Cassius Hirst, Damien Hirst’s son, reinvents the Prada America’s Cup sneaker

The son of contemporary art star Damien Hirst signs up Cass x Prada a capsule collection of ultra-arty, colorful and desirable sneakers. Edited like a blank canvas by the young artist, each pair is absolutely unique. Cassius Hirst reveals for Item number the bottom of this collaboration.


Cassius Hirst was only 14 when he painted his first pair of sneakers, a gift from her father, British star Damien Hirst. Since then, the young artist has developed his practice by using the Air Force 1 Classic as a blank canvas – reworking it in the manner of a painter and graffiti artist. His sneakers, spotted by Vigil Abloh, will be sold in 2019 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago to mark the exhibition of the maker who is not the only one to have succumbed to his hand-painted shoes. The entire music scene adores them, from A$AP Rocky to Rihanna through Playboi Carti and Offset.


Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker

But this spring is good for Prada that Cassius Hirst has devised an entire collection for the first time: four models available in 22 variations. “When I showed my father my first painted shoes, Cassius Hirst confided in us, I told him that I really wanted to make a real collection one day. He simply replied, “Maybe I should send some pictures of your works to Miuccia Prada.” And she was very interested! I couldn’t believe it, but a few months later I was in Tuscany, in the Prada workshops where the shoes are made.” The young man then receives dozens and dozens of boxes of shoes at his home. Moving away from his pure practice as a painter, he decided to try 3D design, scanning the models before fitting them on the computer and then printing them over and over in 3D, before painting them by hand. “I went through a lot of stages before finally going back to the pure spraying of shoes and adding textures to models.”

The ATT4CK model for example, resin and a 3D effect combines with neon spray paint giving it an impressive cracked appearance. Fluorescent is back in the spotlight with the REL3ASE and the striking two-tone effect. For the D3CAY, a special treatment gives a worn, refined and voluntarily faded effect. The model SUST4IN meanwhile capitalizes on the effects of stunning coats of paint: the upper is spray painted in two shades of the same color with a dark base coat and a lighter top coat. “When I was younger, the artist explains, I really wanted to get good at drawing. I drew sea creatures, sharks, whales, squid… But it was mostly for fun. And then I started spray painting when I was about 10. After that I studied graphic design and photography so that I learned to produce in different ways. When I left school, I made my first shoe. It was a way to put all these different lessons into practice.”

Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker
Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker

Handmade in Italy by Prada, all models miraculously combine the abundant creativity of the young artist, the traditional know-how and the advanced innovation of the house to offer objects between technology and ultra-modern painting. “I was particularly inspired by the iconic Prada America’s Cup silhouette,” adds Cassius Hirst. Prada is one of the few houses that has found its trademark: an almost abstract, organic form.” The Prada America’s Cup’s massive base is a perfect playground for the young man. Just like his curved lines.

Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker
Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker

Cassius Hirst, who is also a musician, produced the soundtrack for the campaign film. “It’s still something new to me, even though I started playing drums when I was younger. At the time, I had a very specific way of leading the way, but my body wasn’t following. Years later, by discovering synthesizers and drum machines, I could finally fulfill my desires.” The young artist now devotes himself to another passion: video. “I’ve made a lot of paintings and shoes over the years and I would like to bring all my exercises together in one big video. I would also like to make gloves. Hands are an absolutely amazing part of the body!” The prolific Cassius Hirst isn’t done talking about him yet.

The Cass x Prada collection is available in a limited edition of 3,000 pairs in select Prada boutiques and on prada.com.

Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker
Artistic Collaboration: Artist Cassius Hirst Reinvents the Prada America's Cup Sneaker

Leave a Comment