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Thursday, 28 August 2014

STGCC 2014: Sneaking around with Sekure D


Melbourneite Mathew Fabris aka Sekure D is the latest to join the ranks of  toy luminaries Angry Woebots, Frank Kozik and Scott Tolleson but he's no featherweight. He made a career out of customising sneakers and was named one of the world's best sneaker artists in March 2014. He has even earned an endorsement from Singapore's very own SBTG:

"To me, Sekure D's is right on top of the custom sneaker game. In terms of a painted custom sneaker, i would rate his workmanship as flawless as factory made. All his creations are photographed well and takes care of the texture of the leather. Aside from using all original artwork, his style has matured so well that his works are composed, executed and presented with such finesse"
Depending on the level of intricacy, Mathew works anything between 10-16 hours on each pair of sneakers, drawing inspiration from cartoons, comics and cinema. I'm no sneakerhead but I do love owning some 'original' kicks. Whenever I put on my Onitsuka X tokidoki, it's like putting magic on your feet. I just step onto the streets, feeling different, knowing I'm different, but all the delusional babbling crumbles before his custom masterpieces. I could use any number of words to describe his work but like Mathew, I believe the work speaks for itself. 

 
Me: In a short 8 years, you have put your name on the map. Your sneaker art has traveled from your bedroom to the National Gallery of Victoria, your clients include Nike, Puma and Adidas and you have released collaborative sneakers with Globe and Jordan Brand. How has the lack of art/design school training contributed to your style? I would love to say starting with a blank slate has worked wonders for you.

Mathew: It's interesting to think about, I have heard arguments from both sides. Those being that art school can water down your creativity but I also probably lack some basics that I would have picked up along the way if I studied art instead of Finance and IT. That being said I think being self taught is really a great way to learn, an often expensive way to learn because mistakes cost you time and money but you move forward with greater understanding. Before I started doing graffiti I had little to no art experience, never looked at art books or went to galleries and my first custom sneaker was the very first time I properly used a paint brush, learning on the fly just appears to work for me.

Me: Leonardo. Mona Lisa. Van Goh. Starry Night. Michelangelo. The Creation of Adam. Salvador, The Persistence of Memory. The mention of their names conjures effortlessly an artwork.  Which of your customs (shoes) is the perfect distillation of your artistic essence?
 
Getting lost in there is not a pleasant thing
Mathew: Wow, the Labyrinth Air Force 1 was the first shoe that represented a focus on me developing a strong style and pushing forward with it. In the sneaker custom game its very easy to get acknowledgement by replicating existing artwork and successful sneakers however where does this get you in the long run? I made the decision to forego some short term success to try and play the long term game and I think it paid off. Brands and galleries aren't going to ask you to work with them if you don't have anything original or creative to present them with, this is my life, I think I made the right decision.


Me: The dismissive "my child could do that" criticism is hurled at the perceived lack of value in abstract art. Sometimes it's a swirl, sometimes it's block, and other times, it looks like an unfortunate accident. You are not one of the detractors and you have mentioned 'abstract graffiti' in previous interviews, a style that you are pushing for and carrying across platforms, from sneakers to toys to canvases. What is abstract art to you and what elements have you incorporated into graffiti?

Abstract is I!
"The style I have developed and grown into is one that is bold, colorful and pulls in all my experiences doing graffiti."
Mathew: The style I have developed and grown into is one that is bold, colorful and pulls in all my experiences doing graffiti. I refer to a lot of my pattern work as abstract graffiti because I have distilled down the aspects of graffiti art I like and think are effective for me and put them to use without any real letter formations or structure. That's the main thing I am trying to achieve, a graffiti almost pop art feel but without having actual graffiti on sneakers because I have found more often then not graffiti on shoes doesn't seem to work.
Raider Air Force 1

Me: I'm a fan of narratives behind customs. Your story line started with Toonbots and Roboheroes, a solo exhibition which led to another, Robots > Humans. Codename Unknown is the leader of Robo Allegiance in a world where humanity needs saving from itself. You would be bringing a set of customised toys to STGCC and have spoiled a few of them. How does Codename Aquatic and Operation Upgrade fit into this universe and what super powers do they posses?

Mathew: Very early on I created a whole narrative for my characters, it provides me with my own universe to pull inspiration from and use to create entities. It has been a big success for me in providing a clear direction in the creation of my characters and art. I don't think I will ever publish the story but the core essentials are that an Artificially Intelligent race of Robots have become fed up with Humans mistreatment of the plant and see the eradication of our species as the only means of their survival on earth. After they all but wipe out humanity they become bereft of meaning and search for entertainment in the form of many of our popular culture icons. A byproduct of the creation of Codename Unknown Artificially Intelligent Robots has been a toxic waste which has spawned a race of Blob monsters who devour everything in their path and to which the Robot Allegiance is now in a war with. Forced to create new robots with pieces of older models found in underwater scrapyards and terrestrial junkyards we are seeing robots whose exteriors are hybrids of coral, rocks and metal. This is where the rocky and coral encrusted races of customs come into play.

Your mother was right: don't trust smiling strangers!
 
Me: You do know that they look a tad unsettling for saviours. Barnacles-encrusted skin and exposed brains. I don't know if I want to be saved by them. Is the decay some deeper reflection of the moral highwire balancing they have to do and if Aquaman touches Codename Aquatic, would he get STD?

Mathew: Well that's just it isn't it, they really aren't saving us, if anything they hunted us all down haha. They decided long ago they were superior to us and only left a few humans alive, enough for the survival of the species. In regards to Aquaman I don't think he would get an STD but he would definitely get a serious ass whooping, haha, dolphins can't defeat robots, at least not in my story.

6) Can you give us an exclusive sneak peek? :3

Presenting Operation Upgrade Dunny!

7) Operation Upgrade looks like it has not completed upgrading! Look at the fangs on that thing. Ugh! And its brains are leaking out of its ears! :P Ok, next fun question. If your Thing faces The Thing, who would win and why? This sounds slightly erotic but yea.

Why would you need a caption to tell you what this is?

Mathew: It does sound dirty doesn't it haha. Well the real Thing is incredibly strong but I am never going to talk down one of my Codename Unknown team members, he can probably just call in a tonne of reinforcements and ruin his day if need be.

8) Emma Frost drops by and needs help: she has to attend another one of her dreary high society events but she needs your genius. Design a pair of killer heels for the frosty queen.

Mathew: Haha I am not sure I can do that with such short notice but I can tell you this, my phone number will probably be inside the shoe box when I hand them over.






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