Backstage Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street

Behind the Artwork

Designer Jack Harper shares the bespoke concept and process behind his bold graphics for Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street.

In Jack's words

'My take on the exhibition was to tell the story of the people that have impacted the culture. What was their stamp on the culture? 

Sneakers symbolise the cultural evolution that it facilitates. If you look at a Jordan or Nike X Off-white, you see the age, the time and era it beholds in. Sneakers are the modern-day artefact.

They are this fascinating lens and representation to such a diverse demographic. It's hard to say many products in the world have this level of potency without compromising the identity of an individual.'

Work in process of prints in Jack's old house share (2019)

Work in process of prints in Jack's old house share (2019)

'To visually communicate sneaker culture as a whole felt like it needed a foundation, branding in a loose sense. I went back to more traditional methods of design, deliberately restricting myself from using digital software. The branding had to be the equivalent to humans discovering fire.

When I was far too young to understand how to properly use a paintbrush, I used to paint with my hands all the time. That child-like, somewhat primitive and pure mentality to create was the foundation of my idea.

To flip it, I applied paint onto the base sole of a Nike Air Force. This resulted in many relief prints. After multiple experiments with the amount of paint being used, followed by how hard I stamp the shoe onto the paper, I discovered how the force of impact represents the human element to the narrative. That force down was our impact. That's us running on sports day. That's us climbing up a hill. Walking with our friends. To tell the story of sneaker culture is to tell the story of how we interact with these objects.'

Pairs of Nike Air Force, Adidas Stan Smith, Converse All Star Chuck Taylor, and Vans Classic were used with upcycled paper and waterbased printing for the printing process before being scanned and given the finishing touches and layouts in Adobe Photoshop and InDesign.

Meet the designer

Jack Harper

Born in Brixton, London, in 1996, Jack Harper is the founder and creative director of his new project AELIZA.

After obtaining a degree in Graphic Design and Communication at Chelsea College of Arts, UAL, in 2017, he worked as a designer and art director under Samuel Ross at fashion and streetwear labels A-COLD-WALL and Polythene Optics.

Working as a freelancer in an interdisciplinary manner, predominantly in the cultural sector, Jack has worked for clients including Virgil Abloh, Nike, Eastwood Danso, Basement Approved, Arete, Mowalola, Man About Town, among others.

Ideation has always been a priority for Jack, and the medium in which he facilitates ideas is always an open dialogue. Communication takes priority whilst medium follows second.

Art direction, graphic design, fashion and photography are the few to name in which Jack facilitates ideas for himself and clients.

The exhibition

Step up and discover the footwear phenomenon that has challenged performance design, inspired new subcultures and shaken the world of fashion.