Matt Senna is an LA-based artist and art director who travels the world with his one-of-a-kind metal-cast Jordans. Here he explains the influence of the Air Jordan 11 on his life.

Matt Senna + the Air Jordan 11

“There is a lifelong connection for me with this shoe. I almost feel like that shoe chose me more than anything.

My friend’s dad bought him the 11. I think I saw it before my friend did. His dad said, “Matty, come and look at what I bought Jake.” The box was obviously really different, it slides open. I remember him sliding it open and seeing the XI. It was white with the black patent leather, I’d never seen anything like it.”

What was it about the detail that was so different?

“We’d never seen patent leather on a shoe. There was something beautiful about that contrast – something you would wear with a suit, on a sneaker. That just blew my mind and made me want them so bad. Obviously, my friends had them as well.

I remember our whole [basketball] team getting together and buying it. My association with the 11 is it’s beautiful and something special visually, but also this association of teamwork and everybody having it and being on the same page with it. We only wore them on court, we didn’t wear them on the streets.

There’s something a little more smooth about the 11. I see a lot of guys that like it to be a little more refined. The AJ 3, for instance, is a little more street and has a bit more grittiness to it, but the 11 is classy.

There was such confidence with MJ’s game that you watched the way he moved and there was something that translated into that shoe for me. When I watched older kids at school wearing it, it instilled that same confidence and when they won [basketball] wearing those shoes; they looked good doing it.”

Was the XI one of the first shoes you cast?

“I cast my black and red 11’s first. They were, I think, the second pair that I did. I first made an experimental pair with the AJ 13, because I didn’t want to ruin my favorite shoe when I was messing around. And then I went to do my favorite. So I did the 11 second.

The natural flashiness of the patent leather translates really well to metallic. Even if it’s not a person’s favorite shoe, it resonates because it’s such a beautiful silhouette. In bronze or in metal, it looks different from all the others because of the sheen.”

How has the 11 influenced you overall?

“The 11 came out in the right time in my life to influence me the way that it did. It was the perfect match for going along with everything I stood for and it influenced me in the right capacity as I moved into high school and college. There was something in it that rendered me at the right time, that connected me to it forever. I think it’s that influential for me; I started studying the brand and getting things in a different capacity. If that shoe had never come out, would I be the same person? I don’t know.”

Follow Matt Senna on Instagram @msenna.