This artist turns old Nikes into sculptural marvels made of moss, bark

Christophe Guinet grew up between two worlds. Half of his life was spent in Marseille, the place he found the wonders of nature. Half of his life was spent in Paris, the place he found skating and concrete tradition.

As a younger grownup, observing his personal rising assortment of sneakers in his closet, he wished to have the ability to recycle them, by some means. And that’s when his alter ego was born: Monsieur Plant. He’s an artist who works on the intersection of consumerism and nature. And since 2015, he’s been recycling old Nikes into plant sculptures, reskinning his sneakers with pure supplies together with moss, bark, and flowers—some of which he preserves to sell to art collectors, no watering required.

“I prefer to play with the opposition and use symbols giving them a pure and moral twist, as if to say that nature will at all times conquer man and his consumption patterns,” wrote Guinet over e-mail.

His newest three works pictured right here—Topical, Captain Wooden, and Fossil—are beautiful explorations of cognitive dissonance. On one hand, his works current a repulsive, dystopian view of a post-consumer world, one by which humankind has destroyed itself in extra, and nature continues on with out us. (Be aware how in every of these items, Guinet captures not simply the sneakers, however the strata of earth beneath them, turning sneakers into archaeological artifacts of a world passed by.) On the opposite, these are nonetheless Nikes that Guinet is peddling—some of essentially the most lustable shopper merchandise on this planet! And his one-off creations, as bleak as they might be, can really feel like the very best articulation of sneakerhead tradition. In any case, what are modern sneakers however mass-produced fashionable artwork, a discipline by which shortage and avant-garde designs drive worth?

I can recognize Guinet’s works extra now than I may have a couple of years in the past, figuring out that Adidas and Nike are each taking vital steps to rework their sneakers into round merchandise. However every of his works nonetheless lands with a intestine punch, reminding us of our literal footprint upon this good planet.