It's no secret that "sneaker enthusiasts" are prone to camping out for hours, sometimes days in advance of a sale or launch just to get their hands on limited-edition kicks. This past April we watched in awe as a group of hardcore sneaker fans waited six days outside Silver Lake's Undefeated store, rain or shine, for the release of Kanye West's specialty Nike shoe. This past weekend at Undefeated there was the release of another limited-edition shoe series designed by a musician, but this time the crowd was remarkably less hardcore. This time, no one was paying a guy $400 to stand in line for them and no one was using baby wipes in lieu of a shower while they waited.
By 7 a.m. on September 26, fans young and old (but mostly young) were already lined up outside Undefeated hoping to have a chance to score limited-edition TOMS shoes crafted from three, 6 ft by 14 ft canvases painted by artists Brandon Boyd (of Incubus fame) and Kristin Jai Klosterman. For those who love Blackberry commercials, TOMS is that company founded by Blake Mycoskie (the guy who insists he runs his entire business through his phone) that donates one pair of shoes to children in need for every pair you buy as part of the One for One Movement.
Those who opted to camp out only had to wait until 7 p.m. when the shoes went on sale to the public, and by the launch event's end around 10 p.m. nearly all 75 pairs of Boyd and Klosterman designed shoes had sold for $125 a pair. But shoes aside, the party held in the Undefeated parking lot behind the store was a welcoming mix of fans, friends and family of Boyd, a few dancing shopkeepers, one DJ dressed head to toe in purple, and a team of sponsors pimping free Sapporo and a new Acai berry liquor (so good, in fact, that within hours they were down to serving from display bottles).
Unfortunately Klosterman was a no-show due to her travel schedule returning from a trip to Israel, however L.A. Weekly caught up with Boyd before the doors opened to get more info on how this collaborative project came about.
This particular collaborative canvas project, Boyd explained, began in June 2009 before he left on Incubus' summer tour, but that his friendship with Klosterman goes back about three years after meeting through mutual friends in the Venice art scene. Boyd's eyes lit up as he described Klosterman; one of the most dedicated artists he's ever met, fully immersed in every process of her craft.
The same could easily said about Boyd who has been a visual artist longer than he's been Incubus' frontman -- drawing since childhood and in the past year delving further into painting and design. When we visited Boyd for a tour of his home studio last September, he said:
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"I have been drawing and creating visual works my entire life, as long as I can remember. I've been painting more seriously over the past five years. Drawing is much more focused minutia. Painting, I realized early on... It's much more of a physical expression. Drawing and visual pursuits were first. Music came and found me in a way."
What's next on the artists' agendas? Nothing's set in stone at the moment, although Boyd and Klosterman's collaboration for TOMS has inspired the company to branch out and possibly launch an ongoing series of shoes designed by other musicians and artists. Somebody keep Kanye away from the crayons.