Ever since 2014, Nike Air’s annual celebrations have grown exponentially. Each year Nike have used it as a platform for creativity, turning imagination into reality through explorations of the Air Max line. This year’s celebrations are no exception with Nike announcing a takeover of Melbourne’s iconic Curtin House building dubbed “Air House”. One of the highlights of the takeover is a six-floor Air Max inspired art collaboration by Ta-ku and visual artist Sam Price.
“We’re doing a staircase where you’ll walk through an audiovisual journey of Nike Air. We’re taking the design language of the different sneaker silhouettes and repurposing them in an interesting way that talks about its evolution and mutation. We’ve taken all the textures and different design elements and warped them in to these other organisms,” Ta-ku explains.
A number of Nike Air silhouettes are being honoured by the project, ranging from iconic OGs like the Air Max 93 ‘Dusty Cactus’ right through to the line’s newest addition the Air Max 270.
“This is very much an art installation. We’ve taken the shoes and deconstructed components and built them in to these living organisms that kind of pulse and mutate. They’re quite strange and weird, but enough for you to recognise where it began,” says Sam.
“They’re new creations, but you can still recognise them. I want people to be looking and think, ‘Oh that’s a cool animation,’ but then see elements like the bubble (Max Air unit) or the mesh and have it suddenly click. If we were too obvious or literal about it then it would have no purpose.”
From a design perspective, the Nike Air Max line provided an enormous starting point for the duo to work off. “It’s pretty much a dream project, getting to play with the themes and the design of the shoes,” Sam says. “We get to leap of off that history and experiment to make something quite abstract.”
Ta-ku continues, “It’s a dream project not just because we’re Nike fans but because the Nike Air is so iconic—not just in streetwear and fashion but also in music and visuals. How prominent the Air Max was in hip-hop across the world has always been there.”
This project is fitting for the Perth-based duo thanks to their mutual history in both music and visuals. After meeting on the Perth music scene, a decade ago, their careers went in separate directions before they would be brought back together in 2015 when Ta-ku tapped Sam to create his concert visuals.
“I studied film and television so music and visuals were always a part of the same thing to me. Then through meeting other musicians they wanted my visual skills and eventually it took over and has been the thing that works best for me. I think it helps having a background in music to be able to make visuals for musicians,” Sam explains. “I think it’s interesting with me and Sam that we both started off in music together, but over time mutated in to other creative spaces separately, and then found a way back together from doing that,” says Ta-ku.
After joining forces on a number of different projects the two have found their own rhythm to collaborating with each other in order to turn imagination into reality. According to Sam, “[Ta-ku] is really good at is creating a solid framework to work within. He can come up with really interesting ideas and concepts—stuff that’s really easy to jump and launch in to. And then I’ll take care of the more specific design elements.”
“I’m the emotional one,” laughs Ta-ku.
You can experience Ta-ku and Sam Price’s collaboration at Nike’s Air House:
March 10th, 17th, 24th
enter via Stevenson Lane, which is off Tattersalls Lane (between Lonsdale and Little Bourke Streets)
- Photography by: Sam Wong