Nike Hires Street Artist Kaws To Transform Manhattan Basketball Courts Into Masterpieces Of Art

Nike Hires Street Artist Kaws To Transform Manhattan Basketball Courts Into Masterpieces Of Art
Nike.com

In celebration of its long-standing roots in the city, Nike has recently launched its #NYMade campaign. Several athletes and public figures who credit the city for being a breeding ground for their success have become faces of the new launch and are found on billboards throughout the city. 

Nike opened a new store in Soho, but a partnership with New York Parks and Recreation made it possible for Brian "Kaws" Donnelly to bring street art to the Stanton Street basketball courts. This project "embodies Nike’s drive to elevate sport, culture and community through innovative collaborations."

Stanton Street Courts

Brooklyn-based artist Kaws, has ties to the area dating back to 1996 when he first moved to Manhattan. The courts are located at Sara D. Roosevelt Park in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. His proposed canvases measure 116' by 80' and have a total of 4 basketball goals. Kaws lived on the corner of Clinton and Stanton Street, so this project hits home for him--almost literally:

“The courts that we painted, I used to pass everyday,” he remembers. “I worked over in Soho, so I’d walk through…when I wasn’t taking Houston, I’d go through that park.”

His approach to this project was quite personal as he considered his own life experience when creating the design for the 2 courts.

“I always think about when I was young and the things I had interaction with, whether it was skateboard graphics or magazines, and how art reached me. I’ve been conscious of how my work disseminates and reaches people. It could be a canvas in a museum…or it could be a court, a wall or a t-shirt,” says Kaws. “ I like the idea of public art because it reaches people in a casual way, and when they aren’t necessarily looking for it.”

Stanton Street Courts - Street View

Kaws also thought about how he could make form meet function:

“My approach to the courts was very similar to how I would work on canvas. I wanted to create something that was true to my language, but also considerate of this being a court that people are playing on,” he explains. “I wanted to find the sweet spot where it works visually and functionally — how its broken up by the game’s lines and works with my images. It will have an intimate effect on the players that use the court.”

Want to enjoy even more of the arts colliding with community? The next time you are in the city, check out Stanton Street Courts, the new state-of-the-art Nike Store at 529 Broadway at Spring Street, and the Nike+ Clubhouse at 45 Grand Street in Soho to find out what being #NYMade is all about.

Nike Store in Soho