A great friend and supporter of my art approached me a little bit ago and wanted me to make him a piece. This guy is by no means a sneakerhead but he definitely loves his Onitsuka Tiger Mexico 66's for their distinct styling and comfort. One of the things I pride myself in when it comes to my art is not only understanding what the sneakers look like in detail but knowing their history. The Mexico 66 is quite the unassuming shoe but they have a rich history that marks the beginning of not only their parent company, Asics... but another familiar Sportswear Company: Nike.
Onitsuka Tiger is one of the oldest Sneaker companies in Japan. Their primary target was Basketball shoes in the 50's but later set their sights on running. During the 1966 Mexico Olympic Trials, Onitsuka Tiger debuted their "Limber" line of running shoes with the iconic stripes. The stripes went on to be come the logo of Asics, the eventual merger made up of Onitsuka Tiger, GTO, and JELENK in 1977. In the early 60's a U.S. start up company called Blue Ribbon Sports headed by Phil Knight saw a huge opportunity for Athletic shoes in the States and began importing Onitsuka Tigers shoes to the US. This company was later to be known as Nike.
The piece itself was reasonably simple. Not too many layers and simple in color arrangement. The key was finding enough contrast between the white outsole and the off-white upper. After stringing up the ankle area and filling the main upper, I began the stripes which really set off the piece. I added a few details like the tongue patch as well as the gold patch on the back of the sneaker and the shoe section of the piece was basically done.
One of the most interesting parts of this piece was the Mexico 66 Logo. The logo itself is fairly simple as a print but creating long lines as used in the logo is a little more difficult with nails and string. I nailed out the entire logo and it looked like a nail gun massacre. The Logo alone used around 350 nails to get the right details in place. Once all the nails were set, i began "tying" nail to nail to create the long lines of the logo.
The piece is definitely one of my favorites for the clean look and it's overall composition... I may just have to go out and pick up pair myself.