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Demon Hunter: An Interview with Nike SB Dunk Designer Neckface

Devin Robertson

Graffiti artist and skater Neckface recently joined forces with Nike for his first-ever Nike SB Dunk designed entirely by the artist himself. After connecting with Neckface and Skateable Sculptures created four special handmade metal boxes with his SB Dunk to be auctioned off on eBay with proceeds going to Project Skatepark, an initiative founded by Tony Hawk in 2002 to open skateparks in underserved neighborhoods.  We had a chance to sit with Neckface to talk about his inspiration, partnering with eBay, leveling up, and his dream park.  

So Neck, this shoe is huge in our community. Everybody loves it, and there are a lot of people finding out about you for the first time. Can you like, give us a little bit on how you’ve developed your style?

My style, it just comes from, uh, being a skateboarder and liking my skateboard graphics growing up and all these stickers that my brothers had in their rooms and posters and stuff. All these Thrasher magazines. Definitely inspired by like horror movies, cartoons, animation, anything cool, anything that would scare your parents away and think that your kid is gonna be bad, a troublemaker. That’s what I like.

Also, I mean you mentioned that a lot of people are finding out about my artwork for the first time. I think that’s really cool. I think it’s super sick and I think that’s one of the cool things about this shoe getting released now. Cause a lot of people are like, “Man, you should have been having a shoe.” You know, good things come to those who wait.

And I’m glad it’s coming out now because it’s just hitting the refresh button on all these younger kids and they’re like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. What’s this? You know, what is this cool, this cool art that I’m seeing?” And they just start doing a deep dive into my Instagram or the websites and finding a new artist. I just remember what it was like for me finding a new artist that I was really hyped on. I’m glad that I’m that for those new people.

Speaking on that, you know, this actually isn’t your first time working with Nike, so what was your approach like on this shoe as opposed to your previous work with them? Did you look at it any differently or how did you go about attacking it this time?

Okay, so this one’s been getting brought up a lot. This is my first official All Neckface shoe. The other ones were a part of the Nike SB Chronicles video, which is a skateboard video that came out. And the designer on those is just everyone’s name who was a part of that video. Basically with that, how this one’s different from that one is that one they were like, ‘Hey, we’re gonna put,  everyone’s name that you wrote on this shoe.’ And then as opposed to this one, they’re like, “Hey, what do you, what do you want to do with this shoe?” That, that’s the difference right there.

Sweet. Um, you have a lot of like recurring themes in your art. Do you have a particular favorite one to use?

Um, no. They kind of come out, they kind of come out the night before or maybe during the night, and then I’ll draw that one on, on the paper. You know, there’s, there’s not really a favorite one. I think they’re all pretty, I think they’re all pretty different. I don’t think I’ve ever painted the same exact character ever. They’re all a little bit different (laughs).

When you were designing why did you opt for like the patch style over a printed design? Also, I’m particularly interested in why you chose to put in two pairs of black laces
Ooh, I like that question. Okay, so, the reason I went with this design is because I have never seen anything like this before on a shoe. Also, I put patches and pins all over my jackets and, you know, if someone gives me a boring, black jacket, I make it look cool with all the patches. And I love customizing, every single thing that I have, I customize, you know. Whether it’s my pants, my shoes, my shirts, my backpacks, jackets, whatever.

I love customizing because I don’t wanna be seen in the bar, or anywhere else with the same exact thing that someone else has on, you know what I mean? I had a pair of sandals. I put patches all over ’em because they were really boring looking. And then when Nike approached me to do this, I said, “Hey, I got an idea. Here we go. I wanna do this, but I wanna design every single patch.” And they loved it and they let me go for it.

As far as the black laces, um, we put in black laces and then we put in the extra pair of black laces because I couldn’t find anything darker. So I was like, “Man, let’s just keep, let’s keep those black laces in there.” And if you’re a skateboarder, you rip through laces a lot. And sometimes I would rip through laces and I’d be stuck with like a yellow pair of laces or something as the extra pair.

I’d be like, “Man, I don’t wanna put these on. I wish I had another pair of the same laces.” And that’s why we put those in there. Double up on black.

Speaking on being a skater and also working with eBay, how did you get involved with the Skatepark Project, and then like how, how did eBay come in?
Okay. So the Skatepark Project first, before even at any of the Skatepark Project, I had shown all these, uh, Skatable Sculpture, sketches that I have drawn over the years to Tony Hawk. And, Tony Hawk was like, “Man, these are amazing. I want to help you get this. I wanna help you get this made however possible.” And Tony Hawk is a part of the Skatepark Project that makes skate parks in underserved communities.

And when I partnered up with eBay, they always work with the Skatepark Project. So we just tied it all together. I had these metal boxes that I was gonna make for these shoes that I knew I was gonna make when they dropped, you know, and just kind of just keep the fire lit. By that I mean just like people getting really hyped on the shoes. Then I would drop these boxes and then it would get another re-hype and everyone would be like, “Oh, damn, these are the special boxes.” You know what I mean? So we just tied it all in together.  eBay’s already been partners with, the Skatepark Project and they do a lot of fundraising for them. This is just my little my little section of the fundraising.

eBay does like, have a long history of super cool collaborations, like their own SB dunk. . What’s your approach when you’re like getting something ready for that kind of platform?

When I’m getting something ready for that kind of platform and I mean any other work that I do with other companies is just like I don’t ever wanna half step up to something. I’m like, “Okay, we’re gonna do this. We’re gonna do this, like, really good.” You know what I mean? We’re not gonna put out a little thing here and there. Like, we’re gonna go all out straight out the gates, you know, and, and, and come out swinging. So when the eBay thing was gonna happen, I was like, All right, well no one could say nothing cuz these boxes are insane and no one could say nothing because it’s going to skate parks and it’s going to Skateable Sculptures.

So it’s like, you know, I leave no room for error and, and we come out swinging every single time. And just trying to, you know, drill, kind of drill something into your brain to make you keep on thinking about Neckface forever.

Yeah. Like those boxes are sick. On your Instagram page, you called them the final bosses. Were you inspired by any like, actual bosses from video games or anything like that when you were approaching these.
Man inspired by any final bosses from video games? Well, I was Shao Khan for Halloween this year, so Shao Khan could have been a big inspiration, but, but when I say Final Boss, it just means like, you know, you get to that last level and you’re standing there and then you see this big shadowy figure approaching you and you know, it’s the final boss. You’re like, “Oh man, this is the craziest character in the game. How am I gonna beat this? This is nuts.” That’s what I wanted to create with these boxes, you know what I mean? I want those boxes to be approaching you or approaching your Instagram and you’re gonna be like, “Whoa, what the, what’s going on here? This is crazier than anything I’ve ever seen”. The craziest part is I made them, they’re all sculptures.

So sick. Uh, not to take up too much more of your time. One last one. Uh, what does your dream skate park look like and what amenities would you have in it?

All right, so my dream skate park will look like, if you watch the Nike SB commercial and you see the obstacle that they’re skating in there, it’ll be that times 1000 (laughs). I mean the, the, the dream skate park is coming so you’ll be able to see, you’ll be able to see it when I see it ‘cause it’s on the way.


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