Emeric Trahand's painterly shoe ads for Onitsuka Tiger

French-born and New-York based illustrator Emeric Trahand has created artworks for a European print campaign by trainer brand Onitsuka Tiger that combine shoe photography with dynamic organic elements. Nothing new there, but what marks out this project is the beautiful, textured painterly feel that Emeric has applied to the flowers and leaves.

Emeric says that the LimberUp Moscow was designed as a training shoe for Japanese athletes at the 1980 Moscow Olympics -- but was never used as Japan joined the US-led boycott of the Games. However, these Games saw more events for women than at previous events and the establishment of World Records by many female atheletes that have yet to be beaten.  

"Inspired by the flourishing of female talent and energy present at the Olympic Games, I chose to represent and pay tribute to the inspirational women of the 1980 Olympics by using Japanese Ikebana flower arrangement as a symbol of feminine energy and achievement," says Emeric. "Rediscovering my Japanese influence, I created three illustrations that celebrate not only my and Onitsuka Tiger’s shared Japanese artistic heritage, but also gave a striking, colourful tribute to their historical commitment to sports and achievement over controversy and politics."

These pieces were the first that Emeric had produced in this style. He says that he was given free rein on each composition, so was free to develop the overall style through experimentation.

"Each piece is an evolution of the previous one, learning from the previous mistakes, trying to push the visual further," he says. "There was a lot of time spent balancing the colours, lights and shadows."


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