Rizon Parein makes a Ballet of Nike's newest Air Maxes
On March 26, Nike’s Air Max 1 turned 27 years old. Inspired by the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Tinker Hatfield created one of the most iconic sneakers of all time with a deceptively simple silhouette. The entire Air Max program was born the day the Air Max 1 was first released, and has become one of the most powerful sneaker programs in history, selling millions of pairs to athletes and everyday wearers all over the world. Now that Air Max Day has come and gone, Nike has opted to put the classic sneaker on a Lunar Sole, a major departure from Air Max history, and they tapped Rizon Parein to help them announce it.
When it comes to CGI neon signs, Rizon Parein is a master. From Hollywood movies like Drive, to the World Cup, Rizon can bend a neon sign into anything and change the way you think of light in a glass tube. But the master manipulation extends beyond glass and noble gasses. Rizon’s particular set of skills allows him to reshape reality into fluid and dynamic images that trick the eye.
These hyperfused Air Max 1s are one of the lightest running sneakers ever made, and Rizon was tasked to communicate that idea with the elements that make up the shoe. The angular ridges that are signature to the Nike Lunar sole bend and twist on themselves. The twisted soles float in air populated by bubbles inspired by the air unit in the heel that gives the Air Max program its name. If you look carefully you can even see the sneakers’ missing hyper fused upper reflected in the bubbles. Back in 1987 Nike only released two colorways of the Air Max 1, known to sneakerheads as the “OG” colors. Those two colorways, the red and the blue, along with a black and neon green colorway, are interpreted into Rizon’s midair ballet.
Despite Rizon’s fluid flare, every artistic project is a collaboration. This is the second time Rizon has collaborated with Nike, previously using his neon work for the Air Max program in Brazil. “We’re starting to really understand each other,” Rizon says about working with Nike. “It’s different doing revision for Nike than for other brands. When you get revisions from Nike, they actually make the work better. It’s a pleasure playing the ping-pong.”
Although no stranger to putting projects together very quickly, like he did for The World Cup, a project on the scale of an international Nike campaign takes more time. You have to get it right. But, again, Nike’s revisions make the final product better, working together towards a common goal. Rizon says when it’s as positive a relationship as what he has with Nike, “It doesn’t matter how long a job takes, it’s fun.”