The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own. I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before. In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find. Please DO NOT send me your work. I do not take submissions.
Today’s featured artist: Aldo Chacon
Nike’s World is a personal project inspired by different periods of time in our history, technological advancements, global warming and nature related subjects as well as social and political issues and of course sports.
The idea for the project was to tell stories through materials and objects. The reasoning for using Nike shoes as the main “subject” for the photo series was to include a sense of iconography and pop culture to draw people’s attention to specific ideas and have that as a hook for exploration. I wanted to use sneakers as my main subject as a way to tell a story and transport the viewer to a world without the prejudgment of having a person as the main subject and just let their imaginations decide who’s the owner of that shoe.
Nike also was a big inspiration because they have such a wide range of sneakers and shoes that every shoe made me think of a time period, an idea, or a material that I wanted to experiment with.
Each material and color palette has a direct relationship to an idea and a time period. This series is deeply inspired by a sense of eclecticism and the goal to create images that feel global.
This project came about in a very unusual way. I mostly shoot sports, portraits and fashion and I had been wanting to make some “funky” sets for a personal portrait project, but I found it hard to make it happen because of resources, delayed materials and also Covid, so I thought about how could I still shoot something without getting the least amount of people involved. I’ve always been a big Nike fan because of the graphic aspect of their clothes and the way they mix fashion, streetwear, and sports. I had an original idea of showcasing different moments in history through sneakers, like the Moon landing or the fall of the Berlin Wall, so I went back to that idea and mixed it with the “funky” sets vision I had. I started researching the Nike website for different sneakers and every shoe spoke to me in different ways. I started imagining those moments in history and sort of thinking what sneakers would people involved in those events wear. Some styles seemed more retro, some more modern, or futuristic, some spoke to me more in a material or texture way, some in color palette and some more on an ideology. It was hard to choose because there are hundreds of styles, I could have made 100 more sets! I decided to go with Nike shoes because of iconography, I wanted to use an icon that everyone knows and that has been used in pop culture to bring attention to the different subjects and make it more of an homage to the swoosh. I really love how the swoosh looks in different types of shoes and how there are many different styles and colors, but they are all united by that simple icon.
The set design was one of the most important things of the project since it was going to be what told the story around the shoe. I worked with my creative partner Sal on this. I had the original vision and the materials I wanted to use for each set, I wanted to use a lot of found objects or things that could be found in our daily lives for each set, and I also wanted to have each set with a color palette that was unique to each shoe. We ended up renting some props from prop shops in LA and sourcing materials from Home Depot, toy stores and some junkyards. We built, styled and decorated the sets between the two of us in my backyard. The project was funded by Wild Goats Creative.
To see more of this project, click here.
APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world. She has been involved in the photography and illustration industry since the mid 80s. After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999. She has a new Twitter feed with helpful marketing information because she believes that marketing should be driven by brand and not by specialty. Follow her at @SuzanneSease. Instagram
Success is more than a matter of your talent. It’s also a matter of doing a better job presenting it. And that is what I do with decades of agency and in-house experience.