Nike: The Anatomy of Air – The Artists Behind the X-ray
This year sees the 20th anniversary of one of Art & Sole's all-time favourite sneaker models, the human anatomy-inspired Nike Air Max 95. As part of the celebrations, Nike tasked two artists known for their anatomy-based work to illustrate the iconic silhouette (plus its recently released updated versions) as if made from flesh and blood...
Designed 20 years ago by Nike footwear design legend Sergio Lozano, the Air Max 95 is an iconic and truly original sneaker silhouette. The boundary-pushing design of the shoe was famously based on Lozano’s attraction to the correlation between the construction of the human body and the essentials of product design. When creating the first Air Max 95 prototype, human ribs, vertebrae, muscles, and skin were all chief points of inspiration.
With Lozano's original design references in mind, Canadian artist Andy Van Dinh has depicted both the original Air Max 95 and the brand new Air Max 95 Ultra Jacquard using his vintage anatomical drawing style. When asked about his initial thoughts on the project, Dinh explains, ‘I wanted the viewer to understand the layers of the shoe and the body-part references. I also wanted to demonstrate how Sergio Lozano dissected the human anatomy to find the textures and shapes of the shoe. Overall, I thought of it as a cohesive collage of body parts, with each layer overlapping and revealing what's underneath. My very first thoughts were I didn't want to disappoint the original designer since I am reinterpreting someone else's work.’
The job of illustrating the newly released women's Air Max 95 Ultra fell to London-based artist Katie Scott. ‘I love the detail, symmetry and structure of anatomy,’ says Scott, ‘I am also interested in the history of anatomical study and the twists and turns in our understanding of the body. I was so happy to be brought a brief that felt like I had written it myself. I loved learning about the shoe design as well.'
The Nike Air Max 95 OG, Air Max 95 Ultra Jacquard and women’s Air Max 95 Ultra are all available now via the Nike website and through Nike retailers worldwide.
Visit our Instagram feed to see some of Lozano's original Air Max 95 design sketches