Revisiting a Classic Release: The 2005 Mr. Cartoon Air Force 1 Pack
Mark "Mr. Cartoon" Machado has forged a distinct personal art style over the years since his days of air-brushing cars and t-shirts at just 12 years old. With such tenure in the game, it is clear how he managed to develop such an impressively intricate style of fine-line tattoo work that is sought after by those from all different walks of life.
The LA based tattoo artist teamed up with Nike in early 2005 to release a series of four Air Force 1 Lows featuring beautifully laser etched renditions of his signature, internationally renowned tattoo designs.
The first of the four to release came in the form of an extremely limited pair that was decked in the colours of his hometown baseball team; the LA Dodgers. This pair features an all grey leather upper with navy blue overlays, distinctive laser etched spider-web patterning on the toebox, and a city skyline with a fedora-wearing skull on the mid panels. "LA" is stylistically embroidered at the heel to top off this limited 1/100 hyperstrike release. This pair saw a more widely available quickstrike release a few months down the line where the toebox lasering was replaced with Machado's clown logo. (see a comparison of the two pairs below - courtesy of @sneakerdenn)
The next pair in the pack brought the main focus back to Mr. Cartoon's Mexican-American heritage with a vibrant full-patent leather upper representing the colours of the Mexican flag, the Mexican coat of arms adorning the tongue and more "LA" embroidery on the heel panels. This pair was released to commemorate the popular celebratory Mexican holiday, Cinco de Mayo.
The final pair of the pack, released towards the end of the year, was dubbed "Brown Pride". This pair sees the Air Force 1 Low decked out in a clean two-tone beige and brown leather upper with a clean patent leather swoosh, and more of that beautiful laser etched fine-line tattoo style artwork across the overlays, forming a clown face at the heel. This pair saw a special release across participating WSS retailer locations where limited quantities of Mr. Cartoon branded Nike t-shirts bearing his clown face logo were given out. Deadstock pairs of this shoe that also come with the t-shirt are increasingly difficult to come by nowadays, however we have managed to come into a pair that still has the unworn t-shirt and card after almost two decades - purchase here. Having this pair in-hand, I can confidently say the quality and flawless condition really impressed me - it's really a pair that is best appreciated in person.
While these 4 pairs are the only ones released as part of the original 2005 pack, it would be inappropriate not to mention the vibrant yellow and black LIVESTRONG pair that released in 2009 which acted as a call-back to the extremely limited original 2005 hyperstrike release pair. This pair, released in collaboration with Lance Armstrong's non-profit cancer-fighting foundation as part of a much sought after pack in its own right, clearly displayed the great impact of Mr. Cartoon's original 2005 pack of 4.