Gary Lockwood is an artist with a passion for hip-hop, graffiti, sneakers and art and his sneakers art is a viral trend these days.
How it started? One day during his project, in search for new materials, he began creating gas masks from deconstructed sneakers and his art career took a new turn from there.
“Shoes, kicks, sneakers – whatever you call them – have always been a part of Hip-Hop. Run DMC turned the Adidas shell-toe into an icon for a culture. Since then rappers & emcees alike have curated the dress code adding staples like Chucks, Uptowns, Timberland boots, Jordans and Pumas. The shoes on our feet came to represent a part of our identity. The lines, color and textures of sneakers sold today even parallel those used by graffiti artists.
But why the gas mask? Mask making is an ancient art form and I look to link our modern times to this ancient art. The gas mask is the mask of our times, it represents atrocities at war, civil unrest, environmental damnation and works both as a symbol of fear and of protection. It also tips its hat to the keepers of the graffiti flame who wore/wear respirators and masks to protect their lungs from their poisonous art of choice. The ties to Hip-Hop’s original art form deepen when we examine the language within graffiti- the act of painting renamed “bombing” solidified the warlike nature of the art form.
I don’t offer answers in my work, instead I seek to explore issues we face within the Hip-Hop community. Issues of identity, materialism and duality intertwine as the work reflects a world that is in love with objects but that also has a love for a culture & lifestyle. The masks embrace our guilty pleasure while reminding us there are much more important problems at hand. The sacrifice of the shoes I love for the sake of my art is essential.
Gary’s masks are in high demand these days and commissions currently start at $4,000.