This Artist Gets His Kicks By Creating Gas Masks Out Of An Unlikely Recycled Material

You'll never look at this accessory the same again.

In order to reach new heights as an artist, Gary Lockwood had to start at the bottom. 

"Initially, my taste for shoes reflected the staples of the (hip-hop) culture — Adidas shell toes, Timberland boots, a few Nike and Saucony trainers," the bonafide hip-hop head, also known as Freehand Profit, tells A Plus. "As sneakers became my medium, my taste and knowledge expanded."

The outcome was MASK365, Lockwood's year-long, daily creative project he started in 2010.

"MASK365 was like an artistic boot camp, creating every day, making time for my art every day, and possibly, most importantly, failing way more often," Lockwood recalls when he first started the project while working as a designer for a Los Angeles print shop and independent rap label.



But soon, something else grew out of the installation that essentially put him on the map as an artist. Born from the MASK365 project, Lockwood began creating gas masks made from recycled sneakers to not only reflect hip-hop's first art form — graffiti — but also to symbolize modern-day societal ills.

"A world at war, civil unrest, environmental destruction, police militarization, and brutality," he says. "In all of these instances, the gas mask becomes a mascot of sorts."

Hellafant Gas Mask; Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Hellafant Gas Mask; Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

Since creating his first sneaker gas mask in November 2010, Lockwood has gone on to create more than 125, "each unique and one of a kind." 

As he works on creating new designs, which include "a great white shark gas mask made from Nike Air Mags (and) a pit bull gas mask made from Doernbecher Jordan 6s," the sneaker aficionado continues showing the beauty of being brave enough artistically to dive into one's vision without fear of failing.

Photo credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo credit: Gary Lockwood

“We have such an aversion to failure these days,” Lockwood says, “but you have to throw out a lot of bad ideas, and even some good ones, before you discover something really great.”

Check out some of our favorites:

1. Air Max 95 OG Neon Animal Gas Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

2. Lebron XI Gas Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

3. Air Max 1 Liquid Gas Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood


4. Jordan Doernbecher 5 Gas Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

5. Asics Gel Lyte III Princess Mononoke Gas Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

6. PSNY 12 Reshoevn8r Gas Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

7. 5Lab3 Ironman Helmet War Machine SF

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

8. Golden Yeezy II Horus Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

9. Tiff Dunk Low Skull Mask

Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood
Photo Credit: Gary Lockwood

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