It can often feel like it escapes you just as easy as it may come to you. And as of late, it hasn’t really returned as quickly as it has in the past. Busyness, life, travel, business, worrying about my daughter as she starts high school next year (yikes) are all reasons why I have felt choked but there has been a spark - and it came in the most obscure way.
There is a documentary series on Netflix called “Abstract” that features world-renown artists explaining their craft. I was quickly drawn to the episode on Tinker Hatfield. You see, I have been a lover of the Nike brand since I was a young child. The love grew to an obsession which focused around Michael Jordan. When I was in the second grade, my mom, my brother and I moved away from my hometown after my parents got divorced. We grew up with little money and were never able to afford the name brands.
Nonetheless, we moved away and had the opportunity to start fresh. Now, back in the day, I loved school shopping for the class supplies, backpacks, clothes and, of course, the shoes. I can remember it like it was yesterday–getting ready to start the third grade and walking into the Altamonte Mall and looking at the shoe racks and just dreaming about owning a pair of Michael Jordans. I never expected to own a pair and I was actually fine with it. At a young age I had a strong appreciation for anything I had and took great pride in the work that mom had to do for us to have anything. But on this day, my world changed.
She leaned over while I was holding the Jordan 4s (black color scheme) and said, “Why don’t you see if they have your size?” My heart started racing as I was trying them on but it’s one of those times when you are trying your hardest to govern your feelings so you don’t get let down. But that day was a special day. My Mom bought me my first pair of Jordans and I felt like the luckiest kid on the planet. As I think back on that day, I feel like that was the day I fell in love with design. Design speaks to you and can make you feel something. As trite and shallow as it may be, those shoes gave me lift in my step and changed the trajectory of my adolescence.
How this happened is a story for another day but the moral of this story is that the “inspiration” is back. I think it returned once it was reconnected with what I love about design and how it can make you feel and perform.
While there are several episodes you can watch, if you are a sneaker head like me or just really appreciate Nike and their performance brand, you will want to watch the episode on Tinker. There is gold in that episode. You will learn how he saved Nike and was the spark that it needed to start on the amazing journey and growth that it is still on. I think he really was my hero growing up, not Michael Jordan.
This is Tinker’s original sketch of the shoe that my mom bought me. I was the coolest third grader that year, or at least I thought I was.