When in 2004, german artist Nina Braun left the streetwear-company SUMO, which the skateboarder started in 1998 to set a contrast to the all-male-dominated skater world, she re-focused on her art, taking the imagery she created for clothes and accompanying street art and grafittis for six years onto canvases and into the galleries.

Allthough being an extremely talented painter, working on perfectly painted acryllics, she quickly began to re-think her materials, and started developing her own, unique technique: instead of paint she used wool and stitched the first street-art-tapestries based on her cuddly, cartoony character world. This new technique reverses the “traditional” street art-approach of quick skeches, drawings and statements – in order to finish even smaller scale tapestries, Nina Braun works for several weeks or even months with needle and thread.

In her most recent show at the Galerie Heliumcowboy artspace in Hamburg, Nina takes all vital elements of her past and her traditional craftmanship onto a new level: by creating exact replicas of world famous classic sneakers from wool and felt. In “Sneak like a panther – Puschen for the cozy generation”, Nina subtly questions status symbols of the HipHop-, Fashion- and Skater-community, but on a highly humourous level: Nina Brauns’ sneakers could be used as slippers, cozy and comfy for keeping your feet warm at home … (thus the subtitle “Puschen”, the german equivalent for “slippers”).

On one of the first warm nights after a long Hamburg winter, the exhibition-opening was an all-night event inside the Heliumcowboy artspace as well as outside on the galleries terrace, with hundreds of visitors listening to the beats of DJ Sdag, serving pearls from the HipHop-underground to a very sneaker-savvy auditorium.

After the show in Hamburg, Nina was invited to join the world’s largest global touring sneaker exhibition, “SneakerPimps” to present her artwork in Antwerp, Belgium and in the U.S. in June and July.

Exhibiting in July at the Galerie Heliumcowboy artspace will be Rilla and Steve from Rinzen Australia, who after taking part in the re-designing of Hotel Fox in Copenhagen want to make Germany their home, maybe even with cozy ‘Puschen’ by Nina Braun…

Nina Braun: Sneak like a panther
Date: May 21 – June 3, 2005
Place: Galerie Heliumcowboy artspace
Address: Sternstrasse 4, 20357 Hamburg

Text: Jorg Heikhaus from Heliumcowboy
Photos: Heiko Hebig

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