ON OUR SLEEVES | Local artist Hakim Callwood explains design, inspiration behind custom cleats for Crew players

hakim - cleat - 10.6.20 - web

Local artist Hakim Callwood explained how it is no accident as to how he got involved with Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s On Our Sleeves campaign.

A native of Columbus, Callwood, 25, is by all means still a young artist. With the territory, he admitted, there often comes the pressure of taking on projects that don’t always encompass his complete personality.

That, however, is not the situation he found himself in when Nationwide Children’s Hospital asked him to be involved with their On Our Sleeves campaign, a movement launched on World Mental Health Day 2018 dedicated to breaking the silence surrounding children’s mental health.

“It seems as if it’s no accident really,” he said.

Callwood said while he can’t predict his work will solve one’s problems, it will provide that important first step.

“I don’t know if it’ll solve your problem, but it can at least point you in the right direction to at least be able to communicate,” Callwood said.

So, exactly what is Callwood’s involvement in the On Our Sleeves campaign?

On Wednesday, Oct. 7, three Crew SC players will wear Callwood’s custom-designed cleats featuring On Our Sleeves messaging.

From modifying the cleat’s surface, to the specific types of paint used, to ensuring the boot’s structural integrity, Callwood explained how it was a novel experience.

“The process was interesting. This is my first time painting on cleats, so I did a lot of research…trying to figure out what is the best process,” Callwood said.

“The design process was with On Our Sleeves campaign through Nationwide [Children’s Hospital] for kids’ mental health. So, they sent me the icons they use normally, and I took them and adjusted to how they would fit around a shoe.

“What was cool about it was, since it’s a kids’ mental health thing, I was able to do kid-friendly art. I was really trying to communicate with them.”

Being his first encounter with this type of project, Callwood said he treated the design process as he does all of his art, like a problem in need of being solved.

“Art itself is problem-solving. The problem is ‘I want to make this’ and you solve it by what medium, what style, angle, and that prepares you for what the gig is.”

As Callwood confronted the cleat design as a problem assigned to him, the “solution” he provides is one that should be shared.

“I think that just because you don’t have an overwhelming mental health problem as a child does not mean there shouldn’t be an awareness,” Callwood said.

“I would say growing up, I didn’t have that same awareness, I didn’t have that same emotional intelligence I have now on that topic. It’s real cool to see that there’s a campaign out there…to make sure that kids and their parents and their loved ones understand that this is an important topic to talk about.”

At the core of the On Our Sleeves movement is conversation; giving something seemingly hidden, like one’s emotions, a voice.

Though he may not have been able to articulate it at a young age, Callwood said he experienced the same feelings growing up and, thus, making his involvement all the more personal.

“I was going through things when I was a kid and I just didn’t know the proper verbiage or anything like that,” he said.

“I feel like if somebody else is going through this, or maybe your kid is, and you see this campaign…it could lead you to that proper verbiage. I don’t know if it’ll solve your problem, but it can at least point you in the right direction to at least be able to communicate.”

More information on Hakim Callwood can be found at his website, www.HakimsArtNStuff.com.

For more information on Nationwide Children Hospital’s On Our Sleeves campaign, visit www.OnOurSleeves.org.

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