The next installment of the Footpatrol Communi T has finally arrived! After a long and exciting wait we are pleased to announce Ghica Popa as our next Communi T collaborator.
Having worked with some of the biggest brands in the world, Ghica has made his mark through his individualistic aesthetic following his love for 80s cars and vehicles from when he was young.
Creating 2 bespoke Communi Ts, Ghica has been working on producing his own rendition of the Footpatrol Gasmask logo and also referencing various footwear categories by converting them into his signature vehicular style.
Whilst Ghica worked on the designs we reached out to talk more about his Communi T Project and what led him to where he is today.
Footpatrol: Ghica welcome! Before we jump straight into it, could you give our readers a bit of background about yourself?
Ghica Popa: Thank you, guys!
My name is Ghica Popa, I am an artist based in Bucharest.
My background, I’ve been drawing since I can remember, graduated from the Art High School in my seaside home town Constanta, then I moved to Bucharest and graduated from the Art University.
I’ve been working as a commissioned artist on various projects since circa 2005. In the early 10’s I sent to a couple of sneaker news websites a project I’ve been working on, named “space sneakers”. It contained 4 or 5 sneaker renditions of various Nike air models, all designed in my drawing style. The project was an instant success, got published on those websites and on many others. Since then, I was lucky enough to work on many international projects related to the sneaker or streetwear industry, like those with Nike, Jeff Staple, G-shock, Ray-Ban, DC Shoes. I also worked with some of the best sneaker magazines and stores in the world and I’m really happy to add Footpatrol to that select list.
FP: We are so excited to have you with us for the next installment of our Communi – T project. How did you get into illustration, was this always your plan or did it happen by chance?
GP: I am also excited to be a part of this project. I’ve been a Footpatrol fan and customer for a long time, so for me too this project makes perfect sense. How did I get into illustration? I really can’t recall, as I’ve been drawing since I can remember. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up in an artistic environment, my mom being an art teacher and artist. So for sure didn’t happen by chance: I was surrounded by art books and my Mom encouraged me to discover various art techniques since childhood: clay modeling, making various toys and vehicles from paper cutouts and other materials. And of course, painting and drawing: I remember I enjoyed the best drawing with markers, I still do.
FP: You have a very distinctive style when it comes to your designs, what made you go down the mechanical route?
GP: It wasn’t something I really planned. Of course, I realized at some point that “I might have a distinctive drawing style”. I guess I was influenced by a lot of things I’ve been enjoying since I was a kid: 80’s vehicles and cars – that were typically “boxy”, science fiction films (especially from that period), cartoons, Lego sets, comic books, architecture and also art movements: cubism, suprarealism and pop art.
FP: Over the course of your career your work has been used by some incredibly big names – to mention a couple Pepsi, IKEA, Nike.
What’s it like seeing your work being used on such a worldwide scale?
GP: It’s a great feeling to see you work out there. But I am also a big critic of my work, so I usually tend to focus on things I could have done better, instead of simply celebrating that result. That being said, I made a lot of projects that I am really proud of, and my collaboration with Footpatrol is one of them.
FP: For those who follow you on instagram will know you do a lot of sneaker based graphics and designs. Does this take up the bulk of your work?
GP: I would approximate that the sneaker related projects are about 30-40% of my work. But it’s true I do a lot of sneaker drawings just for the fun of it, for Instagram. That’s why it is such a shame that lately the Instagram reach has dropped, because I think many artists are now discouraged to create new daily creative content, made especially for IG, for much less views than they used to have.
Coming back to my IG content and the sneaker based graphics, I noticed that some brands get in touch with me because they’ve seen and liked my sneaker artworks on Instagram, although they would like something not sneaker related.
FP: Are you a big collector also and do you have Top 3 that you own?
I don’t consider myself a sneaker collector, for sure not a big collector.
But yes, I certainly have more sneakers than a “normal person” would have. I used to go after the best sneaker releases, limited editions, but that was 10-15 years ago, when you could still buy those. Now, I prefer to focus on other “under the radar” releases, and maybe that’s a good side of the hype surrounding most of the limited editions, that they leave so many great pairs aside. You can even find some of them with big discounts.
Top 3? Tough question.
That top changes for sure every week, or at least every month. It would be very hard to just name three sneakers, and a little unjust to my other pairs, but here are some of my favorite, not in a particular order:Nonnative x New Balance 997/998
Slam Jam x Asics Gel Lyte III
Size? X Nike Lunar 180 ACG
Footpatrol x Reebok Ventilator
24 Kilates x Diadora N9000 “Sol”
Overkill x adidas EQT “coat of arms” pack
Sneaker Freaker x Puma Blaze of Glory
CDG X Nike Air Max 95
And I really like those new Nike ISPA sneakers, pretty much all new models released.
FP: I also saw you have been working on some physical models also for your exhibition at the Special Sneaker Club in Milano. Is this the first time you have done something like this?
GP: Yes, the first time and it’s been a crazy process. I had two or three already made, my personal renditions of a Jordan 4 model, then Stefano from Special Sneaker Club proposed a solo show with basically “anything I want”. So I decided to make several renditions based on other various models that I considered suited to my style. The show was supposed to take place in Milan, in late April or May, but because of the virus situation, it was of course postponed.
We will probably do it next spring, if all things go well, hopefully. I already released pictures of some sculptures on my Instagram and I received great feedback. But I’ve kept some of the sculptures secret, I will only reveal those at the actual show.
FP: Let’s talk about your Communi – T. Could you tell us a bit about the designs you have done on the tees?
GP: The two designs we made are my personal renditions of the two Footpatrol logos, the gas mask and the bar logo.
The story with the gas mask is quite simple: I turned the mask into an armoured vehicle, as some of the mask elements inspired this transformation.
With the bar logo the process was a little longer: I tried to transform the logo letters into a single shape, but the result was very long and thin, as I had to respect the original logo shape. So my single vehicle seemed quite inappropriate for a t-shirt design. That’s why I decided to make several drawings of different vehicles and present them as one artwork, suited for the back of the tee. Each vehicle symbolizes a category of sneakers: the double decker: walking / street sneakers (those everyday sneakers on heavy rotations). The all terrain vehicles is a nod to trekking / hiking sneakers. The “limo”: luxury sneakers. And the racing car illustrated the running sneakers.
But we also added a second layer of meaning in this artwork, for Foopatrol fans: the red double decker is dedicated to the London store, and the “french blue” racing car to the Paris store.
It’s been a great process working on these two designs and the whole project, and I really thank you guys for this experience, all your help and great feedback.
FP: Ghica Popa, thank you so much for spending some time with us. Before we let you go we ask all our Communi – T collaborators to answer this last question!
Please describe Ghica Popas style in 3 words?
GP: Quirky, positive & squared.