The rise of social media has brought an explosion to sneaker culture with the ability to share, purchase and trade kicks being easier then ever. This increased connectivity has also gave way to creative artists that are presenting and working with sneakers in unique and innovative ways. We sat down with Michael from the Instagram account, @ryustyler, to discuss how he has begun his own sneaker movement and how he’s using it to progress and innovate the industry.
How did #DeliciousKicks begin?
It came about pretty naturally as a meeting of my love of shoes and my love of food. The appeal and experience of a great meal is really similar, in my mind, to the touch and smell and feel of a really well crafted shoe. I found myself describing certain kicks with taste or food words like “butter” and “creamy” and it just made sense to pair one with the other.
What is your process for creating a #DeliciousKicks post?
The prep for each photo starts a few days early so I can scavenge for potential props. I like to use fresh flowers as garnishes for the setting. Between experimentation, table setting, and taking several shots, each session can take anywhere from 30 to 75 minutes. The hardest part is choosing which single shot makes the final cut. The process is time consuming, so I seldom do two sessions in a row.
What is your favorite ever #DeliciousKicks you ever created?
My all time favorites are the Sakura “concept” Adidas Ultraboosts. It was captured just at the right moment under natural lighting during “Cherry Blossom” season. Sakuras are a reminder that life is beautiful, but that beauty can be short. I was really happy with how that photo turned out because it brought out the “bittersweet” mood I was trying to convey.
How has the #DeliciousKicks concept affected the community and the giants in the sneaker industry?
It has been really cool and gratifying to see my peers and other sneaker-heads who see me on their feed give the concept their own take. So much so that I startedup a feature page for them. However, the first time a boutique outright stole my photo design down to the last detail and used it for a collab with a major sneaker company, I was angry and confused. By the next few incidents,I started to realize that this concept was much bigger than me.
Where do you hope to take the #DeliciousKicks idea?
As far as where sneaker-heads and brands will take them. As long as people keep putting in creativity and do it for the love of sneakers, I’m all for it. For me, I am grateful for all the opportunities and friendships that I’ve made with people all over the globe because of it.
What came first, your passion for photography or fashion?
Living in Tokyo for a few years sparked my taste in fashion in so many ways. For such a conservative society, it is such a breeding ground for creativity. You can experiment with any outfit there and not get judged for it. Photography came many years later and I don’t think I became serious about it until I ditched the iPhone and bought my first camera.I will always consider myself to be a student of the game, and hope to keep learning and trying new things.
What is the motivation behind your work?
If my work has ever put a smile on your face, inspired. pushed or uplifted you in any way, then I feel like I have done my job.I will always be a sneaker-head at heart and like many of you, love sharing our passions. I am not the most verbal person so I feel like with a canvas or photo, I can express my thoughts in a way I normally wouldn’t be able to do with words.
Do you see yourself pursuing a career in the sneaker industry?
My day job is as an artist, and I work primarily in acrylics on canvas with subjects that range from portraits to abstract representations of food, sneakers, anything I’m inspired by. When I first started getting into sneakers, I quickly became interested in the customization side of it, and I really enjoy experimenting with sneakers as a type of canvas for creativity. In general, I see my work in traditional art and with sneakers as parallel passions.
Final words and advice for Instagramers?
The universe is vast and and unless your name is Usain Bolt, there will always be many out there that are simply faster, smarter, stronger, more talented, harder working and better equipped than you. Just enjoy the process and be yourself. Living life with a comparing mindset is not only toxic for the individual but for the whole community. Getting likes and gaining followers is all good but when we base our posts around those things, then we’ve lost sight of the creative meaning. Finally, do things for yourself because you love it. If you are not feeling the passion, how can other people see it in your work?
Be sure to go follow Michael on Instagram and check out more of his creations. If you enjoyed this interview be sure to check out more here.
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