Interview numero dos from PaintorThread with the incredible Miz of Mizzee Customs. Great customizer, great t-shirt painter, great “artist”, period. Have you seen his Earthworm Jim customs? They are likely just as good or better than anything else you have ever done. Mizzee offers some great advice to young customizers, so check it!
1. Please give your name, age, where you are from and or grew up?
Im normally mild mannered Ryon, but when dangers afoot I thrown the cape on and become the eccentric Miz. I’m 25 sometimes depending on how old SHE is and I grew up in Philadelphia, PA; but now I rest in south (new) jersey
2. What, if any, art based education have you had?
None really, Im just happy to be here.
3. When did you start and what got you into customizing?
I first started customizing back in like winter 98-99. I would paint timberland boots since I couldn’t afford to have a real selection. I was always doing sneakers off and on but never really got into it till late 2006. Then I became Lil Wayne…
4. Is customizing a full time gig? If not what pays the bills?
Mizzeecustoms, but sneakers are just one side of the monster. I do clothing, sneakers, canvas work, body painting, auto paint jobs and mural work when it’s legal.
5. What is on the horizon for Mizzee Customs in 2009 and beyond?
first up Im trying to get this website off the ground but it’s just been so many setbacks. If you’re good at websites please hit me at [email protected]. Besides that Im working on branching out and creating a bigger and better product/brand day by day. Since I fund everything myself pretty much it takes longer but I know of some people who had their baby product taken from them in turn for money and they regret it so Im fine with taking my time. That’s the goals that are consistent right now, everything else is random thoughts that I do.
6. Have you learned, gained, or experienced anything significant as a result of customizing?
Patience. Anyone who takes what they do seriously, and feels as though they really are skilled at what they do has to have the patience to do it. Some colors can take up to 6-8 coats to look even, you really can’t rush that. Then when you factor in graphics and using different colors that require additional coats, it can be time consuming. Patience is what keeps everything looking the way it should, or nice for that matter. I also learned to plan for the best and prepare for the worst. Don’t think you just gonna sell a sneaker because it’s hot to you. Do what you like that you can use or be fine keeping, and if they sell then that’s kudos on top of that. But be ready to keep them instead of selling for less then you want or feel your work is worth.
7. Where do you get inspiration for designs?
I don’t even know how to answer that. People ask me this all the time and I’ve tried to have some deep and profound meaning to life for them, but at the end of the day I just wake up and be me. I take my inspiration from my “normal” life. If Im watching a movie, listening to music, dropping a deuce in the holy water, whatever. If I like what’s going on, Im putting it into play. I’m also inspired by the other artist that do what they do, good or bad. Even though I may not have the same approach to my work as others I still look at the bar the set.
8. What are ways you try to spread word of Mizzee Customs, or ways in which you market yourself?
See, here’s the conflict. I love success, and hate publicity. I don’t wanna be the forefront of what I am if that makes sense on any level. I like my art to speak for me. I do everything from parties, to live painting, trade shows, sneaker competitions (which pretty much are like class reunions for me), and anything that I feel I can represent myself properly at. As far as the internet goes I do the MySpace thing and I have a facebook. I’m on a bunch of other sites but Im not as active. Oh and Blogs and websites that come across my work show me a lot of love which is dope.
9. Craziest customizing request?
Lemme think, back in like 2003-2004 someone asked me to paint the faces of the members of g-unit on a pair of air force ones. Yea I declined that pretty fast. Everything else I usually have to kick up a notch to make it crazy
10. Share any experience you may have had working with a store or company of any kind
Bullshit. Complete and utter bullshit. This is how the store thing breaks down (from my personal experience, yours may be different), either you sell your product to them or you sell in the store for consignment. Consignment is cool if the store promotes your product good enough or if it’s in high demand since you can make more off it. The problem is that since its low risk for the store then they tend to not even promote it as good as other stuff that they have to sell since they paid for those products and want to see the ends off that first. So your stuff becomes back burner property, sits and collects dust. Then what makes matters worst is (if you’re smart) your boosting your price so that the store makes there cut, and you get what you want from the ordeal. Which sucks cause people may not buy it cause its more then they wanna spend, now it’s that or you can sell your stuff to a store for mega cheap and watch them sell it for more profit then you will make off it. The only way that works is if you can make it for cheap and sell it to more than say 5 stores at a time. If you only sell in one store like that, then your butt may hurt after a while. Best advice is to sell it yourself and promote through the stores. I do live paintings and stuff at stores and hand out flyers and all that. That way the store will showcase you to get more people who like what you/we do and then you can still promote, and maybe sell something there or get orders or at least network.
11. Do you listen to music while working? If so what’s on your customizing playlist? Man I alternate through either state property vol 2 Chain Gang cd, some Kanye, some Dedication 3/Drought 3, Grafh, Beanie Siegel Public Enemy Number 1 mixtape from before his jail sentence, Amy Whinehouse, and recently Drake.
12. Favorite food and beverage?
Chicken and watermelon flavored Snapple, cliché’ I know
13. If you could have one super power for a day what would it be? And why?
I’ve come to the conclusion that since I don’t sleep and eat as much as a normal man, at times I can be fly, and I have an alter ego, that I have some type of superhero. I would like to be able to clone myself though, that way all three of us can procrastinate at the same time.
14. If you could pick one movie or TV show to have been an actor in which one would it be?
Easy, MARTIN. I woulda said ER but Im no scrub. HA
15. Most memorable or famous customer you have had?
For some reason I remember everyone I ever sold something to. Either Im not selling as much as I should be or I really have some crazy memory game. I’d say out of all of them though Brian Dawkins though, that’s my favorite player EVER.
16. What are your Favorite clothing brands or styles?
Im so out of tune with “fashion” it’s ridiculous. I just throw on a pair of nice sneakers, a matching shirt, and camo shorts. I’m too old for most of these styles that are popular that I kinda like. What I look like wearing a deep cut, extra thin so girls see the nipples (or chesticules) V-neck down to my belly button, Red skinny jeans, a Shamage’ scarf around my neck, and sneakers bigger then my feet?
17. Name a good book you have read?
Why read books when you have Wikipedia?
18. Anyone you would like to work with?
Anyone who can compliment what I bring to the table. This is usually easier said than done since I can do a lot of different things on a pretty okay level so it’s difficult to tell what they do and what I do. Especially now that so many artist either are like me in that sense or they don’t have anything unique about their approach.
19. 10 years from now, where do you see yourself?
I don’t think that far ahead, only because I didn’t think I would be this far ahead. I usually play things by ear. I do plan ahead but Im so random that if I do it would ruin my spontaneity and that’s where I rule at.
20. Any advice for those beginning customizers or those wanting to start customizing?
Bad artist copy, good artist steal. Don’t just copy someone’s style or work, but build off it. Make it your own. That’s pretty much what all artists do. Nothing is new under the sun, but style and execution is everything. Take me for example. I’m “influenced” and molded myself after work that I like from other artist like Jor1 and Methamphibian; but with my own subject matter and execution/style (I think). If I see an artist use cheetah print and I like it, then I may use it, but not like that artist did. It’s actually how the world works. Don’t try and be compared to other artist, just be mentioned among them. Also be true to yourself. Don’t do stuff you think others like. That kinda defeats the purpose of custom work. Custom is tailored for the individual, not the mass. Meaning doing tiffany customs in hopes that you get famous won’t do you justice, nobody cares how nice you can engrave croc print. Not anymore anyway. An interesting colorway can beat that any day. Just be you and do what feels natural.
21. Final thoughts, shoutouts, or news you’d like to share?
Best bit of news I can give is to stay tuned, things are about to get interesting. Anything else is top secret or extra random. And if I start giving shoutouts I’ll feel like Im on the radio, but big ups to all my peers out there, those who push me, the bloggers showing love, and my loyal supporters who been with me through thick and thin. And to all my artist, it’s not me versus you, it’s us versus them. Ciao.
Thank you Mizzee for your time and fufilling answers. The man has a good mindset that beginning customizers should take notice of. Not much is original, its how you present and give your own twist For more info, pics, or to order your own pair of Mizzee Customs visit: Mizzee’s MySpace