Six Hundred Four is a sneaker store like no other. Local artists create bespoke art pieces, which are digitally printed, in limited quantities, on high quality shoes. Thus creating stand-out footwear with a story. Once a line is sold out, new artwork is introduced, creating the perfect living collection.
The artists collaborations are the result of careful curation and each artwork exclusively created for Six Hundred Four. Each shoe is laser engraved with the unique pair identification number, number of shoes in that design and the number of shoes by that artists.
The shop opened December 2016 and is founded by local entrepreneur James Lepp. Based in trendy Gastown, the “Sneaker Gallery” is a great place to admire the original artworks and meet the friendly team. Luckily, for those that unable to travel to Vancouver, you can also get these amazing sneakers on their web store.
We visited the gallery today and viewed the works by the following seven artists.
Patrick James Bravo – Steven’s Facets
Patrick has expressed himself in just about any medium and is guided by the artist within him. His colourful designs relay movement and change, resulting in a new perspective upon each encounter.
Steven’s Facets is the piece he created for Six Hundred Four, which allowed him to work beyond a two-dimensional canvas and consider the full potential of the shoe and its lifecycle. The end result is playful, evocative, combines screen colours and printed colours, and the designs glow in the dark!
Elyse Dodge – Elevation
Elyse has been drawing since a very young age and grew up being told by her inspiring parents that she could solve any problem with enough ingenuity and vision. She states that her goal for each of her acrylic paintings is to portray an unforgettable euphoric moment captured in time, and she has definitely managed that with her artwork Elevation.
Elevation symbolises the emotional experience of being lifted up as well as the literal meaning of being up in the mountains. It is Elyse’s own interpretation of West Coast exploration, Whistler’s iconic Black Tusk mountain and the formation of this volcanic landscape, with the abstract forms and colours illustrating the Earth’s movement.
Not known to wear designer sneakers, Clare was so moved by the beauty of these shoes that she did proudly leave with pair 037/133 after the team at Six Hundred Four talked us through the story behind the piece as well as the charitable foundations supported by the collaboration (more on this below).
Joanne Hastie – Overlooking the City
The ability of art to connect people on a deeply personal level is incredibly inspiring to Joanne, and she loves the stories that unfold when strangers gather to admire her works.
When Joanne was painting tower views in Italy she noticed how tourists come up to take in the scenes from above, but that locals rarely make the same effort. Overlooking the City illustrates Vancouver’s Harbour Centre, a popular lookout often unnoticed by locals.
Pierce Jordan – Perceptual Plains
Pierce is captivated by and studies the dualities and juxtapositions of nature and technology, and how they interact in similarities and differences through ambiance, colour and structure.
His work Perceptual Plains is an excellent product of his studies; painted on wood, the striking geometric shapes form a striking contrast with the organic background, while maintaining a natural structural connection.
Sean Karemaker – Let Us Run
Sean is a well-known figure in Vancouver’s art industry, his 2016 comic book received critical acclaim and his narrative style is uniquely recognisable. Watch the video above to learn more about his background and the inspiration for the scroll he created for Six Hundred Four.
The seven foot scroll, Let Us Run, details the stories from Sean’s own mythology and weaves them with Vancouver’s romantic cityscape.
Jennifer Sparacino – The Long Winter
Jennifer loves using colour and lines to convey emotion and thinks of her style to be representational and expressionistic. She has developed a deep love for nature and believes in keeping large areas of Canada truly ‘wild and free’.
Her subject for The Longer Winter, the grizzly bear, is the king of the woods and Jennifer admires the animal’s strength and ability to go after one’s goals. Which is why she chose it for this collaboration, as it represents both her vision as an artist as well as that of Six Hundred Four.
A pretty neat detail is the spread of the grizzly across the nose of the ‘Alexander’ variation of this design, with the full artwork stretched across the noses of two shoes.
L.J. Throstle – Big Red
UK born artist L.J. Throstle, aka Lucy Price, travelled the world before settling in Vancouver. Her work has been recognised by the Federation of Canadian Arts and is often inspired by Vancouver’s rich marine wildlife.
With Vancouver being the centre piece of the Six Hundred Four collaboration, the native Giant Pacific Octopus made for a perfect fit for her art piece. The giant’s abilities to change colours and squeeze into tight spaces are awe-inspiring and of mythical quality.
Everything that Six Hundred Four stands for is hugely inspiring to me; their mission to bring the works of local artists onto the streets (literally), provides a platform for artists to jumpstart their careers, and they succeeded in creating a high quality unique product. There are other ventures which print artworks onto pieces of clothing, but the quality of these shoes is simply superior to anything else I’ve seen. Combine all that with the fact that each pair is part of a limited range and you’ve got a recipe for success.
Now, as if all that isn’t awesome enough, what really made me want to write about this company is that alongside all the amazing stuff above they also donate a percentage (you guessed it, 6.04%) of their sales to charities chosen by each artists.
To learn more about the charities chosen by each artist, simply click on the artists names, which will take you to their profiles on Six Hundred Four’s website.