Words by James Nunn | Film & Photography by Lee Pretious & Tom Anderson-Hall
My name is James Nunn. I am an artist and illustrator working in Bath in the UK. I’ve been a runner for the last 20 years. I’m slow and steady but it’s as much a part of my life as sleeping and eating. Since I was a child I have always used the natural world as the subject for my work and running most days throughout the changing seasons helps to keep me connected to that world, to understand it and to appreciate my place in it.
The act of running, and the necessity of it for my work, is a little bit like dreaming. It’s the waking equivalent of sleeping on decisions and problems. Things are always clearer after a run. It’s not so much that I think about my work when I’m running, I just allow a combination of the rhythm of the run, my breathing, my footfall and the environment wash over me. Somehow random connections are made, new approaches emerge and pathways open up. Countless times I’ve got back to my desk after a run with a new way to proceed with a piece of work.
The Zen Running Club project was the perfect opportunity to combine my work with my love of the natural world and running in it. I guess because those things are so integral to my life, the concept presented itself very quickly. I focussed on ways to represent the values of ZRC and the kind of world we want to run in. It was a simple case of depicting the plants that make up the shoe and to build a world out of all of that foliage to make a verdant healthy place where the shoes on our feet don’t harm the world we run in. I cut the little lino figures and printed them on a big blank sheet in random places, at random angles and then drew the natural architecture around them with pen and ink until they seemed to come to life running in and out and between the plants from which the Zen Running Club shoes are made. Ultimately, when you open the box on your new shoes that world should spill out with the promise of a more sustainable future and the good decisions that will get us there. I hope you like the drawing and I wish you many happy miles in your shoes. Go Well.