Q. How did this collaboration project come about?
A. Paola from Just One Eye called me, I don't know, you know I can't even remember when the first conversation happened, but it feels like almost two years ago. I don't know when.
Q. How does it feel sitting here and seeing all your artwork on these converse?
A. Oh it's great. I love it!
Q.You've been wearing Converse a long time yourself right?
A. -Yeah I think that Converse was like the first style decision in my life. I mean I remember getting them when I was a kid and I could not have been more than 7 years old probably like 5 or 6. Paola called me and explained that she had wanted to do various collaborations with artists and different brands...
-You know, I'm not super interested in collaborating in this way particularly but she said, "Would you do something," and you know she's a friend and I like the company and the store and everything and I thought it would be fun to do a project with her and it's so different from what I do all the time and then she mentioned Converse and I thought it was a great fit. I remember conversations I had with her years ago where she would ask me "what do you think about this artist and this thing?"
-But when she approached me about doing something with Converse it was great because that felt right. I didn't know what I was going to do at the time but since it had the opportunity to be something really kind of eccentric and unique – I thought it would be fun to do and this was the only idea that came to my mind.
Q. Were you hesitant about destroying one of your paintings?
A. No it was my idea to cut up the painting. And those paintings are really about violence anyway, so it felt fine. Doing it was a little bit weird because I've never like physically destroyed a painting that didn’t suck before, so it was a new experience.
But it was also an interesting experience because when I did it, the shoe cobbler, Raul, was super awesome and he was right there with me the whole time and he was explaining to me…in the end it wasn't this destructive thing it was this other creative thing… that was really rewarding.
...it wasn't traumatic or anything to destroy my painting and turn it into shoes. And then these other ones that are the drop cloth ones, I felt like that was a good way to include more of my studio into this project because I always have these canvas down on the floor soaking up whatever goes on like in a vain attempt to keep the floor clean and it's, you know, most of what creates all these marks is made with the foot anyway because its just walking on it and spilling on it and stomping around and it was cool to turn those back into shoes – and sometimes there's like a footprint, from the Converse in the paint ...and its nice. I like it!
Q. Why did you do this project?
A. Why? Why not.
Q. What was the inspiration?
A. I have no idea where the inspiration comes from. It just comes. You're looking for 'motives' where they don't exist. Why did you do this project? Where does the inspiration come from? You claim to be a critic, but you ask me 'why.'' Isn't that your job to 'explain?'' For me, it just happens.
Q. What is the meaning of the work?
A. The work doesn't mean anything. Why does it have to have a 'meaning.' Why does anything have to have 'meaning.' Is 'meaning' important? What does 'meaning' mean anyway?
Q. Do you find the work violent?
A. It's a film. It can't hurt anyone.
Q. Is it art?
A. It's a film. I'm a filmmaker and I made a little film.
Q. You're not being very helpful.
A. I'm not here to help you. Why do you need help? Do you want me to explain things to you? I thought that was your job. You're the journalist...or the critic. If I can explain anything to you I've failed. My job is complete when the film is finished. Anything else is your responsibility. Don't burden the work with 'motives' that don’t exist. It's a film. That's a painting. That's a wall. Those are shoes. This is a pen. That's all. Don't burden work with your expectations.
Q. You're very rude.
A. See, you are perceptive.
Just One Eye
For this project, Lowman has cut one of his paintings (depicting a copy of Willem de Kooning's 1954 portrait of Marilyn Monroe) into as many pairs of unique high-top Chuck Taylors as possible.
One of the original unique pairs will be reprinted for a limited run of 500 reproductions.
Streetwear comes up to the level of high art. Or is it the other way around?
This is the latest in a series of exclusive collaborations by Just One Eye where we bring together creative minds from divergent fields. For Lowman Converse, creating icons is their common ground.
Pytka was so inspired by Nate and the whole idea, that he embarked on a journey to bring his expression of it to life in a very interesting short film. It's a powerful cinematic journey and a unique interpretation of this collaboration.
This profound work moves us toward thinking, while it shakes us out of complacency. We believe that the project would not have been the same without Joe and are in gratitude to he and Nate for sharing their passions.
This is as close as you can get to walking in these artists' shoes. You can also find these fine art sneakers at Just One Eye's concept showroom in LA.
* These are only 18 of the 21, one-of-a-kind shoes available, check back soon to see the updated pairs.
At Just One Eye, we're expanding style into new realms, bringing together unexpected partners to reinvent the ideas of what's possible.
Just One Eye exclusives: