Artist, athlete, and idea hunter Ian Pinckney is diversely dope by design. The int’l pro b-baller and avid creative community collaborator dishes on fashion design, photography, hoopin’, and world travel.

Ink Tone Swep 

Images, Looks, & Lines I.Q.P. 

Location Jinjiang, Fujian, China

I’m more likely to shoot a woman in a wedding dress surrounded by construction debris, than a field of doves and white roses.

Ian Pinckney

L&R MAG – Pro Athlete Profile
• Player: Ian Pinckney Team: Free Agent / Wildball Local League • Height: 6’3 • Position: Point Guard • Nation: China • 2k19 Stats: 34 pts, 12 Reb, 9 ast, 5 stls

Ian Pinckney | LOOT & RIOT Magazine SS19 Issue

Reflecting back to your childhood, what was your earliest memorable experience with clothing and fashion as recreation? What do you remember taking from the exposure?  

Early adolescence, before I could even walk, my mom had me in leather bombers with the matching hat, and Ralph Lauren ensembles were uniform. I vividly remember one outfit the most, though I had to be seven: a white and purple paisley button-up, purple jeans, and a pair of brown leather penny-loafers (Laughs!). I believe it really nurtured my vision and ability to style.

Ian Pinckney in Jinjiang, China

You grew up in Chicago, where playground legends like Billy “The Kid” Harris, Lamar Mundane, Brian Leach, Ronnie Fields, and Michael Herman were equally as popular as the players from the city who made it to the NBA, ballers like Mark Aguirre, Isiah Thomas, Tim Hardaway, Dwyane Wade, and Derrick Rose. Even the areas within Chicago that are known for being b-ball havens like LaClaire, South Side, Navy Pier, and West Side are nationally known. Talk about growing up as a skilled athlete who was able to participate in the blacktop culture. 

Man those are all legends! Growing up I was always more athletic than other kids, and although I got exposed to organized basketball late, the playground was where I got my feet wet. It allowed me to just play, no over-thinking, no worries; still to this day it remains a mental pillar for me, when I need to get back to my roots or bring myself home, those memories ground me.


You were a standout high school and college player. How puzzling a challenge was it for you to play street ball, where one-on-one skills rule, and then also play organized team ball where structured play was required?

The biggest adjustment for me was coaching. People rarely realize how important a coach and system is to a player’s career. Depending on the system you play in whether college or pro, you will either be allowed to still play your game with structure, or they may attempt to clip your wings and change the player you are. I’ve experienced both.

How have basketball, and Chicago, and hip-hop culture influenced your play, your approach to design, your careers in both?

The city raised me so I definitely have that grit to me that Chicago guards possess. I grew up playing against and learning from a lot of tough players so I had no choice but to follow suit. As far as culture goes, I feel like Chicago molds you into what you need to be to flourish in life. Although it is very segregated, it is also very diverse, so the mixing pot strategy is something that transfers organically to everything I do. Be it my game, personal style, or designing, I take a little flavor from everything and add it to my own.

Ian Pinckney in LOOT & RIOT Magazine’s SS19 Issue

You have lived and worked, and thus created, in several cities around the world. Share some of  your favorite places with us. How did they inspire you?

Live-work wise, I have a couple. Bucharest is a gem with a lot of sauce to it. London – even with the gloomy weather – I love the pace; and Hamburg was a lot of fun to experience. Living in Germany played a huge role in my creativity for a couple reasons: I had a lot of time to myself, to explore, learn, reflect, and grow. It was also my first taste of European living so the vibe was a breath of fresh air which drastically expanded my horizons.

Most recently, China has been your creative stomping grounds. How are you loving the various cities and what is most unique about the nation?

I love it here in China. The the day-to-day way of living and social structure are very unique compared to other places I’ve lived. I originally thought it was the actual people, but the more I observe I learn that people are people. I notice a lot of the same behavior I saw growing up in Chicago, being away at college, living in Europe; humans are freakishly similar (Laughs!).


Much of your work incorporates architecture, urban decay, and industrial warehousing as backdrops. Why?

It gives me a more dynamic canvas to paint on. Again, layers. I’ve always had a fixation with architecture, and the stages of it, both creation and destruction. I also love playing with texture and contrast. I’m more likely to shoot a woman in a wedding dress surrounded by construction debris, than a field of doves and white roses.

As Asian nation’s go, Japan is the most accepted as both an art collaborator – like Nigo and Pharrell – and also a travel destination for tourists. Does China have similar potential?

I believe so, especially Hong Kong. Although it isn’t mainland China, it’s still China. H-K is beautiful so it already attracts avid travelers. It’s a lot more advanced as far as fashion, art and lifestyle goes. With the right people participating, I feel it could curate a similar buzz and appreciation that Japan has had for a long time.

Ian Pinckney in LOOT & RIOT

Photography is also a creative space in which you participate. What do you capture? How does it add to your overall design aesthetic?

I love to capture life, as cliché as that sounds, living beings give me a lot of inspo. Started with nature: flowers, scenery; then people, lifestyle, art. There are so many layers to life, me seeing the most random object, or smallest detail, will spark an idea for something else.

I was boutique hopping in  West LA recently and saw a Givenchy sweater I liked for $1200. Was it worth it?

Sheesh! I doubt it. I would have to see the sweater, more importantly feel the fabric. Fashion is tricky, in some cases you pay for quality, in a lot of cases you’re usually paying for a name. Needless to say, I’ll always be a fan of sales and friends with employee discounts (Laughs!).

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