A Few of My Favourite Sneakers: Ermsy
Next up in our continuing series ‘A Few of My Favourite Sneakers’ is a Troop-themed special from Paris-based graffiti artist, illustrator and graphic designer, Ermsy...
Fuelled by experimentation, Ermsy’s artwork has appeared in gallery shows, urban art auctions, books and magazines worldwide. Among other things, he's recently completed sneaker-related commercial projects for the likes of Converse and UK brand Trainerspotter.
For his AFOMFS contribution, Ermsy has decided to illustrate some favourite sneakers from his childhood. As he explains; ‘I decided not to illustrate my actual favourite sneakers, which most likely would have included Jordan 3s, 4s, Spizikes, Puma Clydes, adidas Superstars, Nike Air Stabs, Huaraches and Air Max 90s. I never owned a pair of Troops, they were too expensive and my budget back in 1989 would only stretch to Hi-Tecs or, at best, entry-level mainstream brands. Only the older kids at my school had Troops, which I suppose made me want them more. Although they seemed to be generally derided for build quality, I think the design is so amazingly bold and graphic. I also like the fact that they are now out of production and don't seem to be coming back anytime soon.'
Adding an extra dimension to his Troop-themed artwork, Ermsy has mixed his shoe illustrations with a selection of old school b-boy characters. ‘These characters were in vogue within the graffiti world of 1989,’ explains Ermsy, ‘often depicted wearing Troop shoes and holding Uzi 9mm guns (I suspect the release of By All Means Necessary by Boogie Down Productions in 1988 had something to do with that). I particularly remember the characters of TDK, who were a group of graffiti artists from Sheffield, close to where I lived in 1989.'
In order of appearance, the Troop sneakers illustrated include:
‘Despite being derided for the use of Nike’s elephant skin texture in their other shoes, Troop took it elsewhere by drawing inspiration from the markings of the cobra snake… a pretty unique and striking pattern.’
'I love the silhouette of the Cobra High, it really has a b-boy angle to it.'
Pro Performance High
‘Nike elephant skin in full effect. I decided to make a green version of the Pro Performance, which gave a nod to the Jordan 3 (introduced in 1988) with the air bubble style and placement. My friend at school had some of these, which quickly fell apart on the football field. He also came under harassment for the silver police badge on the tongue, which was swiftly removed.’
‘I like the marble pattern on these shoes, also the TR monogram on the velcro strap. I'm a big fan of Troop’s branding, which cheekily borrows the idea of the floating crossbar on the ‘T’ from Fila, but makes it strong and unique with its double ended arrow.’
‘I think this is a beautiful shoe, heavily branded and with nice lines. I like the fact that there are lots of different areas ripe for customisation. If this shoe was ever produced again, I think that it would work really well.’
We hope you enjoy the work shown, and thanks again to Ermsy for the trip down memory lane.
To see Ermsy's contribution to our recent Boxfresh Swich It Up project, click here.
To see more of Ermsy's work, visit his website here
And keep watching Art & Sole for the next installation of A 'Few of My Favourite Sneakers'...