Art on Fire

Air Jordan 1 x A Tribe Called Quest –Low End Theory Air Jordan 2 x Mos Def & Talib Kweli – BlackStar Air Jordan 3 x  Tupac – All Eyez On Me Air Jordan 4 x The Fugees – The Score Air Jordan 5 x Eminem – The Slim Shady LP Air Jordan 6 x Wu Tang Clan – 36 Chambers Air Jordan 7 x Nas – Illmatic Air Jordan 11 x Dr. Dre – The Chronic Air Jordan 14 x Outkast – ATLiens

Graphic design artist Patso Dimitrov has an insane collection of artwork. Inspired by hip-hop, pop culture and of course, sneakers. The works shown above are from his mashup of classic Air Jordans and 90’s hip-hop albums. Both the music and sneakers defined an era and have proven to be timeless pieces that continue to inspire. Enjoy the slideshow above and tell us which pair is your favorite in the comments below.

via @pvtso 

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AdidasTopTenShoot-FreehandProfit-ImanShumpert BobaFettShoot FreehandProfit-Lamarae and Martel from SDSneakerSwap-at Rosewood during RiseoftheUndeadstock USMCMaskShoot

Freehand Profit sent a surge through the sneaker community when he first introduced his creative avant garde sneaker masks.  Flawlessly blending the beauty of urban and modern art, Freehand has collaborated with a plethora of heavy hitters in the game.  On the heels of his Wu-Tang tribute, Freehand joined us for an exclusive interview to discuss chopping up grails, artist block and what’s next for the Army of UNDS.

Recently you did a Wu Tang Clan tribute , as well as an Air Force 1 mask for the M.E.T.H.O.D Man himself . Does the music you listen to often play a role in your work and can we look forward to more hip-hop tributes in the future?

Hip-Hop has everything to do with my work, the music and culture of Hip-Hop sparked my love for kicks and I’m sure it’s the same way for a lot (if not most) of the ‘sneakerheads’ out there. As an artist I’ve always looked for a way to create artwork that was ‘Hip-Hop’, in middle school and high school that was graffiti. When I went to college, I started looking for new visual languages within Hip-Hop.

All of the masks in some way are a reflection of, or a tribute to Hip-Hop. Even the way I market myself and the work is inspired by the music industry. I’ve been working behind the scenes with up and coming emcees and rappers for more than a decade; taking what I’ve learned and applying it to my art career.  My artistic process working with the shoes is comparable to how a DJ or producer will sample a track or scratch a record.  Hip-hop has always used existing art as ‘materials’ and transformed it or remixed it into something completely new and exciting.

You’ll definitely see more like the Wu Tribute, like the ‘Darth Yeezy’ helmet I have in the works (made from Solar Yeezy 2s, part College Dropout bear – part Darth Vader).  Though with price of Yeezys, don’t expect to see that anytime soon.


Have you ever had to chop up a grail for one of your clients?

The Bin 5′s broke my heart!  My buddy Henry aka ‘DeathVsLife’ asked me to chop up his Air Jordan 5 Retro Premio “BIN 23″ a few months before I was set to release my first book, ‘Army of the Undeadstock’.  I must have looked at him like he had lost his mind.  Though I had many hesitations, the more I thought about it though the more I realized I had to do it.

The 5′s are my favorite from the Jordan lineup and at that time I hadn’t used a pair to make a mask. I decided, what better way to memorialize my favorite pair than to work with one of the very best 5′s out there?  I also had to acknowledge that the sacrifice is important to the work, and that just because it wasn’t truly my sacrifice, it was still a very valid sacrifice on Henry’s behalf.

I still get a cringe, like when I chopped the “Cork” Nike Lebron 10 on SKEE Live – but I use that feeling to fuel my new work. Essentially, it makes the work better because I know I have to make it worthwhile for whomever has placed their grails on the creative altar.


Where do you go to seek inspiration when you get artist block?

Artist block is a tricky thing. I don’t often feel a loss of inspiration or imagination, more often than not, it comes from fatigue. Because we live in a ‘create-on-demand’ world, telling a client/collector that the work isn’t done because I had ‘artist block’ just doesn’t cut it – so I force myself to work through it.

Music is my main source of inspiration, next to movies and films. I also tend to hit museums when I need an inspiration boost.  Natural History Museums are my favorite – I hope to one day display and photograph the masks the way museums display taxidermy animals in dioramas.


There is talks of a Foamposite mask, do you think there will be any challenges working with an “indestructible” shoe?

I’ve been slowly working with some Nike ACG Foamposite Boots that my co-author B(e) Selah gave me to tinker with the first day we met. The materials are definitely more stubborn, doubly so because of the ACG technology/styling. The real trouble with Foams on a mask will be that the upper is basically one single piece, so there aren’t a lot of lines and shapes for me to remix. I think to do an interesting mask from Foamposites I’d probably want to chop at least 2 pair, which would give me enough material to really get creative with. The Safari Foams would be pretty wild for a mask, though with the glowing fog / smoke, it just makes sense to use the Paranormans for a gas mask.


#ArtonFire has inspired artists all over the world to start acting on their passions. Do you have any advice for young artists just stepping into the art game?

My best advice for young artists is to always make time to BE CREATIVE. My daily project, MASK365, really showed me how important it is to get as many ideas out as possible. You’ve got to go through A LOT of bad ideas before you can come up with a really good one.

Perhaps the most important advice is to ignore the folks who tell you to stop or to give up, especially if they’re not doing anything to chase their dreams. Don’t talk about it, be about it. Your art is one of the greatest tools you’ll ever be given, it can get you through the darkest nights and can bring about the brightest days. Seek out originality, nobody gets famous for singing karaoke.


What’s next for the leader of the Army of UNDS?

Next step is to infiltrate the art world more, though they can be a bit elitist and usually need to be force fed anything that has to do with Hip-Hop. I’ve also got plans for an app that would give people behind the scenes access to my work, unreleased masks, helpful how-to’s on how to make their own masks and more.  The 2nd edition of ‘Army of the Undeadstock’ is also in the works, which will include more than 20 new masks in addition to the 30+ that were in the first edition. And of course I’ll be working hard with the 8 and 9 Brand to deliver more fresh gear.

Mostly, I’m looking forward to trying new techniques on upcoming masks.  I’ll stop making masks when I can’t make the next one better than the last one.  Jay said it best on ‘My 1st Song’ – Treat my first like my last, and my last like my first, And my thirst like the first song I sang. 


Thank you to #TeamKoF @EXP_life111 for conducting the interview!

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