Nike Air Max 1 MAX100 Ode By Matt Stevens

MAX100 by Matt Stevens
MAX100 by Matt Stevens

Kicks: What was your inspiration for diving into the MAX100 project?

Matt: As I said, I work in branding and corporate design. I was looking for something to illustrate to get back into that part of my background. I decided to illustrate every pair of Nikes I ever owned. I didn’t quite make it all the way through and honestly got kind of bored doing the same style over and over. So I took the AirMax1 and I was going to do a different one each day. The reason I could do one a day, was because I would just change the colorways. But I started getting bored with that too, and decided to start changing the style of the illustration. I actually started mimicking the style of some of my favorite designers and artists as a sort of tribute to them. That got a great reaction from the design world through social media like Twitter. Then I decided to see how far I could push this series. Everything became fair game. It could be a change of style or any wild idea I could think of (a pancake, a lost dog poster, etc.). The series got such a great reaction, I thought I’d put it out there as a Kickstarter project to try and complete an even 100 and make a really cool book.

Kicks: Once you made up your mind to totally commit, did the project evolve and take on a life of its own that you hadn’t initially anticipated?

Matt: Yeah, definitely it did. I keep a running list on my phone, so anytime I had an idea, I’d type it in. Everything I saw became a possible inspiration for a new illustration. I really got hooked in and couldn’t wait to try and do the next one. With a full time job and family, that often meant working until crazy hours to make sure I got at least 2-3 done per week. But I loved it. It became this driving force, that I just kept going with. I look back on a lot of the shoes and don’t even remember doing them.

Kicks: What would it mean to you for MAX100 to meet its pledge goal and hit the production stage?

Matt: The Kickstarter experience has been quite the rollercoaster. I started out of the gates really fast, getting halfway funded after just a few weeks. Now, some days are good and some are slow, so I’m trying to stay even about it and not get too high on a good day or too low, when things really slow down.

For me personally, this project is about the joining of art and ideas and this obsession with sneakers we share. It’s also about hooking into something you love and really going after it. I love when I create something and people have some sort of connection to it. So to put this thing out there, have people love it enough to donate their hard earned money, and have the project make it, would be one of the most amazing experiences I could have as a designer.

Kicks: Do you have any other sneaker related art projects in mind for the future?

Matt: I’ve been so focused on this, I haven’t really thought that far in advance. I still have lots of AirMaxes to do!

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