Steve Madden, Domingo Zapata Combine for Colorful Collaboration
On Nov. 19, footwear designer Steve Madden and Spanish-American artist Domingo Zapata got together at the Mercer Hotel in Soho, New York to celebrate the launch of their collaboration, Superga for Domingo Zapata.
For the exclusive line, some of Zapata's most popular works, including Panda Matrix, Mixed Media and Wonder Flowers and Acrylic on Canvas 2013, were replicated on the classic Superga sneaker line, acquired by Steve Madden in 2011. The collection, priced from $80 to $160, includes 11 different styles for everyone in the family and come in different colors.
A photo posted by Domingo Zapata (@domingozapataofficial) on Oct 28, 2015 at 4:38am PDT
In 2012, Madden launched the Superga Soho store with the brand's creative directors, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, in conjunction with their fashion brand, The Row.
Later he partnered with Rodarte and Man Repeller, but when it came to his latest collection, Madden turned to a partner with a different set of artistic skills.
Zapata, who was raised in Spain and studied in London, can be considered an artist for the current generation just like Steve Madden.
Madden admitted, during interviews at the Superga store, to owning about 10 pieces of Zapata's work in his home, showrooms, and offices. He explained that the pieces make him happy and so does their collaboration, a project that may not have been possible if the two hadn't met at the doctors office.
Zapata's work, which consists of mosaics, portraits and sculptures, is not for those who shy away from color and eccentric pattern.
In fact, his body of work caters to popular aspects of pop culture that resonates with past and current generations, including reinventions of The Mona Lisa, Superman and his popular panda.
"As an artist, it is my obligation to be inspired by every generation so of course its got an influence and those colors and movements of the brush stroke are representing that," he explained. "They [youth] have all these dreams, these ideas and energy that transform into creativity."
That creativity is found in not just Zapata's work but his persona and that of Madden's. During interviews, both were both informal and inviting.
A photo posted by Superga USA (@supergausa) on Nov 20, 2015 at 12:13pm PST
However, what Zapata discussed with much pride, other than the story of his childhood dream of one day making shoes, was his Spanish culture. Culture, inspired by setting, is very present in his work.
Zapata has a love for urban cities, like London and New York, that give his work urban consciousness and edge, which translated into his collection with Madden. But for the 40-year-old contemporary artist, Spain drives his identity.
"To me, New York is everything; this is where I became successful. But, at the end of the day, its not that different from the U.K. or Spain. There are great museums, there is great art history of different kinds, they're very cosmopolitan, melting pots," said Zapata. "But Spain brings me my heritage; a lot of my reds and darker blues, the passion in my work, the tribute to bull fighting that I've done before."
Zapata revealed that while he is inspired by everyday things, the work of his fellow Latin American artists, like Brazilian neo-pop artist Romero Britto, Mexican painter Diego Rivera and fellow Spaniard Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez, represent a lot of who he is as an artist.
"Latino art has a lot to do with blood. ... The Latin culture, along with Italian, has given so much to art for hundreds of years so I am proud to be Latino. That blood that runs in my veins, my name and the success of my work represents Latinos," he said.
Saying yes to a collaboration with Madden was partially due to an established friendship, but also to a shared love of individuality, creativity and freedom of expression, in this case, through a pair of sneakers.
A photo posted by Superga USA (@supergausa) on Nov 22, 2015 at 8:03am PST
When asked to pick their favorite shoes from the collection, Zapata picked the shoes with the panda, but Madden couldn't really make up his mind.
"You really have to go through them all. These are works of art. They're going to talk about this in 25 years, they're going to talk about this when we're gone. They'll be worth a lot of money," he added.
Zapata fans and fashion footwear enthusiast can now get their hands on the one-of-a-kind sneaker collection online and in Superga stores.
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