in mediums beyond canvas and acrylic in the form of an expansive Converse collaboration.
This collection, consisting of heritage Converse staples in the Skidgrip, Chuck 70, and Chuck Taylor All Star, provides a blank black canvas for three signature Basquiat works – Kings of Egypt II, Kings of Egypt III, and Pez Dispenser – all featured using different techniques.
The Skidgrip may have the least real estate of the collection, but its erratic retrofit of Basquiat’s Kings of Egypt II makes full use of the sneaker’s wide toe box and rear quarter. It’s safe to say the printing machines at Converse worked overtime to replicate Basquiat’s multicoloured masterpiece.
Kings of Egypt III is considerably more subdued than its predecessor in terms of visual impact, but that didn’t stop Converse from pushing the multimedia capabilities of translating JMB’s work onto their Chuck 70. In this case, it’s a mixture of suede and canvas uppers that makes the model a bit different, and its application of the artwork sees a mixture of textures in screenprint and raised embroidered stitching.
Pez Dispenser is one of Basquiat’s most recognisable works, so it makes perfect sense it emerges on one of the world’s most recognisable sneakers: the Chuck Taylor All Star. The screenprinted and stitched-on ankle patch depicting JMB’s crowned dinosaur may be a relatively rudimentary way to do things, but it also represents the unfussy methodology of the artist’s work. It’s almost as if this patch was cut out from the original painting and attached to a pair of Chucks!
The Jean-Michel Basquiat x Converse collection is available now from Culture Kings and directly from Converse.