I’ve always wondered if I would be good at things that I haven’t tried yet. I could possibly have the skill of a master painter, but I have never honestly tried to express myself on canvas. Then reality washes over me in a true wonderment as I look through the work of artists and admit to myself, my eyes would never see what their vision can perceive.
TheBragAffair had the good fortune to peer into the world of Stefan Dukaczewski, better known as Canadian designer MSTRPLN®.
As the sneaker has overtaken most of our lives, I’m sure the community can appreciate the influence the shoe has had in some of MSTRPLN®’s works. Read through as we chopped it up with the man…
TheBragAffair: When did you first begin creating art pieces with a sneaker theme?
MSTRPLN®: I’ve always had a love of sneakers, which began in the 80’s and especially the early 90’s.
While my work isn’t necessary sneaker driven, there are aspects of footwear and sneaker culture woven into my work in some way or another, whether they are the subject, medium or just an influence.
TheBragAffair: How did you come to choose sneakers as part of your form of expression?
MSTRPLN®: Just being a fan, collector and part of the whole sneaker culture, a lot of my work is influenced or has some reference to that world. For example, I’m most excited now for the adidas miZXFlux platform and how that can be used as a medium for some of my design work, bringing that from the digital to the physical world.
TheBragAffair: Which shoe design was the first one to be incorporated in one of your works?
MSTRPLN®: One of the first secondary logos for MSTRPLN® was a play on the Flight logo back in 2005. I’ve always loved the way the typography of that original logo and wanted to somehow make it more personal.
TheBragAffair: How do you go about choosing the every day item that will get the sneaker design
MSTRPLN®: For the Minimal Sneaker Project, it was mainly focused to be a design project with a minimal approach to some of the most iconic athletic footwear from the late eighties and early nineties. I had the opportunity to carry over these designs to everyday products that worked well in this aspect.
TheBragAffair: What is the last sneaker you absolutely had to have?
MSTRPLN®: I’m more selective these days, so i’d have to say the Air Jordan IV Black/Red was the last pair that was on my list, as well as the Neon Air Max 95. I’m more partial to the original iconic Nike’s.
TheBragAffair: Which was the first shoe you designed?
MSTRPLN®: The ASRD in 2006 was a design project that I did with UBIQ. It was a merging of fashion and technology with footwear being the medium. It was basically a Nike Dunk that had a wifi sensor embedded into it, with a pressure sensitive insole that would activate the sensor as you stepped and LED indicators that would light up depending on how close you were to a wifi hotspot.
(edit: You NEED to see this shoe, click the link!)
TheBragAffair: Which is your favorite sneaker model and sneaker design? Why?
MSTRPLN®: I’m fortunate to have been around when the original Nike’s dropped for the first time, so I remember the hype around the Air Jordan V – namely because of the use of the reflective 3M material in the tongue, the clear sole and the lace locks. These are by far my favorite.
TheBragAffair: Name five pairs that are a must have in your sneaker rotation.
Nike Roshe Run
Nike Air Max 1
Nike Flyknit Trainer
Nike SB Janoski
Adidas ZX 9000
TheBragAffair: When you begin work on a piece, do you select the sneaker design or the item first?
MSTRPLN®: It all starts with the design and concept, and then if it’s something that would work well on different mediums then I would see how that could come about.
TheBragAffair: Whether it be in the sneaker world or the art world, who are your influences?
MSTRPLN®: A lot of influence from Japan and the design culture over there as it takes on a minimal and function-driven approach. If I’d have to say people, some of the key influencers would be Hiroshi Fujiwara, Kenya Hara, Jeff Staple for his hustle and Dieter Rams for his vision.
TheBragAffair: What is the message you hope to convey through your works?
MSTRPLN®: I like to keep it clean and keep it minimal in design – the less is more approach – and hopefully that comes through in my design work.
TheBragAffair: Any advice for any young designers trying to make their mark?
MSTRPLN®: The best advice I can give is the put in the time to really learn a foundation, and then see how you an apply that to make it your own. That and to use social media to build up a network of connections and as a way to present your work. Keep positive and you’ll see results.