adidas & Damien Weighill (Interview)
This short film for the adizero Primeknit takes a lighthearted look at the machinery used to create the shoe, featuring an illustrative tapestry created by London-based artist Damien Weighill…
After the unveiling of the silhouette in July 2012, adidas is about to roll out four more colourways of their adizero Primeknit running shoe. To mark the occassion they’ve worked with creative agency U-Dox (the people behind the excellent book Sneakers: The Complete Collectors' Guide) to create a film encapsulating the clever technology behind the shoe.
The film (shown below) focuses on the machine used to create the Primeknit shoe - although in this instance it’s not knitting a shoe, but rather an illustrated story containing evil robots and laser pterodactyls. The narrative takes humour from imagining what it would be like if robots could knit, with the Primeknit as its hero saving the human race. The result is an impressive two metre long knitted tapestry, with imagery created by Weighill.
We recently caught up with Weighill, to ask him a few questions about both his background and the creation of the Primeknit project...
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your artistic background?
My background is in graphic design but in recent years I've focused completely on illustration, working from a shared studio space called OPEN. I've recently been working on comics for Nokia and The Times, along with a load of editorial illustration for various magazines.
What is your relationship with sneakers and/or the sneaker industry?
Up until now I have had a one way relationship with sneakers; purchasing them to run in. It has been incredible to get a look behind the scenes with this project and hopefully that's what other people will take away from it too (that and a newfound love of laser pterodactyls).
What was your brief for the Primeknit project? Did you have any input in the story itself?
U-Dox came to me with the script at a point where they were almost finished putting the final touches to it. My job was to find the best way to translate that visually in a way that would work for the film. The robots and laser pterodactyls are entirely the invention of Nick Hearne at U-Dox, but he and adidas allowed me a lot of space to interpret how they would look.
Obviously your imagery was to be knitted by the machine that makes the Primeknit shoes - were there special production processes involved (such as changing your illustrative style), and did you get to experiment with the machine at all?
We were working to a tight deadline for the project so the focus wasn't really on experimentation. The key was to get a level of detail that would work with the resolution of the knitting machine (too much detail and everything began to merge together into one knitted blob). For me it involved some intense time tweaking of individual pixels and looking at a very squashed version of my illustration (to compensate for the different height and width ratio created by the threads in the tapestry). U-Dox were always on hand to guide me through the process and to make the jump from sketchbook to final knitted image as smooth as possible.
Finally, which is your favourite part of the tapestry?
My favourite part is probably the tiny astronaut lovingly embracing the shoe. Mainly because it was the first glimpse I got of some of my artwork in tapestry form at the very first knitting test.
Thanks to Damien Weighill.
Just 2000 of each of the new adizero Primeknit colourways are to be released in the near future via the adidas website and select retailers globally