Injinji’s Artist Designed series includes socks intentionally designed by talented creatives who find inspiration in the natural world. Each pair of Artist Designed socks tells a story, tying into a theme chosen by the artist. The designs are created exclusively for Injinji, and the socks are Limited Edition—so don’t wait to stock up!
The Walk Like A Nomad collection is the second in the Artist Designed series and was created by Florida-based Artist Sandro Young. In this interview, Sandro shares about his creative process and how this collection came to be.
Interview With The Artist: Sandro Young
Tell us about yourself.
Hi! I’m Sandro, an extra terres….er…..human who resides in sunny and eclectic Jacksonville, Florida. I’m a dad, husband, dog dad, and artist (in that order). I grew up playing sweet deep jams in garage bands with my friends and getting buckets in the driveway, but nowadays you can find me enjoying as much fresh air and saltwater as possible.
I was born in a small town in southern Minnesota, and my parents moved closer to the Twin Cities when I was a toddler. I thought I would live there forever, but I met my wife on a trip to Jacksonville and the rest was history. I’ve lived here for just under half my life, so it feels like home is in both places. I’m happiest spending time with my family close to the ocean, or watching the pink sunset reflect off the river by my house. I firmly believe that simple everyday moments are to be appreciated and cherished, so I try to soak up as many of them as possible.
Can you share about your design process for this collection?
My art aesthetic is informed by two main things: joy and nature. I focus on themes and feelings that are warm, inviting, and easily interpreted. For this collection I was inspired by the simple act of walking, something that I enjoy deeply. It’s the physical activity I engage in the most. It’s free, requires no training, and can transport you into a different mindset. I especially love the walking animals, because after all, we are all creatures moving about the planet in our own way.
One of my go-to designs is a character or animal walking, so I felt like it would be a perfect fit for this collection. My first task was to brainstorm animals and their corresponding habitat. Once I had my list, I sketched each animal before drawing on the computer. After all the animals were drawn, I was able to place them into patterns along with elements from their home (ie palm trees, cacti, etc).
You chose the Walk Like A Nomad Theme, are there specific places or memories you thought of when creating these?
I had a lot of fun drawing based on the very diverse places I’ve called home. I went from living in a very cold tundra to a subtropical coastal town, so memories of both places and environments were in my mind while I was drawing.
Which design from the collection is your favorite and why?
Subtropical is my personal favorite. It was drawn based off what I see out my window every day (maybe sans the large scaly reptile).
If you had to choose a song or album to accompany this series, which would you choose?
I’ve been listening to the album “Mahal” by Toro Y Moi a lot while I work, and it’s also a great album for movin’ and groovin’ down the trail, so let’s go with that one.
How did you get into illustration and design, and what has been the most fulfilling aspect of being an artist professionally?
I was 26, already married with two kids, up against a wall professionally, and needing an escape. I never considered myself an artist coming up, but once I started sketching it just started pouring out of me. It began as a side hustle, but over time it became the main thing. Art is less an occupation and more an extension of my body, like another limb. There are hard days no doubt, just like any other job, but there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing for work. I get to play in the creative sandbox and conquer new puzzles each day, which is super rewarding.
How has being a dad changed you creatively?
Oh my goodness. It changed everything! It’s the reason I’m an artist. It provided both the inspiration and motivation to dig in and make this work. Also, my kids are my favorite artists on Earth, and their ability to create out of nothing is something I’m both jealous of and inspired by constantly.
What’s your favorite way to spend time outside?
I can only pick one?! Ok if I have to pick one it would be sitting somewhere quiet. And not just because I’m lazy! When I sit in one place with nature all around me I’m able to learn through the stillness. Both about the living things around me and my own brain.
Do you have a motto or mantra that you live by in your creative life?
My favorite saying is, “You can’t climb the smooth side of the mountain.” Adversity, when approached correctly, only serves to make you stronger and more confident moving forward.
If people would like to follow your journey, where can they find you?
Is there anything else you’d like to share with us?
Just wanted to say thanks to Injinji for the opportunity and go take a walk outside. It’s good for you!