TINKER HATFIELD + JOSHUA VIDES – JUMPMAN
“He’s designing like the original sketches. But he’s doing it from a different perspective”. WORDS: REMBERT BROWNE IMAGES: @RAYSCORRUPTEDMIND
“Tell ‘em who that is,” the teen boy with braces said, filming himself. “Man, that dude’s a legend, dog,” his friend said, jumping in the frame.
They were mildly freaking out. Five minutes later, however, it was full blown chaos. Because they just got a selfie with the “legend.”
“I’m so lit, boy.” One of the boys screamed. It was beautiful to watch, because their energy was contagious, but mostly because of who they were losing it over. It wasn’t a basketball player, and it wasn’t a rapper — it was Tinker Hatfield.
The iconic Jordan designer had just arrived in the All-Star Weekend brand space Studio 23 and genuinely seemed excited to be there. The first thing I noticed, his impeccable, admirable style — sneaker enthusiast on the feet and Vermont woodworker and/or fiddle player from the ankles up. Secondly, his overall demeanor. Tinker’s the kind of famous person who still introduces himself to people, also known as the best type of famous person. Following him as he got a tour, he asked questions, shook people’s hands, and even started small talk about how he plays in a few bands.
Before I could interject and ask him to be my fairy grandgodfather, he was already whisked away to the next room.
The other other thing about Tinker — he likes to give credit where credit is due. This is especially true when the designer recognizes a respect for craft and attention to detail and Jumpman mentality of originality that can form the basis for the greatest of design.
These are qualities Tinker recognizes in the young artist and designer Joshua Vides.The Los Angeles-based designer Vides has built a following making his mark in highly conceptual frameworks. Below, Tinker sits down with fellow designer Vides, to briefly talk about the process and respect for the younger designer.
Vides: [Holding a pair of Jordan 3s] This is the first shoe you designed, right, for them?
Hatfield: The very first Air Jordan that I worked on was the Jordan 3, so you are right.
Vides: What I’m basically doing right now is recreating that sketch. I mean, obviously, so many different sketches go into a design.
Hatfield: There was a stack of maybe one hundred different sketches on tracing paper. You go over them — you see, line work is really important. For performance reasons, but also — it’s almost like sometimes you have to understand composition even if shoes have a lot more going on, composition is so important.
Vides: Of course.
Hatfield: I love what you’re doing. Because you’re actually highlighting the thought process of composition. And I love that. I dunno, a good shoe always looks nice when you see those lines called out a little bit. If it’s a lousy design, then it would be a mess. Too many lines. Or maybe lines that just don’t really work well together. So this is really fun to see this, because it is sort of the reverse process. He’s reversing the process where he’s designing like the original sketches. But he’s doing it from a different perspective — I don’t even know how to describe it. But I love it.
Vides: I titled the concept “Reality to Idea.” So it’s like, going backwards.
Vides: You know, everybody always says “make an idea a reality” — but here, I’m basically doing the opposite. And highlighting the initial concepts.
Hatfield: Yeah. Which, by the way, what you have to appreciate is that it’s more than drawing lines. He’s choosing line weight. He’s picking the most important lines. He’s adding, what I would call — which is really important in this day and age — this human, free hand touch which is how we all used to sketch. All shoes were designed on paper, usually tracing paper, so you could do lots of overlays. And it takes a steady hand and a good ability to draw lines. And a lot of people don’t even know how to draw lines. So what he’s doing, it’s great.
Vides: This is all amazing, because there was this show I was streaming with you in it. And I was just up late, just watching it, I think you were in episode two or three, maybe.
Hatfield: I was two. Episode 2.
Vides: And on the show, you’ve got all these sketches and I’m looking at my wife like, I wonder if they keep all this stuff. Or how many things does he do at his house, where it’s just like, a napkin sketch. Like, how many times do we maybe throw that away or forget about it. And I was like, oh yeah, that’s basically where everything starts, on a napkin or a piece of paper.
So I was like, I need to find a way to highlight that concept and also motivating people to not throw away their ideas. Hang on to that napkin, because you’re going to be on Jordan one day drawing on shoes with Tinker Hatfield.