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Shotopop contributed to Nike's refurbishing of a court for Evgeniy Kafelnikov Tennis Academy in Sochi with a mural of Maria Sharapova, who taught herself to play on the grounds. "I lived here as a girl for five years so my tennis memories all come back to this court and this wall," she said at the unveiling. "It's such a special occasion to be back here. Both as a part of this global moment [the Winter Olympics] and to be able to come back to where it all started for me."

Working with innovation company AKQA, Shotopop conceived the design featuring a young Sharapova at left and larger-than-life rendition at right in front of snowcapped mountains. The text spanning the 15-meter-wide piece reads: "This is more than a line on a wall. It's where a little girl hit her first thousand tennis balls. It's daring to go further. It's defying the doubters. It's deciding what you want. Then doing something about it. This is not just a line on a wall. It's where legends are made."
AKQA associate creative director Toby Burnett called Shotopop "a fantastic partner – we had a very tight deadline. Everyone at AKQA and Nike already loved the Shotopop style, but to see it that big on the refurbished tennis court was not only rewarding for us, but something that the Sharapova family said they were very proud to have in their hometown."

Shotopop was unable to travel to Sochi ahead of the Games, so the current mural came from a 36GB Photoshop file. "Each element is hand-drawn, then scanned in and vectorized, colored, and we added a lot of textures," explained director Casper Franken. "In several weeks, we'll be off to Sochi to install the permanent version. We're going to stencil it all on, then use paint to fill in gaps and do some shading and splattering. We plan to document the entire process."


Sam Summerskill

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