Interview by Dexter Gordon (@swcdex)
Art is a creative form of self-expression. Art is vast and can be depicted through music, dance and drawing. A lot of sneaker enthusiasts can agree that the sneaker is the definition of an art form. From design, even down to the colorways, art and sneakers roll hand in hand. Even custom designers get their fix from the art form when they create new masterpieces. But what about having the ability of creating art from sneakers?
Well, Donnell McFadden is that guy who draws his inspiration from sneakers. Donnell uses today’s culture and media to create masterpieces using his love for sneakers. From music and modern art to even events that happened on the news, Donnell as used his artistic integrity to create dope pieces of art. A little while back, we were able to catch up with him at his art show (Art for the Sole) as he displayed and sold some of his pieces that represented his passion.
We sat down with Donnell to talk his passion for drawing, his influences, being a sneakerhead and much more.
How long have you been drawing for?
Since I was three. My mom and my dad liked to draw. I stopped drawing when I was in high school. I was drawing because everyone was telling me that no one was going to respect somebody who draws. So, I picked up basketball. When I broke my ankle, I asked myself “So I can’t play basketball now, what am I supposed to do?” I had my daughter and realized that I got to go back to school. I started drawing again and this is how this came about.
What gave you your inspiration to draw sneakers?
I’m a real big sneakerhead. I think about sneakers a lot. People see sneakers for “aw, yeah. I can wear it with my clothes,” but to me I can see the art in it– from the way it’s constructed, I see that. That’s how I see sneakers. Then there are the colors and the materials, all of that is the icing on the cake.
If you aren't doing sneaker art what else do you like drawing?
Originally, it was tattoos because I used to work in a tattoo shop. Then there are people who see my art and ask me can you draw this or that.
Do you collect sneakers yourself?
Yes, I do [laughs]
How many can you say you own?
Ugh. I can’t even. I’m not even going to try to give you a number. [laughs] Real close to triple digits.
How long have you been collecting for?
Since I was in high school. Like my sophomore year in high school. I started to get my own money and said. “You know what?” Every check, even when I was working at Wendy’s. My checks used to be $98 and change, my whole check was sneakers. I would ask my mom for a metro card so I can spend it all on sneakers.
What is your favorite sneaker from your collection?
Um, these. My KDs (points at Nike KD IV iD "Yeezy"). I love KDs
What's next for you?
What’s next? I don’t know. I’m trying to see where this takes me. Maybe some doors will open up. They don’t even have to open up. Just let me get my foot in it and I’ll be good from there.
You can check out more of his art work on his instagram: @jordans_dad_