Tyree “REE” Dillihay (@sneadsbyree) is a favorite among sneakerheads. The creator of “SN’EADS,” the satirical comic exploring kicks culture is the ultimate sneaker head and a seriously innovative artist. The director of Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers” has more than his comic up his sleeves.
He recently chatted with us for our Q&A series and let us in on his favorite kicks – from Puma to Jordan – his inspiration and how a series of bad experiences and big breaks led him to his life as an artist.
First memory of kicks:

The suede Pumas in 3rd grade. Seeing a 3rd grader take a toothbrush to his shoes and then being influenced at that very moment to understand that “STAYING FRESH IS A MUST.” But the shoe that turned me out was the Air Jordan 3. Mars Blackmon. Michael Jordan. Best on Earth. Best on Mars. Campaign was the ILLEST. I bought those shoes first because of Spike Lee and second because of Michael Jordan. To me, it was the best black filmmaker teaming up with the best athlete on earth. Been a fiend ever since.

I read about how you started drawing in the church, but tell me what it is about art that drew your dreams away from the cut throat life as a lawyer and into the expressive beauty of animation and illustration?

I’m a right and left brained artist. Have you ever met or seen an artist that can’t explain his work in words? It’s terrible. lol. But fortunately I’m not one of them. I grew up writing scripts, drawing, airbrushing, playing basketball, and making beats. I was a creative renaissance kid before I even knew what the term was. CREATE. That’s all I wanted to do all day. Thank god for my mother and my grandparents. They just kept encouraging me to do me. As I got older, I had honestly lost my way for a few years. I had a bad experience with art that I won’t go too deep into that kinda soured me on art for a while. So, I decided to explore the “sports chamber” of my brain for a minute and played basketball in junior college. Then, after a bad experience with basketball, I transferred to Cal State Northridge (CSUN) and decided to major in English. It was there, I also discovered that I liked to debate which basically means I love arguing, so law was a logical step for me.

How did you make the jump from English and law to an art career?

Senior year I discovered that I could take art electives so I elected to take animation and figure drawing. Long story short, I ended up making an animated film that made school history as the 1st animated film to win Best of Show at the annual CSUN art show. I put my film, HIPHOPOLIS, out on AtomFilms.com and didn’t think much of it as I prepared to take law school entrance exams. Three months outs of college, DISNEY TV sees my film online and I get a phone call to come work for them as a development artist. I take a leap of faith and abandon law for art. And here I am. A decade in the game.

Earliest Art influences?

Cartoons … too many to name. I grew up on all the classics. But it was MAD Magazine that probably had the biggest influence on me. And later, Bloom County comic strip. I used to collect those. I had a photo album full of Bloom County strips that I’d cut out of the newspaper everyday. That’s a lot of days! MAD came out every month so I was on those religiously. Mort Drucker was the man. Reading the funny satirical skits shaped my sense of humor very early. I can easily turn something pop culture related into something funny that connects because of all those years reading MAD.

How did your love of kicks flourish into the “SN’EADS” comic strip?

Basically I was just trying to put all my passions into a project. When I was casually looking at sneaker websites for my “sneaker porn” it dawned on me that the only artistic interpretation of the sneaker beside customizing was the sneaker itself. Dave White was the only one taking sneakers to a kind of low brow “fine art” level if you will. Then other other artists started doing some different things like sculpture etc. So I dug deeper and saw nobody did any sneaker comics or cartoons. Then the light bulb went off. I could express my passion about sneakers using what I learned about in MAD Magazine which was satire. All communities, from gaming to comics to anything have these inside jokes, topics and stories that only they can relate to. That’s essentially what I do. I bring these topics and sometimes these truths to light.

You’re currently directing for “Bob’s Burgers” on Fox, what else do you want to bring to the screen?

Oh God. I have so much I want to do. I would love to bring HIPHOPOLIS back as an animated feature or maybe a 1 hour special. I’m trying to bring episodes to SN’EADS to the people as we speak. I’ve been in talks with a few companies…it’s a delicate dance. I have a time limit though, and soon I’ll be dancing alone if nobody moves. Kickstarter is an option. Hopefully sneakerheads will show they’re support and not cop shoes for one week and donate to my cause.

Best pick up this year so far?

Multicolor Nike Flynknit Racer SP  (Euro release). I love those damn shoes. I need MORE pairs.

Cartoon (other than your own) that you still watch:

“Gumball,” “Adventure Time” and “The Legend of Korra.” Those are very different cartoons but I can appreciate the storytelling style and characterization in all of them equally.