No.112: Nike SB PRod 7 Gas Mask

 

112 x Nike PRod7 Sneaker Gas Mask by Freehand ProfitIt will come as no surprise that my biggest inspiration has always been Hip-Hop. I was 10 years old in ’93 and the newest in Hip-Hop would be considered one of the Golden Eras of Hip-Hop, even nearly 25 years later many die-hards hold music released in the years to come as the standard of what Hip-Hop should be… but I didn’t know that. I just knew I loved what I was hearing.

I say that to say that I spent almost two decades searching for a way to translate that inspiration into my artwork and artistic process. “Translating” audible influences into a new/original visual artform meant gaining an understanding of the elements of Hip-Hop which is itself an amalgamation of art forms. Luckily my friends are often musicians and creatives, and so I’ve spent years having casual, in depth, unfiltered conversations with emcees, DJs, writers and dancers. Being able to relate to their processes and how they conceptualize their next piece helped me develop my sneaker mask process.

112 x Nike PRod7 Sneaker Gas Mask by Freehand Profit

The masks are a remix, a sample. I cut like a DJ, twist forms like a graffiti writer and like a b-boy I use ritual and movement to tie it all together. I just do it through sculpture, using materials that mean something to me – sneakers. 

112 x Nike PRod7 Sneaker Gas Mask by Freehand Profit

No.112? That’s like 50 masks ago!

Yep, the mask was on hold for my next trip to NYC so I could shoot the mask with the legendary Produer/DJ & sneaker god, DJ Clark Kent. I mean… c’mon son! The 112th mask had to be in his infamous 112 color way. Numbers are an important part of story telling.

Well, while delivering and helping to set up sneaker masks at Nike SOHO last month I reached out to Clark Kent and we linked up to snap a couple pics and got the chance to talk sneakers and graffiti with a true OG.

112 x Nike PRod7 Sneaker Gas Mask by Freehand Profit
Figgs speaking with DJ Clark Kent. Freehand Profit behind the lens, dialing it in for the upcoming sneaker mask photo shoot. 

With the help of Figgs from 8&9 and with Eli “Lantern” Neal modeling the mask, I photographed the 112th sneaker mask in Manhattan, not far from where I photographed the Ewing 33 HI mask years before.

112 x Nike PRod7 Sneaker Gas Mask by Freehand Profit

The mask will be displayed at a couple events (maybe one more shoot at the Primitive shop?) and then it will find it’s rightful home as a gift to Clark, just a small thanks for all his contributions to both Hip-Hop and sneaker culture.

Flashback to 2013…

The 112 SB pack might be the last time I waited in line for a sneaker release. Between the change of how hyped releases are handled and my low tolerance for queuing, there are few shoes that are worth the time involved. But the 112 color way?

Yeah I’ll do it for that! Elephant print, volt, black and 3M? Yeah, yeah sign me up!

Lucky for me I was living in Sherman Oaks and the Primitive flagship store was just down the street in Encino. The release went super smooth, but pairs were running low in the popular SB Dunk lows. I lucked out and scored a pair in my size but opted to mask up the Nike SB Paul Rodriguez 7 High Premium aka PRod 7 instead. Same quality materials and more of it, plus a new sneaker silhouette to work with! Win, win! Plus some cat behind me gets the Dunks they wanted. Super belated shouts to Ron, thanks for always helping out when I came into the shop! 

Freehand Profit

 

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