Costa Mesa, CALIF. (Feb. 15, 2021) – Continuing the mission to inspire creative self-expression and celebrate and support artistic endeavors and nonconformists, Vans is proud to announce a collaboration with Portland, Oregon-based surfer and skateboarder, musician, environmental advocate, and world-renowned artist Chris Johanson.
Led by the UltraRange EXO SE, and supported by a mix of new and classic footwear and apparel, the Vans x Chris Johanson collection is brightly inspired by Chris’ preferred mediums and artistic styles. Favoring urban graffiti themes, a combination of text and cartoon images, and incorporating uplifting messaging and organic materials, Johanson draws on these styles in his latest work with Vans. Emphasizing a shared vision for sustainability, many pieces in the collection lean into different eco-materializations and designs by utilizing organically-grown cotton from non-genetically modified seed with no synthetic pesticides, as well as an eco-rubber compound made from responsibly sourced natural rubber instead of petroleum derived synthetic rubber.
A colorful-yet-ethereal swirl is one of three pieces of art that appears within the collection, taking shape on the UltraRange EXO’s upper, and offset by an antique white sole and laces. A favorite among those looking for go-anywhere functionality, the shoe boats a super lightweight build, next-level breathability and maximum traction, grip, and durability. EXO construction offers additional support across the toes and medial sidewall, while the heel lock provide a secure fit.
Johanson’s swirl pattern also makes an appearance on the Authentic SF and the Trek Slip-On, Vans’ new functional all-rubber silhouette engineered to take anything thrown at it. The all-terrain Johanson Destruct SF— a low-profile, functional style—features organic cotton uppers with knurled rubber overlays for durability, an exaggerated reverse rubber lug outsole that provides extra traction, and is offered in slate and antique white, with the artist’s whimsical surfing images across the upper.
Both the Authentic SF and Destruct SF contain less than 1% by outsole weight of material scraps from the factory cutting floor, which have been chopped up and inserted into the outsoles, ultimately diverting these materials from a landfill.
The collection’s apparel begins with the Johanson Swirl Boardshort, crafted with 10% Elastane four-way stretch recycled polyester and featuring the same unique swirl pattern and an antique white waistband and pocket closure. A variety of Johanson-illustrated tees round out the offering, along with a floral woven shirt made of 80% organic cotton, a bag, a snapback hat, and a fleece pullover hoodie in vintage black with a hand-drawn smiley face and reminder to “Be Cool to Your Living World”.
Developing his distinctive drawing style and dry-yet-sharp sense of humor in his native San Jose, California, Chris Johanson honed his technique painting skateboards and houses, and crafting a 1980s skateboarding and art zine, “Karmaboarder,” helping shape what would later become his best-known initial work. In the late ‘80s, Chris moved to San Francisco’s Mission District, immersing himself in the local art scene, drawing Sharpie cartoons on lamp posts and bathroom stalls. His art was seen by a wider audience in 1994, when he created a board graphic run for Anti-Hero, a then-fledgling brand. Later, he achieved international fame after participating in the 2002 Whitney Biennial exhibition and went on to win the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art’s SECA Art Award the following year. Since 2004, he has made his home in Portland, Oregon with fellow artist and wife Jo Jackson.
The Vans x Chris Johanson collection is available now at Vans retailers and Vans.com/surf.