September 4, 2009 BY Aaron Kr.
The More Than A Game Artist Series has been kicked up a notch since arriving in Europe. A few days back, we gave you a look at the incredible velvet Paris editions and now it’s time to take a look at the just unveiled London version. London artist, Billie Jean, has honored his home city, as well as LeBron, with some stylishly illustrated graphics done with a Yellow Submarine-esque feel. Several aspects of London history and culture are referenced in the designs and of course some nods to King James are thrown in for good measure. Keep reading after the jump for more info on the artist and his inspiration and a detailed look at the finer points of the London edition of the Air Max LeBron VII Artist Series.
London Artist Collaboration
At a presentation that took place during Nike’s grassroots activities in London, Billie Jean gave James a uniquely-designed pair of Air Max LeBron VII shoes.
Billie Jean was born in Paddington, West London, now living and working in Leytonstone, East London. Billie Jean had his first-ever illustration published in The Sunday Times newspaper, while still at school. He then went on to study at the Chelsea School of Art and Central Saint Martins, where he specialized in illustration. On leaving art school Billie went into photography, taking portraits for The Face, The Guardian Weekend and Dazed & Confused magazines, amongst others. In 2003, he gravitated back to illustration, with his first commission that year being nominated for a D&AD Award
Billie Jean creates his work through the use of biros, Indian ink, acrylic paints, photography and a capacious imagination. He draws his inspiration from an eclectic mix of art, music, film, design and travel.
“The inspiration for this shoe design came from Londoner’s indomitable spirit during the Blitz, which has become folklore“, says Billie Jean. “LeBron James personifies this spirit. His determination and talent has enabled him to achieve absolute victory and success.”
LeBron’s exuberance on the basketball court is reflected in the limited-edition shoe’s busy design. The style incorporates a patchwork of traditional and not so traditional London motifs. For example, the flames licking the side of the shoe depict the Great Fire in 1666, which radically changed the landscape of the city. The image of the Indian lady and the African patterns are symbolic of London’s culturally diverse population. The River Thames weaves it’s way through the design as it does through the city, and the line pattern on the inside of each shoe is an aerial view of the river.