Beginning today, thirty custom hand-painted pairs of sneakers by DEF LEPPARD lead guitarist Phil Collen are available for order from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada's Six Hundred Four shoe company. The Electric Splatter sneakers were inspired by Collen's other artistic love — the classic style of Jackson Pollock's drip paintings. Collen has previously employed his painting talents during his long-standing relationship with Jackson Guitars. The limited-edition instruments that Collen had embellished in 2010 have now more than doubled in value, with one recently appearing on the hit show "Pawn Stars".
While on tour with DEF LEPPARD in Canada earlier this year, Collen wandered into the Six Hundred Four store in Vancouver. As an avid original sneaker fan, Collen never passes up an opportunity to check out unique "sneaks." Going through the shop, which felt more like an art gallery than a shoe store, Collen was intrigued by the small batch artisanal kicks. After striking up a conversation with Six Hundred Four founder James Lepp, a eureka moment occurred. Literally the next morning, with the help of renowned sneaker artist Zac Vine, Collen splatter-painted the first two pairs using the same signature paint style that appears on his sold-out, limited-edition Jackson Splatter Guitar series.
"I would have never thought that in less than twenty-four hours after walking into the Six Hundred Four store in Vancouver that I'd be splashing paint on a pair of really cool sneakers," Collen says. "DEF LEPPARD was playing the Rogers Arena in Vancouver that night so time was of the essence. Creating live art on a pair of sneakers turned out to be an explosive and exciting combination."
Since the first two pairs turned out impeccably, Collen returned to Vancouver a month later to complete the thirty-piece limited-edition pairs of custom sneakers. Each shoe is numbered and signed by Collen in his classic Japanese script. Lepp says: "We have one simple principle at Six Hundred Four: shoes can be shoes; or they can be a storytelling piece of art. Thanks to Phil, I'm pretty sure we checked off as many boxes as humanly possible with this project. I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out."
The significance of thirty pairs of custom shoes is not lost on Collen as this year, he celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of DEF LEPPARD's multi-platinum album "Hysteria", his thirty-plus-year relationship with Jackson Guitars as well as marking thirty years of sobriety for the health-conscious guitarist.
The handcrafted shoes come delivered in matching box also adorned by Collen's signature Jackson style.
Limited-edition orders are being accepted here.
Watch Phil hand-splatter paint the thirty pairs of shoes, from start to finish, in the video below.
Photo credit: Helen L. Collen