Every year, Mizuno challenges an artist to collaborate on a special-edition running shoe to celebrate the TCS Amsterdam Marathon. This year, the sportswear specialist tapped Dutch typographical artist and designer Pieter Ceizer to design a running shoe and — for the first time since Mizuno’s artist collaborations started — a lifestyle sneaker.
Of course, 2020 hasn't unfolded as expected. Running had a massive resurgence as cities around the world went into lockdown. Meanwhile, sporting events including the TCS Amsterdam Marathon have had to be canceled due to the pandemic.
Ahead of the release of Mizuno's new Wave Skyrise and Sky Medal on September 5, we spoke to designer Pieter Ceizer about running, art, sneakers, and Amsterdam.
Did you do a lot of running during lockdown?
During the confinement period, I was in Paris. Running was only allowed before 10 a.m. or after 7 p.m. I spent most of my time in my atelier, where I was making big and colorful paintings — it was my way of getting my energy out.
Do you see a link between art-making and running?
I come from skateboarding; as a kid, skateboarding taught me about endurance and persistence, training your body and spirit. If you don't control your varial-heel flip, or whatever trick you’re on, you try 100 times more; after that, another 100 times, 'til you land it. I see being an artist or entrepreneur as a sport. Every day, I'm drawing and painting to get better at my craft, to master my ideas and art. I spend just as many hours in my atelier as any professional sportsman does on the field or court. It all starts in your mind; you picture where you wanna go with your skills, and every day you work to get closer to this fantasy place. Then you get better and better at your craft or sport and you set the bar a little higher...
This is not your first sneaker collaboration...
I designed a shoe and clothing line for PONY in 2015, but it was released in super small quantities. Mizuno really gave me the chance to go all out; one lifestyle sneaker and one performance sneaker. I dug into their archive and picked the Wave Skyrise and the Sky Medal. I created the visual idea for the look and Mizuno helped me to pick the best leather, mesh, and materials for the exact feeling of the product.
How did you approach the design for the Wave Skyrise and the Sky Medal?
I approached the shoes as I approach a painting; I always paint a light creme background before anything else. Then, I added little details in orange, yellow, green, and mint. I wanted a summer feeling — light, nature, wind, and freedom. The Sky Medal is mainly light creme with a few colored details and colored organic camouflage stripes on the insole. The Wave Skyrise is the inside out version of this; the colored stripes are on the outside, and the inside of the shoe is very plain.
What do the colors represent?
It started with memories of running in the sunny Vondelpark; there's nothing like summer in Amsterdam. The blue-ish green and soft mint symbolize nature: the park and the green canals, and the yellow and orange stand for sunshine and the transition of summer to fall, when all that is green will turn orange and yellow. In the summer, you increase your running and enjoy the vibrancy of the city. In the fall, you appreciate nature’s changes and how peaceful the city of Amsterdam becomes.
Can you talk about the typography and line designs?
There are two typographical designs on the heels of the Sky Medal: "Am Ster Dam" and "Marathon 2020," and another "Am ster dam" on the insole, since initially, this would have also been the Amsterdam Marathon shoe for 2020. The Wave Skyrise is covered with organically shaped stripes; originally, I painted shapes like that as clouds, and later on they moved into a more abstract, camouflage-ish pattern. For me, these shapes suggest movement, as well as the force of nature and freedom.
The Wave Skyrise and Sky Medal are both available from mizuno.com on September 5.