The Online Companion to Mount Michael Student Publications

The Freelance

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The Art of Painting Shoes

One of the many customizations that Kim has done, the Nike Cortez ‘Mint Blossom KSJ’.

One of the many customizations that Kim has done, the Nike Cortez ‘Mint Blossom KSJ’.

One of the many customizations that Kim has done, the Nike Cortez ‘Mint Blossom KSJ’.

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As an avid sneaker collector and wearer, I have many ideas about different shoe colors. Otherwise known as ‘colorways’, a different array of colors are available for people to choose from. Usually there is a certain set that looks perfect on any shoe, and these colors are used in almost every model of a shoe. Such matches are red and black, white and blue, white and gold, all-white, all-black and so on. However, there are certain times when the colors offered to you to choose from doesn’t really look appealing.

The culture of customizing footwear started developing because of these reasons. It also was a tool to express your innate artistic perspectives. No matter what the material of the shoe was, and no matter what tool you used customization instantly became a big part of sneaker culture today.

With drawing random things being an hobby of mine along with my sneaker collecting customization instantly became a large portion of spending my free time. I purchased leather paint online and watched tutorials about painting techniques.

I wanted to differentiate myself from others, however. Some people merely painted shoes in a concept based off of a movie or for a specific sports team. I wanted to incorporate different ideas or philosophies I have when it comes to artwork. For example, the custom that I did on a pair of Nike Cortez’s might look like speckled dots of mint on a black irregular stripe. What I wanted to depict in this shoe was a blend of different cultures. The color mint was used to describe spring. The black stripe is actually a cherry blossom tree which only blooms its flowers in pink. Usually flowers bloom in a magenta-sided color scheme in order to attract insects. Having flowers in mint is unnatural but it does not in the customized shoe, because the SWOOSH, or the Nike logo, is also covered in mint. What I wanted to describe was a non matching concept blended in by something else to create harmony.

There are some people in the sneaker community who doesn’t appreciate customization. They say that it ‘ruined a perfectly a good shoe’ and that it gets rid of its own look. To me that is the exact point of customizing. To ruin a perfectly good shoe that fits your taste. Customizing is making your own original sneaker concept and a way to express yourself.

I have learned so much through customizing, such as different types of leather and materials used on shoes. Owning shoes and comparing shoes between each other I developed the ability to find what looks best when I paint something.

Customizing has become one of my favorite time killing hobbies to do, and it increases my brush stroke skills as well. Get a pair of shoes that are completely beat up, and try reforming them to make them one of a kind.

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The Online Companion to Mount Michael Student Publications
The Art of Painting Shoes