Produced by: Dan Hwang
Written by: Poe
Creativity speaking, it was a way to escape from the daily grind and to tap that original inspirations which started it all. Of course, that “original inspirations” could be anything and everything, from a simple leisurely stroll on the beach to something as outrageous as a trip around the world. For Matt Stevens however, it was to reconnect with his love of illustration, its process, and his fascination with Nike Air Max. Those were the premises behind Stevens’ first project, AirMax1-a-day. But when and where there is a conjuncture between art and sneaker, there is sure to be interest from other sneaker aficionados, and a lot of it. In a short order of time, this commune of shared interest became such that Stevens took this once personal project forward a bit more and made it public. With help from crowd funding site KICKSTARTER, it became known as MAX100.
Can you talk a little bit about how you got your start as an illustrator?
Like most in creative fields, it came to me pretty early. I showed a real love for it, from the time I could hold a crayon in my hand. I’m currently a designer/illustrator. I actually went to school for both, but went hard in the direction of design and kind of left illustration behind for several years. The genesis of the MAX100 project was me looking for a way to reconnect with it. I wanted to work on something to explore lots of styles and ideas, so taking one simple thing and doing different expressions of it seemed like a good idea.
The MAX100 project was a derivative from your previous project, AirMax1-a-day. What made you realized that a book was viable?
Even after stopping at 50 entries and letting the project go quiet, I kept getting a lot of interest from people asking about the project and what was next. I had seen a few books from other designers do really well on KICKSTARTER. I knew my product was more niche, but also knew how passionate the sneaker community is about new and fresh things. My hope was that this was something that both sneakerheads and those that love design and art could enjoy.
I had also done a few of the first 50 in short run blurb books. Something about seeing them in print was really satisfying and that also motivated me to really pursue it.