The Art & Sole Cortez iD project

To mark the release of a new “mini-edition” of publisher Laurence King’s 2008 sneaker-focused title Art & Sole: Contemporary Sneaker Design, the book’s author has teamed up with Nike and four visual artists to create The Art & Sole Cortez iD project…

To mark the release of a new “mini-edition” of publisher Laurence King‘s 2008 sneaker-focused title Art & Sole: Contemporary Sneaker Design, and also the launch of the classic Nike Cortez silhouette on, the book’s author has teamed up with Nike and four visual artists to create The Art & Sole Cortez iD project…

The book’s author, design studio Intercity, commissioned four artists, Jiro Bevis, Shantell Martin, Matthew Nicholson and Rose Stallard to create an artwork for one of four limited Art & Sole book covers. Working with different media – print, moving image, sculpture and sneaker-art respectively, each artist’s cover artwork has been packaged alongside a pair of colour-coordinated Art & Sole Cortez sneakers, in a specially designed box.

The brief to the artists was simple – to interpret the Cortez sneaker using a specifically assigned colour – red, blue, green or magenta – which correlate to the category-signifying coloured dots that run through the Art & Sole book. The Cortez, one of Nike’s first running shoes, also celebrates its 40th anniversary this year so the brief additionally requested a response to “the history of running.”

Here are the book covers designed by each artist along with their explanation of their approach:

Jiro Bevis’ artwork (above) is entitled Beer, Waffles & Nuts. “I was given a brief history of the Nike Cortez, and the element I found most interesting was that, according to Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman, eating waffles, nuts and drinking beer were vital ingredients to running.” His limited edition pack is shown at the top of this post.

Illustrator Rose Stallard hand customised a pair of blue nylon Cortez sneakers which were shot for her Art & Sole cover. “I wanted to pick out some key points to do with the Cortez and the last 40 years of running, so that I could create my own sheet of Cortez clip-art that I could pick and choose from,” she explains. “The vibe I was going for was kids customising their school bags, and paying homage too their heroes.” Here’s her pack:

Shantell Martin’s cover (above) is derived from a moving image piece she created in response to the brief (see below). “When creating the piece I was thinking about: running, green and the Cortez shoe,” she says. “I chose to start with a green mobile dot which represents the atom; ‘a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons’. This atom is one very tiny part of the Nike Cortez shoe that is discovered and then in turn taken on a journey to find the origin of its name. Once observed the atom slowly returns to its original singular form.”

Shantell Martin: Run as YOU from Art & Sole on Vimeo.

Matthew Nicholson created a pair of paper Cortez shoes which were shot to create his Art & Sole cover. “The most interesting part of this [project] was spending time exploring the heritage of the Nike Cortez and its surrounding graphic literature,” he says. “My response is a visualisation of this exploration, but, most importantly, it is a celebration of the Nike Cortez’s involvement in the history of running. By building the Cortez from this rich ancestry of literature and graphic material, I aim to suggest that this is a shoe built, informed and improved by its past.”

The trainers in each limited edition pack (there are only 40 of each of the four special edition Art & Sole packs) are tonal grey, referencing the blank canvas shoe colour that is synonymous with NIKEiD, and have a gum sole that pays homage to the first ever Cortez. An embroidered ampersand on the heel and a colour coded accent in the lining of the shoe matches each shoe with one of the four artworks, with red corresponding to Jiro Bevis’ cover art, magenta relating to Matthew Nicholson’s artwork, green ties in with Shantell Martin’s cover artwork and blue is the colour assigned to Rose Stallard for the project. The specially made boxes house the book within so that it appears framed through a clear window in the box lid.

The limited edtion packs (£125 each) will only be available in London’s Nike iD store in Boxpark in Shoreditch. Here’s the release schedule:

Shantell Martin pack: 11am Saturday March 17
Jiro Bevis pack: 11am Sunday March 18
Matthew Nicholson pack: 11am Monday March 19
Rose Stallard pack: 11am Tuesday March 20

Regular Art & Sole mini edition books will also be on sale in the NikeiD store, priced at £9.50

More info about the project and interviews with each artist will soon appear on

Read our original blog post on Art & Sole here

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