For the most part everything posted on PaintOrThread.com has been a hand made custom shoe. Created by hand through a form of painting or deconstructing and reconstructing with a few other minor techniques in between. Generally shoes are not posted that were created from any big brand online or in-store customization programs such as NikeID, miAdidas, YourReebok or Vans Customs. The reason being that shoe customization is truly its own art form that takes an understanding of the footwear’s features to end up with a quality finished piece of wearable art. This brand is somewhere in the middle.

Sometime in 2010 we stumbled across a shop called The Ave Venice. Upon their Facebook page a pair of custom Converse Chuck Taylors with a persons face on the sides was showcased. Amazed by the details, this warranted a quick click to their website which introduced a completely new technique seen in custom shoes. The Ave Venice was started in 2010 by Nick Romero who modified a digital t-shirt printer, through a patented process, to be able to print on shoes. First it was the aforementioned Converse All Stars and later on Vans Slip Ons were added to the selection. Starting with a blank pair of canvas sneakers, a picture or some sort of graphic design add the printer and minutes later the shoes are finished. How is this in the middle of sneaker customizers and something like NikeID? Because technically no one is making them by hand and they can be “mass produced” but at the same time each pair could be a design that took some Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator skills. Plus the fact of the ingenuity it took Nick and his team to create the customization process was altering an original concept is right up any sneaker customizers alley. The long hours obviously aren’t behind every shoe but there still is a level of individuality which is what most all sneaker customizers pride themselves in. Today though this brand might get a big kick start.

Tonight at 8pm EST Nick and The Ave Venice will be featured on the ABC’s Shark Tank in hopes of making the brand and business bigger. In front of 5 “sharks”, more realistically known as five wealthy investors, and millions watching at home, Nick and his team will attempt to pitch his business to gain funding. Two notable sharks to PaintOrThread readers are Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and FUBU creator Daymond John Success is having just one of the sharks interested enough to provide investment, insight, guidance, mentor-ship, connections and more in return for a certain percentage of the company’s equity. Failing may be considered not having one shark interested but success is still gained through millions of people being introduced to the company and who knows, maybe a possible investor somewhere down the road. Considering some brands and products that received investments from the sharks the The Ave Venice hopefully won’t go home empty handed.

Checkout more about and buy designs created at The Ave Venice via their website: TheAveVenice.com

Where The Wild Things Are Vans Slip Ons:

Sugar Skull Converse All Star Chuck Taylors:

Breaking Bad Converse All Stars worn by the shows actor Bryan Cranston: