PaintOrThread 1st Shoe Customizer Group Interview

Each customizer that has work posted up on PaintOrThread usually has a pretty unique personality. The goal of this website is to give you an inside look to shoe customizing that you will not find just behind a photo of custom shoes. One way I’ll be getting that behind the scenes look is to conduct a regular Shoe Customizer Group Interview, made up of one question and a slew of shoe customizers thoughts. The first question was: “What is something you dislike or do not enjoy about customizing shoes?” Check out the all eighteen responses.

Mallory Musante of MUSA Custom Shoes: That is a tough question to answer because I absolutely love customizing shoes.  If I had to choose though, I would say that prepping the shoes would be my least favorite part.  I enjoy painting and seeing the designs come to life much more than prepping them to be painted.

Elom Bowman of Eccentrik Shoe Artistry: Honestly there’s not too much that I don’t like about customizing.  The only thing I can really think of would probably the prepping/preparation process of the shoe before the actual painting/customizing of the shoe.  Due to the quality of leather on certain shoes the process can take longer than desired, but it’s something that needs to be done.  Sometimes it can be a headache, but most of the time it goes somewhat smoothly.  The only other thing that comes to mind is the occasional difficult customer (which i’m sure every customizer has had to deal with one time or another), which is a rarity for the most part since the majority of the time the customer trusts me to come up with something that we’ll both be satisfied with, which in turn gives me the creative space needed to come with a quality product.

Laura Luna of I love painting.  If I had to chose something it would be that its painting on such a small surface and as a degreed painter, I’m used to painting on much larger spaces.  Having to grip little tiny detail brushes for long periods of time, makes the joints in my fingers hurt sometimes. Other than that, I have no complaints because it’s doing what I love, just on a different surface.

Jake of JBF Custom Shoes: prep work. gotta do it though.

Amanda of YoaKustoms: I would have to say prepping the shoes. I don’t like the taping, stripping, and sanding. The whole time I’m doing that tedious process (because it is an important one) I’m just dying to move into doing the art. That’s why I now let my interns help me with that…haha.

Twitch of One thing I really dislike about shoe customizing from primarily the painter’s perspective is the whole process of stripping the factory finish off of leather. It’s such a labor intensive step that is such a pain to do, yet one of the most important steps otherwise all your paintwork goes to waste because it won’t last as well. It doesn’t help that big companies like Nike are starting to switch to pleather or cheaper leather because it makes the process even more difficult when your acetoning a shoe down and it turns into thick paste that hardens relatively quickly. I wish I could hire somebody just to do all my acetoning work, so I can just go straight to gettin down on the paintbrush. haha.

Kim, Qustom Queen: 1. Customers thinking you are charging too much when they dont understand that you are going to be working on their shoes for anything up to a week. We gotta live! 2. Using a sewing awl… 3. When you cant find the right base for your idea. I think thats all I publicly want to say that I dislike lol.

Miss Saigon of Saigon Customs: What do I DISLIKE about making customs hey?…Hmmm?…. Well… There isn’t much… Except maybe the prepping part…. You know… The whole acetone wiping down thing…. And dealing with difficult customers… That’s it…. Other than that…. Sheeeee I love being able to do something I love, and getting ♥ back for it!!! ;o)

TTK: There are a few things I personally dislike about customizing sneakers. Mostly the time it takes to make a pair.

James, 1of Customs: People that think customs should cost a certain amount when they don’t know how much work goes into a pair.

Jorge, Sharp020: I don’t really enjoy making shoes for customers. Unless I’m given full control of the design.

Jester of 3R Customs: Something I don’t enjoy about making custom sneakers is the inability to execute an idea as soon as I have it. Unfortunately, sometimes the base sneaker is unavailable and the time to source the proper materials can take months, and even years, and that’s not including the time it takes to execute it between work, school, and life! With the efforts I make in trying to perfect a theme or idea, I really dislike when other artists half-ass a pair of sneakers for the sake of expediency or lack of materials. If it can’t be perfect how YOU want it then it shouldn’t be done.

Diversitile Custom Clothing: Well, One of the things we dislike would be the thought and time we put into customs, and to a lot of people, there is a disconnect understanding the work involved with customizing. They think anyone can do it.

EmmanueLabor: I guess I dislike the time it takes. I wish I could pump out a great pair in like 2 hours flat. My attention span can be really short sometimes. Not to mention we’re rarely compensated for the actual time it takes to complete a really good pair.

Steven Cedre, Sole Junkie: I hate haggling for the cost of the work. People do not really know what the word Custom really means. They still associate the work as just a pair of shoes straight from the factory. Its a touchy subject which we all go through. It tears at the artist. We end up doubting our self worth. We put too much time into shoes that if we factored out to hourly wages would be equivalent to sweat shops and make us cringe and want to quit. For the artists that live off of their work to sustain their lives…this is crucial. This lone portion of customizing is what will decide whether the artist can truly make customizing a profession or just another passion. You can lower your standards of work and see your work suffer or you can take a stand behind your artistic integrity and lose the commission. So many choices that do not come naturally for the artist. I can’t offer advise on this, its just an ongoing battle in the life of a customizer! As you can see this is something I dislike about making custom shoes. Oh yeah and prepping! That sucks too! lol

David, Sab1 Customs: prob repitition of patterns; images, and random people tryna low ball

Van Monroe: Its hard to pick out something negative about your passion but I would say all the bootlegging would be an aspect I dislike about the custom shoe game.

Jacob Patterson: I dislike the need to alter my work from an expressive art piece to a self-sufficient piece of design work. Any artist that works primarily on commission in any field of design will fully understand this. Design serves the purpose of both function and art, and thus must be altered in many places to accomplish its goals. There are times I just really want to do something to my custom shoes and I must refrain in favor of a more aesthetically pleasing end result.

Thanks to all the customizers who took their time to respond. If you wish to be included in next Shoe Customizer Group Interview send an email to: [email protected] to be put on our list.