Artist Turns the Levi’s x Air Jordan Sneakers Into a Must-See ‘Abstract Painting on Shoes’

The upcoming Levi’s x Air Jordan collaboration is set to arrive at a select handful of retailers next week, and ahead of the drop, one artist is putting his spin on the sneakers and jacket to show off the possibilities of the denim-draped looks.

Julian Gaines put the collection’s Air Jordan 4 shoes and reversible denim trucker jacket through the ringer, distressing it with a multistep process that results in items that look like they’ve been worn for years.

Beginning with bleach in a spray bottle, Gaines haphazardly splattered the jacket to mimic the look of a paint spill. “The idea behind the spraying is that I wanted it to look like somebody just threw paint on there,” the artist said. “So we have drips going down the sleeve of the jacket as if somebody just dripped over my shoulders.”

Levi's x Air Jordan 4
A before and after look at the distressed Levi's x Air Jordan 4.
CREDIT: Instagram: @juworkingonprojects

For the sneakers, Gaines looked to the Air Jordan 4’s traditional mesh paneling for inspiration, using a kitchen knife to grate away the denim’s dark blue indigo. “Even around the Air bubble, I want it to look like somebody had already worn these. So there’s a lot of sanding-down.”

The kicks were then tossed into an industrial washer to be stonewashed, giving them the appearance of a beautifully broken-in pair of jeans.

“If you rush any part of the process, you might ruin a certain splatter detail, etc. It’s an abstract painting on shoes,” Gaines said. “This is really a storytelling shoe for me simply because it’s a Jordan 4; the all-over denim allows me to visually tell my own story.”

The Levi’s x Air Jordan collection arrives Jan. 17. For a complete list of global retailers, click here.

Levi's x Air Jordan 4
The distressed Levi's x Air Jordan 4 are placed in a machine to be stonewashed.
CREDIT: Instagram: @juworkingonprojects
Levi's x Air Jordan 4
A close-up of the customized Levi's x Air Jordan 4.
CREDIT: Instagram: @juworkingonprojects
Levi's x Air Jordan 4
The customized Levi's x Air Jordan trucker jacket.
Levi's x Air Jordan 4
An on-foot look at the distressed Levi's x Air Jordan 4.
CREDIT: Instagram: @juworkingonprojects
Levi's x Air Jordan 4
Artist Julian Gaines hand-distresses the Levi's x Air Jordan 4 sneakers.
CREDIT: Instagram: @juworkingonprojects

Want more?

Travis Scott Debuts Unreleased Levi’s x Air Jordans Coming in 2018

Travis Scott’s ‘Cactus Jack’ Nike Air Force 1 Shoes Come Out Tomorrow

Customs Officials Seize $55,000 Worth of Fake Air Jordan Sneakers

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content