From Air Max to Air Wax
Native of the United Kingdom, Helen Hale revisits a monument of the sneaker: The Air Max with a project entitled “Air Wax” that mixes art and her passion of the sneaker where she represents the limit that separates the advertising and art that tends to fade. In her works, she uses different materials : wax, metal or laces that are exploited to create unique pieces.
Could you present yourself briefly to our readers ?
My name is Helen, im 22 and from the UK. I have been collecting sneakers for 5/6 years. My passion for sneakers crossed over into my art work during university. I graduated last year studying fine art and found a fulfillment in creating sculptural works.
How was your passion for art pass on to you ?
I have always liked to create things, even from a young age I was making mud pies and perfumes. My parents built a house whilst I was growing up and I taught me that you could build anything you wanted to. Creating art work has always been a way to express myself and feed my desire to make.
Why did you choose to combine « art » and « sneakers » ? You want to get a message through your work?
I noticed a boom in the rise of branded commodities, fashion and art. The separation between advertisement and art-work is becoming blurred. I hope to present sneakers in my work as the commodity that seduces me. I ideally I want to make the audience question the value of the content when placed in a gallery setting. Do we perceive the aesthetics of these items as beautiful (regardless of function) due to this over stimulation of advertisement and our heightened desire: or do we choose to follow in pursuit of such commodities ?
What are your sources of inspiration?
My inspiration is my everyday life. I find relate-able sources in nature, graffiti, clothing, adverts, manhole covers and more. However it is artists such as Duchamp, Elmgreen and Dragset and Cyril le-vans concepts that inspire me to carry my theme.
How did you get the idea for the project “Air Max”? Why this model ?
The air max has always been my favorite silhouette of a trainer. One day I was talking to a friend about the romance between sneaker heads and their shoes, we got talking about candle lit rooms and after coming up with the name ‘AirWax’ I felt this project had to be followed through. It started as an act of love then ironically turned into a commodity, I found this very interesting.
At the same time, you have created other projects : Metal Work and Cubes. Would you like to describe these experiences ?
I started my education as an artist as a painter and I will always try to paint when I can as a form of relaxation and self therapy. The metal casting was a way for me to push my work to have a more industrial feel. The way you can repeat certain forms like print-making – yet in the physical. Lastly, the Cubes were a nod to the writer and artist Brain O Doherty who described the gallery space as a white cube, A limiting yet limitless space.
What are your plans for the future ?
I am currently working towards an exhibition in November. I intend to keep on creating works based around the trainer and its form. However I am also working on a side project with another painter that focuses on more organic subjects.
Site web : Helen Hale
Instagram : Helen Hale