Art Aficionado x Sneaker Freak. Where have we seen this combination before? Almost anyone thatâ€™s submitted to sneaker subculture can be expected to have at least some sort of artistic inclination. Artist collaborations, atypical colorways, customs, the list goes on — we, the sneaker community, are suckers for design and detail. Havenâ€™t you ever heard the term â€œstarving artistâ€?? Theyâ€™re hungry for food because they dropped their last dollar on a new pair of Dunks.
What makes Dave White different, is not only that dude is a renowned scratch DJ out of the UK, but that while most of us squander away thousands of dollars trying to get one step ahead of the next man, he actually turns a profit from his obsession.
Format: Talk a bit about your history as an artist, and how you came to make a career out of it.
Dave White: I have always been very interested in Art, even as a very small boy I would draw obsessively. I always knew that this is what I wanted to. I studied Fine Art painting for over 10 years. I won a very prestigious competition when I was studying for my degree. It was a big shock and I was very humbled to be honest. When I graduated I was asked to exhibit in some major galleries in London. I even showed my work alongside Picasso, David Hockney and Damien Hirst at Sothebys. That was crazy.
Format: What led you to begin painting sneakers so religiously?
Dave White: I had been on tour for three years with the Breakbeat band Surreal Madrid, where I was the scratch DJ. I hadn’t painted for over two years and to be honest was really really aching to create something visual again. I had become very well known for my Animal paintings. I had made a conscious decision to put those to bed and start a new. As a big collector it was just obvious, I produced the Red and Grey Air Max 95 just toying around, and bang that was it. I never looked back.
Format: From looking at your portfolio, one might be inclined to believe that your only interests are Star Wars and sneakers. What are some of your other interests? And what are other subjects you enjoy painting?
Dave White: It may seem that way, but there are a number of subjects I have up my sleeve. I produced a series of Cars for the Liverpool International Art Biennial last year. And as for future stuff I am afraid you are going to have to wait and see, but they are the hottest things yet. Other interests, Hip Hop, Toys, Vinyl, Movies, cartoons you know the usual.
Format: Where can someone go to see your paintings up close and personal?
Dave White: There are a number of galleries but the best is the Artlounge in the UK — they have a selection. And to be honest photographs never do my work justice. The texture, surface and paint have to be seen in the flesh to fully grasp what my work is about.
Format: You’ve become very connected with the Sneakerpimps tour. Talk about that experience.
Dave White: Pete Fahey the sole creator, organiser, and overall hustler is the nicest guy in the business. He contacted me over two years ago to have some of my work in the show. Two and a half years later he has about 15 pieces. It is a phenomenon, over 1000 pairs including the latest releases, the worlds hottest Artists, Customisers, and the best DJ’s, and Hip Hop acts in the biz.
Format: What’s the worst Dave White fanboy related Sneakerpimps story you can tell me?
Dave White: (laughs) In fact this just happened in New York, as I was crazy busy preparing to paint, mixing colours and the likes, these two guys came up and said can I paint them one? As polite as I could be I told them that I only have the time to do one and I only had one canvas. They kept coming up, one of them said, “Do you know these?” andnd pointed to his tee which had the blue man group on, he said, “I’m down with these guys!” Thats nice for you I replied. So halfway through the painting when it starts to get intense, up they roll again with a piece of paper they had found and then handed me something in a drug deal manouever. It was 20 bucks, “thats for the painting,” he says. Needless to say they were politley told to leave me alone.
Format: How does it feel to do live paintings in front of an audience as opposed to alone in the studio?
Dave White: Good question, you know I am a very private person when I create in the studio, my partner had never even seen me paint until Pimps and we have been together for over 18 years. Now it’s just second nature I love it. I feel it’s cool for people to see how it’s done.
Format: Are you involved at all in shoe customization?
Dave White: Last year I was working on a project with Nike UK to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the Air Max 95 and produced two pairs of customs. The project and the three pack of shoes are amazing. An Air MAX 1, 87 and a Stab all in the original grey and green neon.
Format: What’s the response been like to your clothing line?
Dave White: Globally it’s been awesome, we have been totally blown away with the response. We have it hooked up in the right spots all over the world, I am really looking forward to promoting it with live events.
Format: What plans do you have in the future for other ventures?
Dave White: I have alot of plans and dreams and who knows? I can say that I will be unleashing my brand new sneaker subject in January 2007, nobody has seen this yet. Get ready.
More Info: http://www.davewhite.me.uk/