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Interview by Jacques Slade (@kustoo)
According to the dictionary, a prelude is "an action or event serving as an introduction to something more important." For Nike Basketball, the events leading up to the introduction of the Kobe 9 has been key moments from Kobe Bryant's career.
Last week, Nike and Kobe introduced the Kobe 9 Elite alongside a special collection of "Prelude" products. The special line, the Kobe 1-8, tapped into Kobe's past and pulled from specific moments in his still-going NBA career to tell the story. For the Kobe 1, that story was inspired by his 81 point game against Toronto. To extend that story beyond the product and into the art world, Nike brought in surrealist artist, Hueman, to create a piece specifically for the Nike Vault.
For those not familiar with her work, Hueman, also known as Allison Torneros, is "inspired by nature, by psychology, and by dreams," and in this case, Kobe's 81 point game. We had the chance to catch up with Allison this weekend at the Nike Vault in Los Angeles where she unveiled her piece inspired by Kobe Bryant.
Complex: The Kobe 1 "Prelude Pack" was inspired by Kobe's 81-point game. How did that impact your piece?
Hueman: The 81-points for Kobe was such a surreal moment and Nike asked me to do a very surreal piece. Surrealism has been one of my biggest influences so I wanted to make sure I had a sort of homage to one of my favorite Surrealist painters, Rene Magritte. That is why you see the very blue and white clouds in the background.
If you look closely, I've also included a black mamba weaving its way through the piece. The piece itself, I wanted to really capture the energy that Kobe has and that he needed that night. There are multiple eyes and dimensions that represent the clarity and vision it took for him to score so many points that night. Looking even closer, you can see sections of his brain and muscle tissue, all of which had to work together in concert to realize such a fantastic feat.
Complex: Was the inspiration for this piece limited to just the game? Did the design of the Kobe 1 have an impact on your vision for the piece as well?
Hueman: It is definitely both Kobe and the shoe. Looking at the shoe, you can see the graphics go into the anatomy of the player. As you can see, there graphics of bones on the Nike Swoosh and the heart. They used faux snake-skin over the upper. I wanted to play on those for my piece, so I included the snake aka Black Mamba, and the cross section of his brain and muscles.
Complex: With all this being tied around the launch of Kobe's shoe, are you a big fan of sneakers?
Hueman: I am not much of a sneakerhead, but I am a fan of good design. I feel like I can recognize a good pair of sneakers when I see them.
Complex: Where can people go if they are interested in seeing more of your work?
The Nike Kobe Prelude Pack is set to release every Saturday through January 25, 2014, starting with the Kobe 1 that released on December 7. Look for the Kobe II to release on December 14.