The Singapore Dunk; Nike SB’s City Pack v5.

Diving deep into shoe customisation, I’ve been trying to come up with a unique concept, however it wasn’t so easy coming up with an idea that is genuinely interesting and has a story behind it.

So after having a few ideas rattling in my brain, I had a thought. With the recent popularity in Nike SB’s dunks due to Travis Scott wearing pairs all the damn time, such as futura lows, 02 supremes, chocolate SP’s etc, (see his Instagram for other pairs), I took it upon myself to come up with a concept using a dunk low. I’ve been into Nike’s SB line since I was 15, but not dunks until I was about 18.

One of the dunks that I really appreciate, are the ones from the City Pack. Three from the Silver Box era of SB’s, one from the Pink Box era.

I then asked myself a question; ."If Nike had done a 5th shoe in the City Pack, what would it be?"

So Immediately, I got to work.

Above are the 4 dunks that came out in the City Pack. 

I first started with some research, googling such things as "most popular cities in the world" or "iconic cities" just so I could gauge and compare what cities I had to pick and choose. After a while, I decided to use Singapore, as it is a widely visited country, alongside having a lot of unique tourist attractions, like Gardens by the Bay, Merlion, Jurong Bird Park, alongside many others. Also a fellow sneaker enthusiast @iamfruitcake on instagram who I sometimes speak to, has a crazy collection of shoes which I heavily admire and is from Singapore, so all the more the reason!

So considering I needed to generate an aesthetically pleasing shoe, I had to find something interesting to paint onto the dunk and miraculously I stumbled upon this guy,

This is Cheong Soo Pieng, one of the very first pioneers of Nanyang Art Style, Cheong was a Chinese-born Singaporean painter, who is most recognised for his portraying of Malaysian and Balinese women. The way he created his aesthetic, was by blending a mixture of Modernist European, Hindu and Chinese influences.  

Alongside his companion Chen Wen His, they were the founders that created what is now Recognised as 'Nanyang Style' which is a depicted as a Southeast Asian art movement using graphic outlines and muted palettes in Chinese ink paintings.

Cheong was born in 1917 in Amoy, China, and was the youngest out of several children. He then graduated in 1936 and went to Xinhua Academy of Fine Art in Shanghai studied at the Xinhua Academy of Fine Arts in Shanghai. However, due to the Sino-Japanese war in 1938, his education was cut short and his school was obliterated by the invaders. 

He then returned to his alma mater to teach art, where he choose watercolours as his passion and because of the scarcity of oil paint materials. He then left China in 1945 for Hong Kong, eventually relocating to Singapore in late 1946 where he lectured at the Academy of Fine Arts in Nanyang for the next 20 years.

Then in 1955 Cheong Soo Pieng, along with five other artists were invited to showcase their artworks in England, which was officially opened by the Duchess of Kent in 1962. Soon after, the Government of Singapore awarded Cheong Soo Pieng the Meritorious Service Medal.

Unfortunately Cheong died on July 1st in 1983 in Singapore from heart failure. His works are now present in the collections of the National University of Singapore and the National Gallery Singapore. So now you have read some information about the artist that I have chosen, here are the 8 pieces of artwork that I chose from Cheong to use on the sneaker.

Similar to the concept of the Paris dunk, my idea was to use the portraits on each individual panel of the shoe. So that being the outer toebox, eyelets, side eyelet panel and back heel. Same applies for the inner part of the shoe. The swoosh and white panels are to represent the Singapore flag.

So as you can see, the concept is extremely, if not identical to the Paris dunk. I've used particular parts of the portraits I've chosen, by moving them around in Photoshop so as to get the most interesting part of the artwork. I'll leave it to you to match the artwork to the panels!

So next was to paint it onto the sneaker, I found a pair of non sb dunks on Depop for £20; stealo.

Those came in, and got to work. I stripped them down with acetone and laid three layers of white acrylic paint on them. The original paint was pretty much dyed onto the leather, so no chance that was coming off. Best bet was to just removing the factory finish and create a rough layer for the new paint to stick to.

When starting each panel, it made sense to sketch out a rough outline of what I was going to be painting. In this case, I have sketched out the lady (picture 2 above). After sketching this, I kind of just freelanced the rest of the other panels.

I would show you every stage of this process, however it was very lengthy, so these photos of each individual panel should suffice.

I don't remember the order in which I did these in, but I would assume it was the least complicated first then the impossible looking last.

So, I will leave it up to you, to match the photos to the panels.

Here is the finished product! They came out really well in my opinion, however I feel like placement could of been better, some colours and shapes kind of clash with one another. Still not to bad for the first custom paint job involving intricate detailing that wasn't just block colours. I hope you enjoy this custom, it took me I think 30-40 hours to complete. I only did one shoe, I have no intention of doing the other!

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