Mario Wagner and Converse Are Out of This World
There are few accessories we come in contact as intimately as our footwear. Shoes create a barrier between us and the rougher aspects of nature, offering protection against the elements, stability on tenuous ground, and a small space for self expression. Colors, shapes, and silhouettes are offered for every taste but few are as iconic as Converse's Chuck Taylor All Star. The vulcanized canvas sneaker has attracted fans from every era of its history, inspiring musicians, designers, and technological minds. They've been adopted by passionate and successful people in every industry making them owned not by a particular culture, but by everyone regardless of how they define themselves.
A new three-part collection brings those inspirations onto the shoes, drawing from three cities where the Chuck Taylor has seen plenty of love. "Made By You” features pairs of Chuck Taylors with designs and artistry by artists who have lived in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle and ultimately offers an intimate understanding of what makes these cities what they are. As a previous resident of San Francisco, Mario Wagner was the natural choice to illustrate a representation of San Francisco. Not to mention, he’s a big fan of the sneaker. “I wear Chucks almost every day,” says Mario. “So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard about this assignment. My favorite shoe, my favorite city. Perfect!”
One of Mario’s favorite quotes about San Francisco goes a long way to help understand how he approaches the city. It’s from Oscar Wilde and says, “It's an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be seen in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.” That oddity and delight create a unique blend that inspires the people of San Francisco and the composition of Mario’s illustration. His graphic style is dominant in the imagery, drumming up reminders to the technological power of the city, while the classic iconography of the Golden Gate Bridge and Transamerica Pyramid feature prominently. Viewers will also notice a trio of spacecraft lording over the sky, which Mario placed for a very particular reason.
Oscar Wilde talks about how San Francisco is the depository for all things fantastic, and for Mario that extends beyond mere humanity. “For me this includes every weird thing that might have been here already or is about to come, like UFOs,” explains Mario. “Or you can see them as a symbol for the tech industry around us in San Francisco. You never know what they’ll come up with or what they are already working on. The self driving car is already rolling on our streets!” Friends of San Franciscans, or the residents themselves, are sure to see something in Mario’s imagery that they recognize, making it exactly right to be an extension of expression and feel like it was “Made By You.”