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Posted by Ella McNicol

Kyle spends his time working in retail, creating art, and performing as the lead vocalist for local band Incentives. His appreciation for sneakers expanded beyond aesthetics when he studied footwear design at university; a career path he aspires to pursue professionally. Like most creatives trying to split their schedule between current employment and future aspirations, Kyle sustains his multiple endeavours with drive and a knack for time management.

So you’re lead vocals for ‘Incentives’. What kind of music do you make together?

We make heavy music. I’m not exactly sure what sub genre you’d classify us as but it involves lots of yelling and down-tuned guitars. I think other people that are into heavy music for the most part really enjoy it. It’s pretty raw and that’s not for everyone understandably, but we like to think it makes us a little bit unique in a fairly saturated scene.

You also did the cover artwork for your EP Dusk. Is it important for you to be involved in the art direction for the band?

I certainly enjoy it and always try to be as involved as possible. For better or worse, so much of a band’s success is based off their image, so it’s really important you try to get it right. With the album art I thought it would be cool for me to create it, as Max our guitarist did the video for the single ‘Better Off’. We obviously we wrote all our own songs, so it ended up being this project where we showcased more than just our music and that’s something I’m really proud of.

At university you studied and created footwear. Is this something you would like to pursue professionally?

I really do think it was a good learning experience, it changed the way I look at shoes and design in general. Being a young fella, I think everything was more just about making pretty looking things and I didn’t put a whole lot of thought into the design actually working or being practical. So the course really switched me on in regards to making shoes that not only look good, but also shoes that would feel good on foot. Sneaker design is certainly something I want to pursue and am actively doing so at the moment. I’ve quickly discovered it’s a super competitive field, so I’m just slowly grinding away and can hopefully pick up an opportunity soon.

How did your course contribute to both your art and interest in sneaker culture?

It pushed me to improve my digital skills such as using Photoshop and Illustrator. I now find myself doing a lot more digital stuff, whereas in the past I was almost exclusively just drawing on paper with pencil. If I want to keep going with the footwear design I need to be really strong in both of those aspects. In terms of my interest in sneaker culture; the course didn’t so much increase or decrease my interest but probably helped me develop more of an appreciation for everything else footwear has to offer. I had almost zero interest in anything outside of sneakers, football and basketball shoes going into the course, but throughout the year I started to appreciate all the other styles, which was absolutely needed.

What is your favourite silhouette?

I really don’t think I have one definitive favourite, but the Lebron 11 was the shoe that really got me super excited about shoe design.

You recently exhibited at ‘Deadstock’. Outside of your focus on shoes, do you have a preference for alternative subject matter?

Portraits are something that I’m always drawn back to. I’ve been doing them for years and just seem to find them fun I guess. But anything high detail is cool because it works well with realism.

What would you like to achieve professionally by the end of this year?

I really want to find a design job with a sneaker company by the end of the year. Even just getting a taste through internships would be pretty sweet, so hopefully I can achieve something along those lines.

How do you juggle your time between your creative ventures and simply making ends meet?

I’ve probably only just started to find it a bit tougher lately as I’ve been really pushing myself to do a whole heap of different artistic stuff. Splitting my time between work and then footwear design, the band and drawing has been slightly tricky, but it’s cool because I really enjoy it and am passionate about it. I think if you’re really into something you can always find time for it.

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This feature originally appeared in the June issue of Limit’d.

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