For our next instalment of Footpatrol Discussions, we find ourselves delving into the world of art. Sneakers and art often have a seamless connection however, London based artist Izaak Brandt takes things to a whole new level with his series ‘Deadstock’.
Anyone who is as obsessed with sneakers as ourselves would’ve come across this series we’re sure! Looking at sneakers from a collecting perspective and how they’re becoming like pieces of art, or parts of an archive, Izaak takes this concept and reimagines it with the help of 3D drawing illusive silhouettes from both the past and the present in an eery, yet fascinating way.
Last week, we caught up with Izaak to learn more about him, the ‘Deadstock’ series and his childhood growing up involved within the break dancing scene.
Footpatrol: Izaak, thank you so much for giving us the time to speak to you. One thing we like to do with all our interviews is start with a simple, how are you?
Izaak Brandt: All is good at the moment, thank you for asking!
FP: Could you give us a bit of an intro on yourself and share with our audience what it is you do?
IB: I’m Izaak Brandt, a multidisciplinary artist based in London. I work with the mediums of drawing, performance, sculpture and film to explore ideas around human experience, culture and the body.
FP: I feel like everyone that follows their passions throughout life always remembers a specific moment where it all began, where did your fascination with the artistic world first come about?
IB: I grew up in an extremely creative household with my dad being a musician and mum having studied at art school and having a lot of artist friends. Me and my brother grew up around really inspiring artists using all different mediums so it has been all I have ever known since I was a very small child. I’ve been drawing since I was about 2 years old with my mum and I remember going to see my grandma and she would give me A3 pads of paper to draw on for hours on end. I remember going to gallery shows with my mum in London and being really wowed by a lot of the YBA’s as a child. When I found Breaking at 12 I dedicated years to being high level and really understanding the movement discipline. All I’ve ever wanted to do was to be an artist in an array of mediums as it’s all I’ve really understood in the world.
FP: Was there a specific facet within Art that stood out to you during the start of your career?
IB: For me I just love to get the ideas out of my head. I feel happiest when I am making work, in any medium, so I just do as much making as I can. I appreciate all creative mediums and don’t see barrier lines between them.
FP: The main reason we came to visit you today was to hear and of course, see your ‘Deadstock’ series. Could you walk us through the conceptualisation of this idea and the process behind producing it?
IB: I have been obsessed with trainers since I was a kid, coming up Skateboarding. When I started Breaking at 12 years old, the obsession really amped up. Me and my best friend, collaborator and artist Will Pegna, would run around Bristol looking for anywhere that would sell Puma Clydes in different colourways as that was the most popular iconic Breaking shoe at the time. When Youtube became prominent I would consume a lot of sneaker based videos, unboxings and content based around collections so I have been thinking about the culture of collecting shoes for a long time. In 2020 I began trying to figure out a way of casting shoes for installation ideas. A friend and collaborator of mine, the artist Seungwoo Park from Korea, was using a 3D pen for some sculptures he was making and advised me to try it for my shoes idea. I began to draw these sculptural shoes and then began to conceptualize the context around the project about 6 months later during my residency with Sarabande: The Alexander McQueen foundation. The idea of the project is about exploring archival sneaker culture and how collectors take functional shoes and turn them into sculptures by archiving them. What I do is make the silhouettes sculptural and non-functional from their inception.
FP: It was fascinating to see the amount of detailing you can achieve with the medium you used, do you see ‘Deadstock’ as a completed project or are you always looking to see where it can go next?
IB: The Deadstock body of work has just begun. There are installation ideas, brand activations, sculptures, collaborations etc that I see happening with this series.
FP: Any silhouettes you’d love to recreate?
IB: As a kid I loved seeing the Nigo era Bape shoes on the internet but could never afford to buy them. I remember going to the Bape store just off Carnaby Street around 2009 ish and was blown away by the design language, and also by the seemingly unattainable prices. I’d love to do a whole series of Bape shoes from that era – Bapestas, Roadstas, Crepestas, Sk8stas etc. The whole project has to go beyond my subjective taste though so the aim is to make every shoe silhouette possible!
FP: Something our audience may not be aware of is your love for break dancing, could you shed some light on this and how it’s played a part in both your everyday life and your artwork?
IB: Breaking has been an extremely formative part of my life. After years of work since I was 12 years old, Breaking has taken me all over the world for competitions, won me awards and titles and gave me positive male role models as a kid. I heavily reference Breaking in my arts practice as a means to explore community, culture and energetic relationships between people because of its importance to me as a tool of transformation, a way of being and the discipline it installs into me.
FP: We see a lot of performance based work appearing throughout your social media (Like the ‘Extensions 24, 2022’ from your recent residency). With break dancing being an artform in itself, was performance art always something you always wanted to delve into since the beginning or did it just go hand in hand when creating work?
IB: I have done physical theater and performance since I was in primary school. Performing is something that has always come naturally to me so I have found it important to embrace and use in my arts practice. During the first two years of my degree at Camberwell UAL (2014-17) I was a bit embarrassed by the fact that I did Breaking and wanted to keep the worlds separate. From the third year onwards I realized it was a superpower and that I should use my experience and expertise to my advantage. Now performance is integral to my practice.
FP: Izaak it was such a pleasure to meet and thank you for letting us come by your studio, this has been a feature we have been looking forward to for a while now! Before we let you go we like to allow the interviewee to close off the interview with anything at all that they would like to share whether that be a positive message or just to get people excited for what’s to come from yourself. The stage is yours…!
IB: I want to give a big shout out to Footpatrol, I remember going to the Berwick St store the same day as the Bape store on that trip to London from Bristol in 2009 ish and being in awe of how many fly shoes were in stock. Full circle and you guys are interviewing me for my work!
I’ve got lots of work and exciting things in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled, this is just the beginning for me as I plan on being around for a long time.