Like most skateboarders around the world, Connor Tingley grew up and grew up in Vans sneakers. Now, the Southern Californian artist has designed two official pairs with his creative studio COOL LLC. Launching October 22, the 28-year-old Vault By Vans collection is an expressive combination of his conceptual take on OG shoes and his own personal experience with them.
The instantly recognizable trainers have become a blank slate for numerous collaborations in China and beyond: the brand has just announced a limited-edition Bilibili collection for October 31, and has previously worked with Chinese designer Suwukou and artist Huatunan.
This isn’t the first time Tingley has dropped a collaboration, either. The painter and illustrator launched a cosmetics line with Nars in 2019 for which he was given full creative control (down to the lipstick shades, one of which he passed on to LA acquaintance Marilyn Manson – who loved her).
World renowned designer and industry muse, Michèle Lamy is another of the iconic names who appreciate Tingley’s work. Selected to be part of the Lamyland collective, the artist designed a limited edition board for the “Why do we skate? » event earlier this year at the Skateroom.
His Vault By Vans sneakers are the latest project that builds on Tingley’s roots as a hyphenated artist-skater, sporting stained checkerboards, graffiti with doodles and paint splatters. When Daily Jing asked Lamy for her opinion on the Connor Tingley Vans, she said: “He lives on a board. He skates his art. He paints on wheels. He jumps he turns. He makes music from his tricks. It was time for him to have good shoes. And U.S.”
On the concept, Tingley said he analyzes how this familiar Vans plaid pattern is a symbol of unity for him, even though the black and white squares are usually stark and separate. “It didn’t look like they were connected. I felt that white represents white people and black represents black people, and I wanted to find a way to re-inform that and recreate something that felt more real,” he said.
It’s a perspective that reflects the Vans culture of the 60s and 70s; Tingley realized this once he started examining it. Enthused by the connection between his own interpretation and the origins of the company, the artist explained how black and white children who hung out together used to doodle the plaid pattern on their shoes as a sign of unity. This is precisely how the late Vans founder, Paul Van Doren, conceptualized the original checkerboard shoe, taking Tingley’s designs even deeper. And it was this art that made creative visionary ASAP Nast say Daily Jing“Why [Tingley] have to go so crazy over them? Even the box? It’s just a pair of Vans, it has to be the best Vans collab ever.
When Vault by Vans senior global category manager Jake Mednik visited Tingley’s studio, the designs were ready to go, meaning the project could get started right away. It’s organic collaborations like this that are a no-brainer for brands that want to naturally tap into their existing subcultures.
Tingley observed: “I think [collaboration] is a community engine. When you bring on a new collaborator, it opens up so much space for the brand to think differently and innovate, and broadens the horizon. There’s no doubt in his mindset that brand partnerships have become an essential part of being an artist in 2022.
Tingley ultimately sees products as another avenue of creativity, as a way to evolve his work. Yeezy COO Udi Avshalom called Vans Tingley’s “Mona Lisa”, reflecting how much of a product can even be considered art in 2022.
It’s very clear that for the Los Angeles native, collaborations between brands and artists have many positive points. “In the 70s, 80s and 90s, collaboration was not what it is today. I think it’s because of the internet and the power given back to people. People generally accept it. It’s more comfortable for everyone because it’s become the norm,” he said.
From there, Tingley likens brand collaboration to friendship, adding that a unique collection can simply reflect where an artist was mentally at that point in their life. He continued, “You know, just because I’m friends with someone doesn’t mean I’m happy with every decision he’s made, but when I hang out with him, we’re going to make the most of it.” and we’ll make sure our conversations apply to everyone’s lives. I think the collaboration between the brands should be mutually beneficial, in terms of telling each other’s story. »
There’s a feeling that Tingley alludes to this 2019 Nars tie-up, as he claims he would do this cosmetics line differently, if he did it now. “I probably would have gone all black and white,” the creative asserted. “But that’s only because I’m in a different place in my life right now. That’s why collaborations are cool for artists too. It’s kind of journalistic and records where that person is in their life and how she plans to interact with a product.
The depth to which Tingley approaches the brand-artist collaboration breathes life into the space, as will certainly be seen in his upcoming eyewear line for Jacques Marie (details yet to be revealed). If anyone imagines that such crossovers have made art over-commercialized, then names like Tingley are there to disrupt that mentality. The archaic art world angst of “selling yourself” is so 90s. Now is the time to celebrate the joy of collaboration.