Chicago is home to a lot of talent. Artists such as Kanye West, Chance the Rapper, and Chief Keef are well known in the music industry. Creative director for Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, is known in the fashion Industry. One artist is tapping into both industries and more…
With a worldwide solo art tour on the way, Nike collaboration in the works, and an upcoming album drop; Busy sounds like an understatement for the young Chicago artist Bryant Giles. Luckily, we had some time to sit down and get to know more about this renaissance man.
To start if off, whats your current shoe rotation?
Cream Continental 80s, Yeezy sandals, Rick Owens birkenstocks, Louis Vuitton ummmmmm don’t remember the model, the latest one.
What inspired you to start painting?
I was anti-social and shit. I had social anxiety so I started writing and painting a lot. That was my way of communicating at the time, and I spent my whole day just doing that.
Is there anyone you were trying to communicate with?
Just communicating with myself. It’s pretty much like going to the therapist’s office, saying what you gotta say, and leave it out. That’s what my art is to me, it’s like me going to the therapist.
What inspires your art?
Going back to the therapist conversation, it’s just pretty much a mental outlet to me, somewhere I can dump my sins, the good and the bad. As long as it serves that for me, I keep doing it.
Do you pull ideas or themes for your art from things you go through everyday or that you see?
Yea thats exactly it, just mental photographs of everything. Then I just store it in kind of a collage, then into something that makes sense to me.
When did you decide that you’re really going to focus on your art?
When I realized I couldn’t do shit else but that. I was like, I already put so much work into this, might as well just live it to the fullest. I tried different ways to make money off of it and live off of it. Some stuck for a little bit, but I noticed some of those ways, it kind of didn’t feel like me being an artist. Felt more like I was enslaving myself to my art. Over trials and tribulations I found out what kind of felt right, as far as surviving off of it.
Has it been a learning experience marketing yourself?
Yea it’s always a learning experience, especially if you want to take the more independent route and not have someone make the decisions for you. You have to do a lot of research or you’re not going to get to that point. You have to be a student before you’re a leader. Years and years and years of being a student, I’m still a student now. I’m just learning everything I can.
Do you feel like you can ever graduate from being a student?
Yea, it’s just kind of up to you at that point. To tell yourself when you graduate.
MJ or Lebron?
Lebron, most say MJ off the back, I’m saying lebron based on where he’s at, he’s not stopping anytime soon.
I know you’ve been into shoes for a minute, growing up what was a shoe for you that was really hard to obtain but then you finally did?
For me, it was the Jordan 1 and black cement 3s, I wanted to get them. I tried getting them in 7th grade. Wasn’t able to cop a pair with my own money until sophomore year of high school. Breds are the grail. Bred 4s, white cement 4s are beautiful too. Air Mags, always wanted a pair of mags, and the yeezy 2s, solars. AND the yeezy 1.
I remember I saw your art at the Nike store, How’d you get an installation at Nike Lab Chicago?
They just reached out to me, completely random.
How did it feel to be approached by them?
It was cool. I think I was more challenged with the aspect of being able to architect the design layout of the store, redesigning the store. So being able to pick everything out was cool. (Nike Lab Layout)
How was making your shoe?
It was really cool, I felt like a lot of things I did weren’t really planned. Spur of the moment, just doing it in the moment. It just turned into something else, it just was surreal.
Bryant Giles in 5 years, where do you want to be at?
Retired, I’m just doing so much work now, that 5 years seems like an eternity. I dont know man, the plan was always to be in the textbooks and just to make work that lives beyond our lives, and to make content that will be archived and preserved. Just the work to keep inspiring and to keep making people question things. Thats always been the plan and idea. Making things eternal. We all just want to live forever.