Sneaker Freaker asked me to write a how-to article on painting shoes, but since I’ve been-there-done-that, I figured this would be a good opportunity to touch on some of the challenges that I faced as a custom sneaker artist. Hopefully it’ll help you youngsters out there who are thinking of taking a crack at the custom sneaker biz!
I got into graffiti in 1993 and racking spray paint and painting all over the city became my top priorities. I would run around all night in San Francisco’s dirtiest crevices painting my name, and ink would get on my hands, clothes, and shoes in the process. Keeping my sneakers looking fresh was impossible at the time, so shoes only served a functional purpose. However, around 2001 sneakers changed the course of my life. A friend who liked my lettering style asked me to write his name on a sneaker and I got some money. Instant dollar signs clouded my vision and somewhat naively, I figured that I could make easy money by painting customs.