The AJF4 Laser Premiere features two of my favorite shoes, the top of the Retro Air Jordan 4s and the sole of the Air Force 1s. They are great looking shoes but I was even more impressed by them when I took them apart. I’ve deconstructed a number of different shoes but the construction of these was remarkable. And for the first time I wished I hadn’t cut them up. Luckily I was pleased with the resulting mask.
This is the 13th mask in The Branding Wars series by Freehand Profit. In a lot of ways these masks represent the world through the eyes of a sneakerhead. Among the incessant images of advertising, we’re reminded that the world is crumbling under the hands of war. The two industries collide in a way that still feeds our love of the object without losing the unsettling imagery of masks of war. The work looks to address a number of issues including identity and consumerism in a society at war. I’m not looking to preach in my work however, these pieces are very personal. The choice to use shoes as the “objects of desire” points inward at my own materialism. I’m not here to condemn consumerism but instead to examine it’s roll in order to keep it in check. Each piece begins with the destruction of something I believe holds value, this forces me to admit to myself that there are more important things, like my art, than a fresh pair of kicks (blasphemous I know, but honest).
The gas mask has a tendency to be that nagging voice in the back of our busy minds that says “While you’re waiting in line for the newest pair of Js, there’s people dying and fighting for the most basic human needs and rights.” On the other hand, the gas mask is an icon of the graffiti community. [When] we wear masks like respirators it’s not only to protect our lungs but to protect our identity. It is also a testament to the mindset of “bombing”, going to war with art as your weapon.
The Branding Wars are a fight between the happy consumer and the conscious mind. Acknowledging our materialism without ignoring the troubles we face as a society.
Forgive me if I’m ranting or seem incoherent. I’m using this blog to explore some of my thoughts and directions of this project in a public forum. My work, like all art, must be open to interpretation. Truth is I’m still discovering and adjusting my thoughts and approach to The Branding Wars.