September 22, 2009 BY Aaron Kr.
Many of you have been following LeBron’s More Than A Game World Tour since it first kicked off in Chicago, and after hitting cities in Asia and Europe, the final leg has returned to the States. Last night, we showed you what went down at the NYC event, and now it’s time to check out the City Pack and Artist Series versions of the Air Max LeBron VII. As we already previewed last week, the NYC City Pack installment displays a photo of a young LeBron taking charge on court with his St. Vincent St. Mary high school squad, and like with the others, the city name is featured on the heel section of the Air bubble. The Artist Series Air Max LeBron VII takes somewhat of a minimalist approach compared to some others that we’ve seen, but still manages to create something memorable. Artist Tomokazu Matsuyama kept it super clean, going with a White on White look decorated with numerals that have been outlined with over 700 actual Swarovski crystals. Keep reading after the jump for more pics of both, as well as some additional information on Matsuyama and his inspiration for the New York City Artist Series.
New York Artist Collaboration
At a presentation that took place during Nike’s grassroots activities in New York, local artist Tomokazu Matsuyama gave James a uniquely designed pair of Air Max LeBron VII shoes.
Matsuyama spent considerable time brainstorming the creative outlet to best represent LeBron, his close relationships with his family and friends and his fearless ability to continually grow and reinvent himself on the court. Matsuyama focused heavily on a reincarnation theme for the design aesthetic, shown through the inclusion of the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4. The numbers “0” and “1” relate to birth and reincarnation in the Japanese Buddhist tradition, with the number “4” traditionally symbolic of the world “perish”. Interconnected by thin lines, the numbers come to represent the order and chaos of life, connection with others and ultimately reincarnation. The one-of-a-kind design has more that 700 Swarovski crystals individually affixed to the shoes. The crystals represent the Asian philosophy “Gyokuseki-Konko”, implying that life is an amalgamation of rocks and jewels. These crystals also capture the aesthetic of eternity and the minimal beauty of the reincarnation concept.
“Life is filled with challenges and difficulties,” said Matsuyama, adding, “To overcome such hardships and to become “Fearless” it is important to be able to count on the support of friends, family, teammates and loved ones. Those connections give us strength to move ahead into life’s chaos without fear”.
Matsuyama lives and works in New York City. As a contemporary artist, he exhibits his work internationally showing in galleries and in institutions in Tokyo, Osaka, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, and Vancouver. Matsuyama’s work is influenced by both post-war contemporary art and popular culture. His art is a conscious and introspective response to the tensions of bicultural experience, as his upbringing split between Japan and America spurred the questions of national and individual identity, exemplified prominently in the style and subject matter of his paintings.