I have a soft spot for sneakers and currently own over a hundred pairs of shoes. A project that involves sneakers and art? Count me in.
Mas Shafreen, also known as @wantondoodle on Instagram, is a professional illustrator and the founder of Band of Doodlers (@bandofdoodlers). The art collective, established in 2013, has made it its mission to rid the world of blank walls. Mas and his Band of Doodlers have painted for lifestyle brands as well as for commercial and charity events.
Mas developed an interest in art at the tender age of two after deciding that his mother’s lipsticks would look good on the walls. As he grew older, having artists as friends encouraged him to delve deeper into his love for art. He cites Singaporean artists Jeffrey Koh (Flabslab) and Mark Ong (SBTG) as two particularly inspiring people. Comic artists Jim Lee, Chris Bachalo and Geof Darrow have also inspired Mas.
Mas first started painting on sneakers and skate decks. Over time, he moved on to painting bigger canvases including murals and walls. The largest surface he and the Band of Doodlers ever painted – a mural for Siglap Secondary School – measures four storeys high.
“I moved from sneakers to murals because I wanted to see my artwork as something larger than life. Obviously, the bigger it is, the more impressive. And murals tend to have public access, unlike sneakers and skate decks. But with that said, I have to say, that in terms of ease, sneakers are still one of the tougher canvases to work on,” said the artist.
For the STAR STROKES project, a campaign by STAR 360 that brings sneakers and art together, Mas has illustrated a whimsical constellation onto a PUMA Basket Classic. The design etched in white marker across the striking black colorway feature playful elements, not unlike the adorable characters often featured in Mas’ illustrations.
“I chose to create a playful constellation because the constellation, like the shoes, gets you to where you want to be,” said the illustrator. “I like to create artwork that will put a smile on people’s faces,” he continued.
Mas is a real sneakerhead who owns more than a hundred pairs sneakers. He says that the count is currently a little lower seeing as to how he recently gave away 20 to 30 pairs of his Nike Air Max shoes to some of his nieces and nephews.
Giving back to the community is integral to Mas and the Band of Doodlers. All 200 artists in the collective meet up once a week to collaborate on art projects or bounce ideas off each other. Band of Doodlers also conduct workshops, visual recording exercises and mentorship programs with a number of institutions including United World College of South East Asia (January 2018) and Noise Singapore (2017).
“Our collective is very diverse. The median age of the group is mid-twenties, because I’m so far off the age scale, I bring the mean age up a little bit. But basically, it’s a young group, and our youngest member is only 6,” explained Mas.
Keep up with Mas on Instagram (@wantondoodle) or visit wantondoodle.com for more information.
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