Last month saw Intercity (authors of Art & Sole) curate a live-art project in Brighton (at The Great Escape Festival), with artwork supplied by local graffiti artists Pinky and Chum 101. Although not a sneaker-related event itself, working with Chum 101 reminded us that we’d never actually featured his ‘engraviti’ project (created under the label I-Saw) here on Art & Sole…
Chum 101 (aka Barney Trattles) has been involved in the UK Graffiti scene for three decades, yet he is still motivated by innovation and experimentalism - an approach that has seen him traverse the boundaries between fine art, sculpture, illustration, fashion, product design and tattooing. In the late 2000s, Trattles received many accolades for his high-end street fashion brand I-Saw, and for his custom footwear projects, which led to collaborations with both Nike and Reebok.
This video, created as part of the V&A’s Fashion V Sport exhibition from 2008/09, shows Trattles performing an act of what he calls ‘sneakourture’ – a term which refers to the process of customising a pair of leather sneakers using a combination of graffiti-styled artwork and artisanal rotary engraving skills (or ‘engraviti’ for short).
Trattles also produced work for Nike’s Festival of Air back in 2006, alongside artists such as Alex Nash, Insa and Vinti Andrews. Trattles hand-painted three pairs of Nike Air Max 1’s to feature the cover artwork of three seminal hip hop albums from 1987 (the same year the Air Max 1 was released), including; Paid in Full by Eric B. & Rakim; Criminal Minded by Boogie Down Productions and Yo! Bum Rush the Show by Public Enemy. Combining typography with portraiture, the intricate results can be seen below. Trattles also demonstrated his ‘engraviti’ work live at the exhibition, which was held at NikeTown London.
Thanks also to both Pinky and Chum 101 for the recent live-painting in Brighton