As promised, today marks the 7th mask released in 7 days. All of them are a part of the SNEAKERHEADS by Freehand Profit exhibit now on display with @adidasNYC at 115 Spring St. If you can make it to NYC between now and the 21st you can see all 7 of the masks on display and even get your photo taken wearing one! Don’t miss out on this landmark show!
Two masks from the seven, both made from NMDs, are unlike any other sneaker masks I’ve made before. Fully stitched and with little other additions (with the exception of a resin cast Profit ambigram signature), the NMD masks are a re-imagining of my process based on a very real shift in how sneakers are made and designed. Both masks are based on ski mask or balaclava patterns custom designed by me with help from my wife Betsy, who has experience in theater costuming. I very much look forward to making more masks like these with various adidas silhouettes, like the Ultra Boost and eventually some 350 Boosts.
- What inspired you to create the “Sneakerhead” masks?
FP : In 2010 I began a year long daily creative project called MASK365. Over the course of that year I created or designed masks out of all types of materials, lots of them from every day objects like office supplies, a purse or even vegetables. But I wanted to work with a material that meant something to me, I eventually realized the answer was on my feet the whole time. I knew I should sacrifice my sneaker habit and spend that money on art supplies, this was also a way for me to have my cake and eat it too. As the work progressed I found it a very versatile medium, allowing me to explore different concepts and issues. The challenge keeps me coming back to it.
- How long does it take to make each mask?
FP : I used to have a standardized answer, and for an easy estimate I’d say 3-6 weeks. But then there are “outliers”, like one mask that took 72 weeks or others that I only have a day or two to create. The 7 adidas masks on display at adidas SOHO were made in about 3 weeks. Each mask has it’s own parameters. Some collectors want elaborate, time-consuming bells and whistles; others want something more simple or raw. Some ideas require a lot of planning, others are just about striking at the right time. As an artist I’m finding it important, for myself and the work, to keep a balance of short-term and long-term projects.
- How did your relationship with adidas start?
FP : Personally, as a Hip-Hop head, the adidas Superstar was the first sneaker I remember hunting in high school, looking high and low for a pair with red stripes. My friend came back from a trip out of town with a pair and I was devastated. Later, during MASK365 I chose a pair of Def Jam Ultrastars to turn into a mask for the last day of that yearly project. In 2011 I created a Stormtrooper helmet from 2 pairs of adidas x Star Wars Super Skate II Mids, that made a big splash. There’s been other great adidas sneaker masks along the way but the recent work I’ve been able to do with the brand has been most exciting. The SOHO 7 are a diverse sampling of the different types of sneaker masks I create, all built in a unique and original way. Hopefully we’re just getting started.
I want to take a moment to thank the amazing people I’ve had to work and speak with at adidas, at Johannes Leonardo, and at Exposure. This has been an amazing blessing & experience. And of course a thanks to all my fans/supporters/friends & family – these moments are extra sweet because I can share them with people who have believed in me & in the work for so long.