Freehand Profit talks with APlus.com

“We have such an aversion to failure these days,” Lockwood says, “but you have to throw out a lot of bad ideas, and even some good ones, before you discover something really great.”

Terra Cotta LeBron XI Gas Mask by Freehand Profit

Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking with Zayda Rivera from APlus.com, we discussed origins and destinations as well as intent and inspirations. Check it out for yourself!

aplus-interview

And if you’re still hungry for more check out the full transcript of our interview below:

How did the hip hop culture and more specifically, the kicks culture that grew from it, impact you directly?

Hip-Hop first hit me in grade school. Snoop Dogg’s Doggystyle was my first album and I was hooked for life. Kicks and personal style have always been a part of Hip-Hop but initially my taste for shoes reflected the staples of the culture – adidas shell toes, Timberland boots, a few Nike & Saucony trainers, Chuck Taylors, Puma Suedes, etc. As sneakers became my medium my taste and knowledge expanded. I realized the tie between the textures, lines, and colors of the sneakers and how they reflected those of graffiti (Hip-Hop’s first art form).


What inspired you to start the MASK365 project?

MASK365 was a project I began in 2010, it inspired by an artist named Noah Scalin and his Skull-A-Day project, he’s now a creative leader who has inspired countless artists to develop their own daily creative projects. Like Skull-A-Day I created and published a new work every day for a year, but instead of skulls I was crafting masks. It was during this year long project that developed the sneaker masks I’m best known for today.

What’s the larger goal of MASK365? What do you want viewers to take from this?

The goal of MASK365 was to push my creative boundaries. At the time I was working as a designer at a print shop in LA and part time as a designer for an independent rap label – but I wasn’t working on my own vision. MASK365 was like an artistic boot camp, creating every day, making time for my art every day, and possibly most important… failing way more often. We have such an aversion to failure these days but you have to throw out a lot of bad ideas, and even some good ones, before you discover something really great.

Since it’s end in 2011 my focus has been my sneaker gas mask work. I published the first sneaker gas mask in November of 2010, since then I have gone on to create more than 125 sneaker masks – each unique and one of a kind. The body of work deals with a number of topics and the medium of sneakers is like a musical instrument, it provides the sound but not the concept. At it’s core the work examines the balance of social conscious and cultural consumerism within Hip-Hop.

You’ve indicated that this work is a connection between ancient art and modern times. What’s one major world issue right now that the sneaker gas masks artistically symbolize? 

For me the sneaker masks are a very personal reflection. I was taken often to history and art museums as a kid and loved learning about all the great civilizations around the world and throughout history. Artists/craftsmen/makers create and curate culture, for me I wanted to contribute to the culture of Hip-Hop which as deeply influenced me for so many years. Masks have been a cultural icon for centuries but I asked myself what mask would represent modern times and also Hip-Hop culture. The gas mask becomes a symbol for a societal ills – a world at war, civil unrest, environmental destruction, police militarization and brutality – in all of these instances the gas mask becomes a mascot of sorts. The sneakers represent the style and fun of Hip-Hop, as well as symbolizing it’s overpowering consumerism. Hip-Hop to me is best balanced between the underground and the mainstream, the Mos Defs and the JAY Zs – my masks symbolize that balance, or lack there of, within Hip-Hop culture and American society as a whole.

Upcoming projects?

I am a workaholic, I turned my passion and hobby into my career and so I’m often creating in my “time off”. At the moment I am working on a great white shark gas mask made from Nike Air MAGs, a pit bull gas mask made from Doernbecher Jordan 6s, Foamposite Egyptian Scarab mask and armor and a few others that I can’t mention. I’m also working on my next cast resin sneaker mask where I make a mold of one of my one of a kind sneaker masks in order to cast copies, this allows folks a much more affordable way to collect my work.

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