During today’s MTAG stop in London, Billie Jean gave James an uniquely-designed pair of Air Max LeBron VII shoes. Billie Jean was born in Paddington, West London, now living and working in Leytonstone, East London. Billie Jean had his first-ever illustration published in The Sunday Times newspaper, while still at school. He then went on to study at the Chelsea School of Art and Central Saint Martins, where he specialized in illustration. On leaving art school Billie went into photography, taking portraits for The Face, The Guardian Weekend and Dazed & Confused magazines, amongst others. In 2003, he gravitated back to illustration, with his first commission that year being nominated for a D&AD Award. Billie Jean creates his work through the use of biros, Indian ink, acrylic paints, photography and a capacious imagination. He draws his inspiration from an eclectic mix of art, music, film, design and travel.
“The inspiration for this shoe design came from Londoner’s indomitable spirit during the Blitz, which has become folklore”, says Billie Jean. “LeBron James personifies this spirit. His determination and talent has enabled him to achieve absolute victory and success.” LeBron’s exuberance on the basketball court is reflected in the limited-edition shoe’s busy design. The style incorporates a patchwork of traditional and not so traditional London motifs. For example, the flames licking the side of the shoe depict the Great Fire in 1666, which radically changed the landscape of the city. The image of the Indian lady and the African patterns are symbolic of London’s culturally diverse population. The River Thames weaves it’s way through the design as it does through the city, and the line pattern on the inside of each shoe is an aerial view of the river.Show Album