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Nike Taiwan: The IAM1 Journey

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Nike recently held their IAM1 Journey Exhibition within the walls of their new retail space in Taipei, TPE 6453. We had the chance to catch up with some of the featured artists each sharing their own distinct artistic abilities through an exhibition that boasts the past, present, and future of Nike’s timeless Air Max 1 runner. On hand were artists Alien, Ano, Phalanx Studios, and Hong Kong’s SILLY THING.

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Having a strong background in graffiti, Ano brings his talent in the field of art to Nike’s IAM1 Exhibition in Taiwan. Ano’s concept follows a red color theme, showcasing the vitality, warmth, and happiness expressed in the Taiwanese culture. His piece takes on the air theme, with Nike’s technology front and center.

Interview with Ano

Please introduce yourself and tell us how you connected with Nike on this IAM1 Exhibition?

This is my first time collaborating with Nike. I’ve done graffiti for the past ten years and was honored for Nike to invite me out to this event, it definitely shows their stamp of approval for my work. Moreover, this is my first time painting indoors but its a nice example of science meeting street culture.

What element of the AM1 was the basis of inspiration for your creation?

Have you heard of FAMICOM? It’s a is an 8-bit video game console that was released by Nintendo in 80’s, which is around the same time the Nike AM1 dropped. At the time, the sneaker was like a huge bomb being dropped down on the sports market because of its classic style and advanced technology. I’m always drawing in 8-bit style graffiti and love it, just as much as I do the AM1 silhouette.

How does your style translate to that of the AM1 silhouette and your ultimate concept?

All my favorite games originate from the 8-bit era, whenever you see the latest video game, its still finds inspiration from past games. The same can be said for the new Air Maxim 1, which follows the mold of the AM1 yet still feature new technologies. Follows the same elements feature in the shoe, I made my installation in sport red, blending that special color into a grafitti piece. Graffiti is just like an air spray on the wall, its all about “Air”.


What is your role in this AM1 exhibition through Nike?

My role is to remake a new piece from classic designs. It sounds cliche but I never forget the original designs, we should always remember and respect it. Even with fashion trends, they come in circles, always imitating some form of old structures into a new concept.

What’s your favorite Nike sneaker besides the AM1?

I was into jogging when the Air Max 95 came out, so I can never forget that show, especially when I first caught sight of the neon colorway. I couldn’t believe how beautiful those shoes were. For every race, the Air Max 95 is my best friend, perhaps it has changed my life forever.


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Offering a different perspective, Phalanx Studios were invited out the the Nike IAM1 Exhibition in Taiwan, putting their toy making efforts on display. Being in the street culture limelight for the past seven years, the collective preview another well thought out installation for this important event.

Interview with Phalanx Studios

Please introduce yourself and tell us how you connected with Nike on this IAM1 Exhibition?

We began making toy figures and promoting street fashion in Taiwan back in 2002. At the time street fashion was just like a baby, still in its growing stages. Nike always liked to promote local artists for their collaborative exhibitions and we were once of the lucky few. We have actually worked together several times and really appreciate Nike for providing us a platform to showcase our fantasy works.

What element of the AM1 was the basis of inspiration for your creation?

The visible air feature and air max cushion was definitely the basis of our inspiration. We tried to incorporate that vision into a fictional super hero character series – “The Invisible Power”.

How does your style translate to that of the AM1 silhouette and your ultimate concept?

Tracing back to our “The Invisible Power” concept, we translated that to the exhibition, seeing as our super hero was born in the 80s, much like the AM1.

His super powers include an ultra-hi vacuum power, tornado outbreak, shock wave, solid air, and smoke, all which can definitely relate to the AM1.

What is your role in this AM1 exhibition through Nike?

We always strive at promoting the scene as a whole, which includes the combination of toys, sneakers, and everything in between. Every figure we make is hand made and hold a certain exclusive factor, much like this exhibition. A toy is just a toy, but works like these, contemporary art works, are a form to showcase everything important in street fashion.

What’s your favorite Nike sneaker besides the AM1?

The Air Jordan stands out in my memory as playing an important role in Taiwan. The shoes were the best salesman to spread the word of Jordan’s awesome skills as well as Nike and the NBA. My first pair of Air Jordans were the VII, released for the Dream Team. In those times, when we were young, you would get a lot of respect from your friends for wearing a pair of sneakers like those.


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Following a time capsule concept, Taiwan-based illustrator and TV personality Alien offered his contribution to this latest Nike IAM1 Exhibition showcasing the interior parts of the classic Air Max 1 silhouette. Finding inspiration from his many interests, including street culture, music, and costume design, Alien once again creates an impressive work of art.

Interview with Alien

Please introduce yourself and tell us how you connected with Nike on this IAM1 Exhibition?

I’ve have been a TV star in Taiwan for the past 7 years, but have also been creating art work for that same time, working on illustrations as well as publishing my own sketch book. Nike noticed my work and sponsored me for particular works. Having worked with them for sometime, they finally recognized my artwork as exhibition worthy and invited me out for this exhibition.

What element of the AM1 was the basis of inspiration for your creation?

We had lots of meetings before I began this piece of artwork. Nike dropped me some knowledge of the AM1, which directed my concept and inspired me a great deal. The main concept for my piece is Nike’s slogan, “Revolution is Evolution”. I also managed to implement some other elements including the “visible air” concept.

How does your style translate to that of the AM1 silhouette and your ultimate concept?

Making a classic design was my priority. The AM1 is one of the most classic shoes from 1987. I was born in 1983, so I imaged that if I was a university student who lived in 1987, what would I do when I came upon the AM1 and Nike product? Therefore, I made an installation which featured Nike shoes boxes made in 1987. You can see the decorations, details and all the vintage goods included. The entire concept sounds really complicated, but when presented it all makes sense. Almost like all of 1987, crammed into a the small studio entitled “Alien Revolution Studio”.

What is your role in this AM1 exhibition through Nike?

In 1987, the AM1 is presented, which is the highest technology in that era. Everyone is amazed about how the air cushion could be implemented into an air sole and be visible. It’s a revolution and evolution, just like my role in this event.

What’s your favorite Nike sneaker besides the AM1?

Definitely the Air Jordan series. Jordan and his shoes accompany our childhood and teen age. I can never forget how hard it was to purchased a pair of Air Jordan’s. I had to line-up for hours, just for a chance to purchase a pair.


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Known not only in their native Hong Kong, but throughout Asia as a powerhouse multi-facted brand, SILLY THING bring their unique vision to this star studded lineup at the IAM1 Exhibition. Their contribution includes a video piece for the show.

Interview with SILLY THING

How did this partnership between Nike Sportswear and SILLY THING occur?

Incidentally, this isn’t the first time SILLY THING and Nike have partnered. Last year upon Nike Sportswear Causeway Bay’s opening we were also involved creating a video installation over three monitors. Then with this event in Taipei, this asked if we’d like to participate once again and we were excited to work together.

What sort of work goes into creating a video like this?

We’re mainly comprised of a four person team which includes a director, producer, media designer and interface designer. Starting from the director, he handles the whole process and fine-tunes small elements. In turn, the producer executes everything and ensures the logistical side of things is in order. The media designer’s job is to create the right aesthetic while finally the interface designer ties everything together.

What were the inspirations behind your video?

The Parisian Pompidou Center for culture and arts served as our inspiration. We definitely didn’t want our creation to be too conventional and wanted to really push the boundaries that was ultimately a fresh and original excecution. We wanted our video installation to be interactive, not simply something that remained stagnant and stationary.

Did you come across any particular difficulties?

The whole project was extremely tough and taxing. From the get go, we had less than one month to prepare everything from start to finish. The majority of the work was done in the stadium and as we made the move over to Taiwan, we were afforded only 3-4 days to really put everything together and ensure they were all up to spec.

How exactly does the video installation work?

Essentially there are two sensors on the side. From there whenever a human body part comes into contact with the sensors, a particular music and graphic will play-out.

What are your impressions of the TPE 6453 space?

I think it’s a great initiative on Nike’s part. Few brands really focus on the artistic side of things and work towards creating this large scale exhibitions. As a space purely for exhibiting products rather than being for sale, there’s a certain artistic element that is enhanced and a great place overall for collaboration.

How is Taiwan and Hong Kong creative/design scene different?

In general I would say that the Taiwanese creative community are more into the conceptual and underlying meaning of the whole project. On the other hand, the Hong Kong demographic wishes a more direct and instantaneous impact with their work. The overall appearance and outlook of Hong Kong-based creations are more important than the conceptual aspect of the piece.

Do you guys collect sneakers?

We’re big fans of what Nike and Jordan Brand have done. Some of our favorites include the Air Max series, some of the best running designs around, Nike’s vintage running collection and the Air Jordan XI.

Date: Aug 28, 2009  /  Views: 10  /  Author: Staff
Category: Editorial  /  Tags: Nike, Hypebeast, Interviews, Features, Nike air max