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Jeff Hamada x Converse 1HUND(RED) Chuck Taylor

We have just received exclusive photos of an upcoming Converse 1HUND(RED) release by artist/Designer Jeff Hamada. The shoes are not out yet but will be dropping at select stores later this year.

Converse commissioned 100 musicians, graphic and graffiti artists from all over the world to create one-of-a-kind sneaker designs inspired by the global fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. You may recall the Dr. Romanelli Chuck Taylors for the 1HUND(RED) project that debuted earlier in the year.

Converse sent each artist a questionnaire to fill out regarding the project and we have an excerpt from it. Jeff answered a few questions about the concept behind his design, as well as some thoughts about people’s perceptions of the crisis in Africa. Read it and see more pictures after the jump.

How did you come up with your 1HUND(RED) design–what was your inspiration?
When I was contacted about the project I immediately started to sketch out some ideas, and I kept drawing hands. Hands reaching out, reaching up. I just had this image of all these hands. It wasn¹t like I went and read books and researched for the project (which I often do), this was more of a gut reaction, like the first thing that popped into my mind.

How does your design relate to the theme of 1HUND(RED)? Or to issues of AIDS?
Well first of all, there are 100 hands on the shoe. I guess it’s like a safety net solution for relating any imagery to the project. I could very well have drawn 100 toe nail clippers on the shoe in that sense. But I think the hands are very much related to the issues at the heart of this project. I wanted the imagery to be seen from two points of view – As the hands of the world reaching out to help Africa, and also as the hands of all the people in Africa reaching up for help. I wanted there to be a variety of shades of skin color to represent this idea, and the little bits of blue are there to kind of represent a hopeful point of view about the struggle that is going on over there.

What do you want people to take away from your shoe design in terms of (PRODUCT) RED? But also in terms of trying to help people?
I have this picture of a large group of people stuck in this deep hole in the ground and they’re all desperately calling for help. Meanwhile, above them, there’s all these other people walking around carrying these huge ladders. Some are even carrying three or four ladders at once! There is such an abundance of ladders that people are actually piling them up and setting fire to them, just to get rid of them. As the voices of those trapped in the holes get louder the fires just continue to burn. I guess the message of my shoe isn’t just about Africa, it’s common sense, it’s day to day, it’s everyday. I think it’s your duty as a human being to help those in need.

Can creativity make people care? How/why?
I think it can but not on its own. Creativity alone, while it is a great vehicle for spreading a message, can still be ignored. I think TRUTH is the only the thing that can’t be ignored (at least not forever). If there is truth in the message and it is creatively presented so that people can actually understand it, then it has the ability to make people care.

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