Back to the Future shoe in Edmonton for art show inspired by the pop culture artifact

An iconic Nike Mag shoe from the Back to the Future movies will be front and centre at an Edmonton art show and fundraiser for the iHuman Youth Society.

Nike produced just 89 Nike Mag shoes, with power laces, in 2016

Sean Paul Arceta holds a Nike Mag shoe that's on loan from a collector in the United States for the upcoming Magnus Opus exhibition, which features paintings of the Back to the Future classic footwear. (Peter Evans/CBC)

With just 89 pairs in circulation, the Nike Mag sneaker comes close to being a one-of-a-kind shoe — the fact the runners have self-lacing technology helps, too.

The shoe is a grey high-top that made a screen debut in Back to the Future II, when Marty McFly dons the kicks to travel to the future. The film came out in 1989 and, 27 years later, Nike produced less than 100 Mag sneakers that were distributed through a raffle.

And now, a coveted pair is in Edmonton.

They'll be front and centre this Saturday at the MAGnum Opus art show, featuring the work of Sean Paul Arceta, whose fascination with the classic '80s film has sparked an entire collection of paintings. The paintings all feature the high-tech runners worn by Marty McFly, the teen hero played by Edmonton-born Michael J. Fox. 

Iinspired by the futuristic sneakers Nike Mags, Local Artist Sean Paul Arceta, talkes about the shoe and his art. 2:16

The proceeds from the show, and a portion of the sales from his art, will benefit the iHuman Youth Society, where Arceta works as a registered social worker.

But before Arceta was a social worker and an artist, he was a five-year-old kid with a VCR and a copy of Back to the Future.

"I'd rewind the tape to watch my favourite scene, like when the DeLorean would come out of Doc Brown's truck," Arceta said.

"The sounds, the jingles, the music...everything was timed so well and I fell in love with it. The story is such a timeless movie and to me, it's the best time travel movie."

When Arceta became a dad himself, the pop culture memories of his childhood flooded back. He attended a comic expo in Calgary, where he saw re-makes of iconic pieces from the film, such as the DeLorean, the time machine/car with gull-wing doors and a look that could have only been considered futuristic in 1985.

One day last year, when he sat down in front of a canvas at the iHuman visual arts studio, one of the youth gave him some sage advice: "Maybe you should paint something you like."

As a long time B-boy, or break-dancer, Arceta has an arts background and even toured north America with the group, Red Power Squad. But he had never painted before. His first piece was of the Nike Mag.  
Sean Paul Arceta's artwork. (Peter Evans/CBC)

At iHuman, youth are encouraged to express themselves through art, and many don't realize they're artists until they're given the opportunity to create something, Arceta said.

He experienced something similar. 

"That was the fun part, experimenting and not thinking I need to produce something but just to enjoy the process of it."

Each of his paintings feature the Nike Mag, often mixed with other images from '80s pop culture.

The show is happening Saturday afternoon at Sugar Swing, near Whyte Avenue, and will feature music, food, and dance performances.