Fashion, News & Events

‘Cult Canvas’ really is sneaker art, check out the latest Sotheby’s auction

Need all of these.

words by: Matt Peng
Sep 23, 2020

Traditional auction houses have in recent months teamed up with influential cultural entities and collectors to bring extremely rare, historic and straight heat to auction lots. This intersection of art, fashion and culture through sneakers isn’t new, it’s been going on for decades – thanks to artists and designers who’ve always approached footwear as a blank canvas for personal expression. So the aptly named Cult Canvas lot from Sotheby’s that just opened yesterday is one that anyone who calls themselves a sneakerhead has to check out.


Whether or not you have the deep pockets needed to win a pair from this eight pair lot, it’s historic just to see these sneakers put together by some of the biggest names in the game. With Nike SB’s popularity reaching a new generation, take a look at some of the earliest grails. Jeff Staple’s infamous Pigeon SB that incited a New York City riot is being offered with his autograph. NY graffiti legend Futura’s FLOM “For Love or Money” SB is one of 24 in the world and is to this day, one of the most iconic silhouettes featuring banknote graphics throughout. The “What The Dunk” SB went on to influence many other Nike sneakers and product lines which got their own variations. A test/production sample of the super highly sought after Paris SB is up for grabs in a “money size” US8.5.


Original 1985 Air Jordan 1’s in a “Bred” colorway WITH the hang tag attached needs no introduction, especially in a rare US11.5 offering. Michael Lau’s SB, in my opinion one of the sickest concepts to ever come to life, arrives with a wood box and toy. The other two pairs I’ve only ever heard stories around. Firstly, the friends and family pair of the Piet Parra SB which features a deep turquoise upper and Parra stitched into the lateral toe box. And then there’s the Katsuya Terada Dunk Low from the White Dunk Exhibition that toured the globe in 2003 and gave us the iconic City Series of Nike SBs – this is one of 12 pairs in the world and my first time seeing it.


I expect everything to shatter Sotheby’s final closing estimates so nothing is in reach for me personally to add into my collection but please do yourself a favor and take a look at the roots of the culture, especially Nike SB culture. Head over to now to check it out. The auction will close on September 30.



Photos via Sotheby’s