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An Interview with Papertoy Creator Erwan Chansou

March 17, 2021 10:30 AM
An Interview with Papertoy Creator Erwan Chansou

You may have seen the two Air Max Papertoys that were specially created for Sneakerjagers 10 Days of Air Max, and even made up the pair! If you haven't, you can download the FREE templates here and put them together now!

The creator of these fun Papertoys, Erwan Chansou, talks to us about where his passion for sneakers started and why he decided to create these templates for people to enjoy for free!

So Erwan, where did your passion for sneakers start?

I think it all started with my father. He always had a lot of shoes! As a young kid, I would stop in front of shops, point at some shoes and say 'I want the same shoes as dad'.
Getting into sneakers came later, when I saw Space Jam for the first time in ’97 or ’98. There is a very specific scene in the movie, in which MJ enters the court for the final game.
In that scene there is a strong shot of the AJXI Space Jam. Since then, I have been into basketball and sneakers.

What about your interest in Graphic Design? Where did that come from?

I studied Industrial Design in the hope of being able one day to design sneakers but the opportunities in this field are rather limited. I looked into Graphic Design along the way, which led me to Foot Locker, but that’s another story.

You're currently working for Foot Locker, how does it feel engaging with your passion on the work floor every day?

I need to start by thanking my buddy Marc, my former Manager. He’s the one who gave me the opportunity to start at Foot Locker.
Back in the day, he was the head of the Designers’ team. He had been working on putting together a contest for artists to make t-shirts and had seen my papertoys online. Marc added them to his briefing as an inspiration.
He reached out to me to let me know my work was being used in his brief. He asked me if I wanted to enter the contest. I said yes and sent him my design together with my resume as I was looking for an internship at this exact same time.
The planets were aligned, and it just worked out!
When it comes to combining my passion for sneakers and work there are obviously some pros and cons. It’s great to be around the product all year round. I love knowing what will come out in advance and what campaigns are being created.
However, I am well aware that I’m a bit of a purist, so the challenge for me is to make sure that I look at the product through the targeted audience’s eyes and not through my sneakerhead eyes.

Why free Papertoys?

Goodies have always been my thing. Whether it’s pins, patches, toys, or anything else, if it’s a small collectible linked to sneakers: I’m into it! I started making papertoys back in 2013, when a lot of Jordan 5s were coming back.
Of course, as a student, I couldn’t buy all the sneakers I wanted. Yet, creating and building the papertoys made me feel better about not getting the shoes. There was no way I was the only one feeling down because I couldn’t get my hands on some sneakers.
That’s why I made the paperboys free! It doesn’t replace the shoes but it’s still better than nothing!

You call yourself 'Gulliball' on Instagram, I'm interested to know where this came from?

This name was given to me by my basketball teammates. I couldn’t tell you why exactly but it stuck pretty good as I’ve been carrying it since I was 14 years old!

Thanks for making a couple of Air Max Papertoys for Nike Air Max Day! Can you share some Air Max gems in your collection?

One of the highlights of my collection has to be the Air Max 1 Elephant from 2017. However, it’s not the regular release, it’s the one that was part of a pack together with an Air Jordan 3.
This one has special details which I really like (Jumpman on the outsole, elephant print on the insole and lace tips)!

Another Air Max 1 I really appreciate is the Liberty of London collaboration from 2012. I think it was the first women’s exclusive colorway I ever bought. Almost 10 years later, I still enjoy wearing them every summer.

Last pair I’d like to talk about is the Air Max Plus Allure Blue from 2001. This pair was also a women’s exclusive. The colorway is made of a beautiful soft/pale blue fade.
This pair brings back so many memories that I can’t let them go, even though they are now unwearable.

What's your favourite Air Max of all time?

My favourite Air Max of all time is the Air Max Plus Pimento aka Tiger TNs. Younger, I would see many of the older guys wearing Tuned. The model was very popular in France.
They were the most expensive sneakers you could get back then, which gave people who wore them a “social status”. If you were wearing TNs, you were somebody! That marked me forever.

What about your overall favourite sneaker of all time?

With a Product Design background, the Presto (which was designed as a t-shirt for your feet) just makes sense to me. I especially love the fact that Nike pushed their concept far enough to use clothing sizes instead of footwear sizes.
That being said, my personal favourite sneaker of all time would be the Nike Air Presto Rainbow! I find the gradient mesmerizing. It’s also a colorway that’s very warm: it makes me think of summer and it puts a smile on my face!

You can check out Erwan's Instagram channel for more cool sneaker graphics and content, or go straight to his website for more sweet Papertoys!

And keep an eye on our blogs for more Air Max content in the Sneakerjagers 10 Days of Air Max!