Haven't made a post in a while so I thought i'd give some insight to everyone on how I got into making customized shoes. I've had the idea of blogging this for a minute now and since I haven't posted in a while (currently working on some new material that's not yet ready at the moment) this seems like a good time to do so.

The year was 2002. As a fashion-crazed youngun' flipping through an issue of The Source, I came across this article and picture:

The picture is of two guys who started a company called Remix Da Kickz. Two NY guys who made a name for themselves by customizing Nike Air Force Ones. I remember being in awe of seeing pics of their custom sneakers sitting along side some matching throwbacks (this was during the time of the throwback jersey trend). As a guy who's big into fashion (which seems to be rare here in Philly, but that's another blog) and into matching my clothing from head to toe, The first thing that came to my mind was "Where can I buy these shoes?". I had a lot of throwback jerseys at the time and wanted some of these sneakers to match them. But then later on I thought about me having a background in art (self-taught artist to be exact) and instead of wanting to buy these shoes, I instead thought "How can I MAKE these shoes?". So I spent months of researching the right paints and materials to use, along with months of trial and error trying to get the technique down right. My first few pair were pretty so-so, some even terrible, but it was something I knew early on I wanted to pursue. My passion for customizing sneakers developed quickly.

(my first few custom sneakers)

I managed to find an old pic of the first few customs I ever did (seen above). The yellow & blue ones in the upper right hand corner are THE very first ones I made. You can't tell on the pic, but the paint job was horrible (used the wrong stuff on them) but I was proud of them at the time even though they cracked horribly after like 2-3 wears! but as time went on I continued researching until I found the right formulas as well as kept practicing and developing my craft. Never once asked anyone what to do or how to do it, I pretty much learned everything on my own (especially since sneaker customizing was still pretty new at that time I had no choice but to teach myself).

As time went on my craft continued to improve. Here's some more pics of my early work:

(my first throwback jersey matchup)

(another early pair)

(a pair I made for my sister)

As time went on I felt confident enough to do shoes for other people. I would make shoes for friends and family on occasion but still mostly did stuff for myself.

Fast forward to 2010. Ecentrik Shoe Artistry is in full effect (I actually came up with the name in 2008 but didn't create the website until sometime in 2009). It's kinda funny to look at old pics of my early work and see how my work has changed/evolved since then (and still continues to). I still feel like i'm a work in progress (which is natural as I think we as people all are).

Some recent work:

One of my main motivations for this blog post is to show that if you have a passion for something and want to be successful at it, perseverance is the key. The old saying "practice makes perfect" holds true. Am I exactly where I want to be career wise and skill wise? No, not yet, but I know I will get there as I have made significant progress and continue to do so. Like I said we're all works in progress and if you're dedicated to what you want to do then the sky's the limit.

Before I wrap up here I wanna shoutout all the custom shoe artists who inspired me & continue to do so as well as some of the ones I highly respect: Remix Da Kickz, Methamphibian, SBTG, Sweatshop Clothing, Mizzee Customs, Emmanuelabor, Yoa Kustoms, and a few others I may have forgotten. Some of the ones I mentioned I know personally, some of them I don't, but either way...I salute you!

And on that note, gotta get back in the lab and finish working on some new product. Expect a ton of stuff from Ecentrik Shoe Artistry this summer!