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Nike partners with artist Kaws to create bold and beautiful New York basketball courts
23 Nov 2016 . BY Kim Megson
The side-by-side full courts have been painted with swirling, brightly-coloured patterns and motifs.
Photo: Nike
I wanted to find the sweet spot where it works visually and functionally – how it’s broken up by the game’s lines and works with my images. It will have an intimate effect on the players that use the court
– Kaws
Sports giant Nike has partnered with artist Kaws to cover two of New York’s community basketball courts with his signature murals.

Located in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Manhattan’s Stanton Street, the side-by-side full courts have been painted with swirling, brightly-coloured patterns and motifs.

“My approach to the courts was very similar to how I would work on canvas,” said Brooklyn-based Kaws, whose real name is Brian Donnelly. “I wanted to create something that was true to my language, but also considerate of this being a court that people are playing on.

“I wanted to find the sweet spot where it works visually and functionally – how it’s broken up by the game’s lines and works with my images. It will have an intimate effect on the players that use the court.”

Nike has partnered with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department for the project, which is part of a larger campaign called New York Made. The company said it wants to “elevate sport, culture and community through innovative collaborations” in the city.

Kaws claimed public art and design projects are key to engaging with local communities.

“I always think about when I was young and the things I had interaction with, whether it was skateboard graphics or magazines, and how art reached me,” he said. “I’ve been conscious of how my work disseminates and reaches people. It could be a canvas in a museum, or it could be a court, a wall or a t-shirt.

“I like the idea of public art because it reaches people in a casual way, and when they aren’t necessarily looking for it.”

Art and street basketball have mixed before, notably in Paris, where fashion brand Pigalle and architecture firm Ill-Studio recently created a vivid multicoloured basketball court squeezed between two apartment buildings.




The courts are located in Sara D. Roosevelt Park on Manhattan’s Stanton Street



Artist Kaws painted his signature motifs onto the courts



The artist used to live on Stanton Street and passed the park every day



Nike's New York Made campaign celebrates creativity in the city



The company said it wants to 'elevate sport, culture and community through innovative collaborations' in the city



Kaws said: 'I wanted to create something that was true to my language, but also considerate of this being a court that people are playing on'
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