LOCAL Houston | The City Guide June 2017 - Page 42

ART ICY HOT CHRIS BAKAY’S ARTIST CAREER HEATS UP WITH NIKE You know how much time you spend scrolling through Instagram, but did you know that big companies do it, too, looking for the “Next Big Thing“? That’s how Nike found local conceptual artist CHRIS BAKAY, an advertising guy who got his start in art by recreating objects (in clear or tinted resin) that reminded him of his late older brother, who died in 1996. Think sports jerseys, skate shirts, basketball shirts and vintage t-shirts accented with Oakley sunglasses, Sony Sports headphones and a vintage pager, to name a few. “Clear is a metaphor for the intangibility of memory,” he explains. A clear resin shirt of Bakay’s creation made the rounds on the Internet in 2006, and the Nike team saw it then. “When they came to do a studio visit this year during the Super Bowl, they told me they never knew who made it but it had been on various mood boards for years,” he laughs. So it was meant to be. And Nike commissioned him to create a clear resin version of the Nike Vapor Max, which had to be completed in a few weeks in time for the international celebration of Air Max Day. After three iterations, the shoes were complete and shipped off to Nike’s SoHo store in New York just in time for the event. “It was labor-intensive, with a huge learning curve, but it was a lot of fun. We’re talking about some additional projects in the future,” says Bakay. Sounds like a cool deal. By Tim Moloney Photography by Tarick Foteh 42 L O C A L | june 17