How did the éS collaboration come about? Which came first: the product or the exhibit?
They offered me the opportunity to do a shoe and it was a bit of a blank canvas. I told them I really wanted to do a show, so why not do a show and tie in the shoe? I ended up with a shoe and a whole bunch of apparel. It's kind of for that older skater. I’m 30 now. I'm not 21, unfortunately. It's a little bit more mature. A cliche British thing is tweed, so I've used that as a base material in both the shoe and apparel. The shoes skate really well so I’m really happy with them. On the outside it's grey, like the reality. And on the inside it’s black and yellow TV static - a bit like how my head is.
What were your favorite sneakers growing up?
There was one shop where I grew up so I used to just buy everything I could afford at the time. Everything that was American. I just grew up wearing what the average skater kid wore. Baggy jeans, I used to live in hoodies. I used to wear a lot of Eric K's (Koston) stuff. It was semi-hard to find over here. And if you wore it was like you knew a little bit more about the culture than the kid wearing the standard off the shelf skate shoe, you feel like you're a little bit more intelligent. I wasn't really the chain wallet wearing punk rock kid. I was more subtle than that.
What's it like to make something that people will skate?
I never really saw myself as a shoe designer. It's not the first shoe I've ever worked on but it's the first proper skate shoe I've worked on. It's exciting to put a shoe on you've made and to skate a board you did the graphics on. To be honest, my skills on a skateboard have never been as good as I wanted them to be. I feel like I might have cheated the system somewhat by getting my name on a skateboard.
Do you have to change your work at all when you do apparel or shoes? Or is it the same approach?
The way that I approach clothing is that it has to be wearable - you don't want to look like a clown walking down the street. It also depends on the audience. I've done stuff in the past for Burton and snowboarders tend to wear more bright colored things while skaters are more jeans and t-shirts crowd. You want your stuff to sell but you also want it to stand out. It's more that classic men's silhouette. Men's fashion is more about the details than changing the whole silhouette. When I'm painting a canvas because no one has to walk around with it on their back. I'm not asking someone to buy it, I painted it because I wanted to paint it. But you don’t hang a shoe on the wall you wear them on your feet you've got to think a bit differently.
What do you hope to accomplish in the next little while?
After this one, I've already got ideas written up on the wall. It's just a matter of starting the work. I don't think I'm ever going to be satisfied. I'm going to be doing more shows. Hopefully there will be more shows stateside and London as well. I'll see where it takes me. I'm interested in creating more personal work than another collaboration. I've collaborated with a fair few people now and I'm happy with who I've worked with, I'm trying to create that language of Americana and see where it takes me.
Anything else you want to add?
Thanks to my wife Catherine for all her help. Everyone at Kemistry Gallery. And thank to the guys at éS. And thank you [Complex] for the opportunity!