Philly Designer King Saladeen on His Comet-Like Art and Fashion Evolution

From Nike shoes to Birkin bags to the Fitler Club, his mix of pop fine art and graffiti is turning up everywhere.

king saladeen

King Saladeen in his New Jersey studio. Photograph by Jauhien Sasnou

What I Make: “Art. That gets translated to all kinds of things — a sneaker drop with Nike and Garrixon, hand-painted Birkin bags, clothing with Champion, exotic cars, murals, paintings and figurines.”

How It’s Done: “I use acrylics, oils, spray paints. It varies by project. My 2019 shoes with Nike are handmade in Philly at Garrixon Studio using athletic mesh and suedes, with details like Velcro tongues with eye patches from my artwork.”

How I Began: “I’ve always loved art, and Philadelphia’s one of the biggest mural cities in the world. But I didn’t know any artists. So I played basketball, like kids in West Philly do, and doodled or painted alone. I kept it to myself until 2010, when I started selling art at First Fridays in Old City. In 2015, I got my first corporate opportunity.”

What Inspires Me: “My family: My son is two, and my daughter is five months. And being a kid from Philadelphia and believing in my vision, and knowing God blessed me with the right people on my journey. The person pushing me to make my art was my best friend, JP, who passed away from brain cancer. I created the JP the Money Bear figurines because of him, and I give money to Philly Fights Cancer.”

Best Recent Moment: “Hand-painting a Porsche Carrera GT for a car show. Before I tried to figure out how to live off of art, it was all just a dream. Now I can wake up and do what I want to — create something new.”

The Latest: “The ‘Dear Summer’ JP the Money Bear figurine ($425), and a clothing collaboration that’s in the works with Boyds.”

See It At: “My work is on the walls of the Fitler Club, on a mural outside of Boyds, and at the Philadelphia Airport.”

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