Working with or for a childhood hero is something most people can only dream of. For Cleveland, Ohio based sneaker customizer Van Monroe, that dream has actually come true, twice. Back in 2009 Van created a Michael Jackson custom sneaker that was purchased by Spike Lee for his “This Is It” film tribute to the late King of Pop. Fast forward to 2012 Van was contacted by the famed director to create a pair of sneakers based on his latest film, Red Hook Summer. The movie is Lee’s sixth in his chronicles of Brooklyn, NY with another appearance of Lee as Do the Right Thing’s Mookie, who still happens to be Sal’s Pizza delivery guy. Van Monroe nicknamed this Air Jordan “Son of Mookie” to celebrate Lee’s reprised role.
What started out as the “Son of Mars” Olympic edition was completely given a new identity. The hand painted design was created to match the colors of the Red Hook Summer’s marketing materials featuring a mostly black and red upper. Changes can be seen in the black velcro straps and midsole, red ankle panels, and both colors as the elephant print. Spots of vibrant blue were added to Jumpman logos on the tongue and shark teeth on the midsoles to match along with the sockliner. To complete the theme Van added the logo for Spike’s production company, 40 Acres and Mule Filmworks, created a Red Hook Summer Hang tag, and hand painted the shoe box to look like Sal’s Pizza box.
The Air Jordan “Son of Mars” before Van Monroe customized them. Image via: Nikeblog.com