Cody Hudson—artist, designer, and part owner of Longman & Eagle—recently collaborated with Nike to design "Chicago edition" shoes for this weekend's Bank of America Chicago Marathon, along with in-house installations for the recently reopened flagship store. A Kenosha, Wisconsin, native, Hudson's abstract, colorful work has appeared all over the city, including an exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art (one of the high points of his painting career, he says) and some public art projects in alleys and L stops.
For this weekend's marathon, you came up with two new "colorways" for Nike's LunarGlide+ 4 shoe. What was the inspiration?
The inspiration came from the general colors from the Chicago flag as well as the overall energy behind the marathon. It's something a lot of people will be able to recognize — the colors, the stars. And the metallic gold is for the personal accomplishment of being able to make it through the 26.2 miles.
Will you be running the marathon this year?
I would like to be able to say that I was, but I don't think my running skills are quite ready.
You tend to get invested in certain color palettes. Is there something that you're really fixed on?
I've been really caught up in this red, white and blue palette that I've been working on for last year and a half. When I work with color schemes, I tend to get into a color and really develop it. I try to spend enough time within a palette, at least in my head, until I start to feel like I understand the colors. Once I do, I move on.
By confining yourself to a certain color palette—or scraps of wood as with your found projects—are you trying to avoid having too much freedom? Can that be a bad thing?
If you've spent 20 years in the studio, you can start to do whatever you want. For some people that's a good thing. For me, it makes it more of a challenge to work with a certain amount of materials or a certain amount of colors. If I start with this pile of wood, by the end of the day I have to make something out of it. It's like this visual problem and your goal or job is to sort out. I like that as opposed to going in and doing whatever I want.
What is your involvement with Longman & Eagle?
There are four of us, and we each have different things that we specialize in. I tend to be more in control of the overall graphic, visual aesthetic—I do the graphic design, help place artwork—as well as just the general vibe of the place.
What was the initial intention for the aesthetic?
When we first started planning on opening it, we wanted to make a place in Logan Square where we'd want to hang out. We just wanted a great bar where we could have great food, have it look nice, and have people meet there. It started with that and got a lot more popular than we had expected.
In addition to his shoe on display at Nike, you can see more of his work next spring at the Andrew Rafacz gallery.
Photograph: Courtesy of Nike