Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"South Beach 2015"


















In November of 2012, I made the South Beach Jordan 4s.  While I liked the results, at the time to me I thought it was just another custom, however, the response was pretty big and while I don't feel it's my best work creatively I would consider it my most popular custom to this day.  Lots of orders for that shoe were made throughout 2013 and through part of 2014....I honestly can't remember how many of these I made!  I even made one for a player in the NFL during that time.

After a while, when the Military Blue Jordan 4s (the shoe used to make this design) started to become scarce and Jordan brand seemed to no longer be producing them, I eventually stopped taking orders for them.  People as early as a few months ago were still asking about them when I would occasionally post them on my instagram as a "Throwback Thursday" pic (Follow me on Instagram as ecentrikartistry).

Meanwhile, last year Jordan Brand announced some of  their Jordan Retro lineup for 2015.   That lineup included a remastered version of the Jordan 4 Columbia Blue (or Legend Blue).  After getting a look at the shoe I immediately thought of doing a remake of the popular South Beach custom.
















Admittedly I originally told myself I hadn't planned on making the South Beach custom again, but after this shoe was announced & thinking of how many of my newer followers who discovered my work later loved them but missed out on them the first time, I thought it was a no-brainer.

So after grabbing a pair of Legend Blues after their release, I immediately put the theme together again.  Here is the finished product:


































This version was/is actually much more fun to work with than the original version due to the better material quality.  The mesh is substituted with leather and the tongue tags are replaced with the stitched-on Jumpman.  To me the shoe has a better overall feel than the Military Blues do.  The shoe has no real changes from the original design other than the former mesh areas being in navy blue instead of black to match the liner inside the shoe and the tabs being left navy blue (thought it was a nice touch).  Also, on the originals the teal was a little more of a blueish tone whereas this version the teal is a genuine South Beach tone, which is exactly like the original South Beach Lebron 9s that the colorway originated from.  I also love the more flexible back and side tabs on these as opposed to the plastic ones on the Military Blues.

This shoe is available now in the online store in both Men's and Women's/Grade School sizes.  You also have the option of supplying your own Legend Blue 4s for customization if you choose to.  All of the pricing and order info for all options are located in the store link below.

http://ecentrik.bigcartel.com/product/air-jordan-4-south-beach-remastered-custom

Monday, January 19, 2015

2008















I first got into sneaker customization in late 2002.  During that time I was working a day job at a pharmaceutical company in Philly.  I spent a few years honing my craft before taking orders for shoes and once I felt confident in my skills & doing sneakers for others, I then started promoting my work on Myspace, which was the big thing at the time, as well as putting together a website.  My site at the time was really cheap looking and rinky dink but what can I say, I was just starting out (btw, I was not customizing under the Ecentrik Artistry name at that time).

Fast forward to 2007.  By that time, I was still customizing sneakers but honestly wasn't putting the passion and effort into it that I should have been as I had fallen deep into a comfort zone at my corporate day job long before that year.  Well, my department got the news in 2006 that our jobs were being outsourced overseas (translation: we were going to be getting laid off).  So after the company outsourced our department, we collected our last remaining paychecks for those last few weeks and later got our severance packages.  Mine was pretty nice looking considering I put in a lot of years with the company.  I think back now with all that time I had off during 2007 how I could've been focusing on my art, but admittedly had gotten lazy and was slacking heavily on my work.....something that would come back to bite me later.

In comes the year 2008....that severance was almost gone and reality smacked me in the face like a ton of bricks.  There was no more collecting unemployment (which I was getting on top of having that comfy package) and I needed to do something.  I tried looking for work but the responses from companies weren't necessarily pouring in despite my work experience.  Frustration and anxiety was starting to build and I started worrying if I would be able to take care of basic necessities like bills and rent.  My financial situation was crumbling and things felt like they weren't working out at all.  I did manage to land a part time gig but it paid so little that 95% of what I made was going to just paying my rent while my other bills were piling up.  At times my mom, who knew what I was going through, would help and while I definitely appreciated whatever help she gave me, I still felt bad because I was always so used to being independent and able to do for myself and wasn't comfortable with the idea of being a grown man and still needing financial help from mom.  I've had a utility get cut off because I didn't have enough to cover payment and times where I had like maybe 2-3 things in the fridge having to live off the same meal every night because I was so broke.  I hated dealing with everyday life for most of that year and was only really at peace during bedtime because that was the only time I didn't have to stress over everyday bs....in fact, I dreaded when daytime came and wished I could just stay in bed for days.  There were moments when I truly felt like life hated me and I remember having nights where I sat in my apartment by myself literally crying because I felt like things would never get better.

And on top of all the misery of trying to find work and get back on my feet, early that summer, my best friend lost his wife about a week and a half after having their first child (my goddaughter).  Her passing hit me hard because she was like family to me and we would always spend great times hanging out together over the years and both of them were among the people who were by my side during those tough times (me & my best friend are still tight to this day and he's doing a great job as a dad).  I remembered being in his wedding when they got married and them asking me to be the godfather before the child was born.  Her passing was the icing on the cake for what had been a dreadful year.

I found myself needing to get away and clear my head frequently.   During that summer I would just get out of the house, go hang out downtown (was still living in Philly during this time), and just go for walks around the city and sit in the park with my headphones on (something I still do frequently today.....I sometimes like to drift off into my own world as it personally helps me creatively).  Downtown Philly is close to an area of the city called Old City, which has a number of art galleries.  On my walks, I would visit those galleries to check out the art.  The art just had a relaxing feeling on me that at the time I couldn't quite explain....now I realize it was probably because it took me back to what I've always loved, which is creating, and was probably a sign that I should get back into what has always been a part of my life since childhood.....art.

Soon on those trips to the city & the park, I would bring along my sketchpad and doodle in it regularly.  I would sketch random scenery, comics, etc....kinda trying to get my mojo back so to speak.  That plus one of those trips to a gallery (may have been a show opening) sparked my desire to get back into sneaker customization again (I was also buying a lot of art magazines during this time so that definitely played a huge part as well).  I started messing around with sneakers again and not only did that energy and passion start creeping back in, but I also wanted to do it better than I had before.  I wanted to kinda re-brand myself and later come up with a name that represented my style that I was developing.  Eventually I came up with the name Ecentrik Shoe Artistry (I later dropped "shoe" because I thought it was too long and kept the doors open to the possibility of incorporating other things as well).  Also, on one of those gallery trips, A gallery owner saw me with a sketch pad in my hand and asked me "Are you an artist too?"  I told him that I was and that right now I just do it for fun.  He responded with something to the effect of "There's no money in art.  If you're thinking about doing it I suggest sticking to your day job".  I just nodded and said "Okay", left, and never set foot in his gallery again.  Now I was even more motivated.

Eventually I landed a full time job a month later at a well known cable company's corporate HQ in the city (about September/early October).  It was a job through a temp agency and at first I had that "I landed a cushy job" mentality again, which could've led to me falling back into that old comfort zone.  After being there for a while I realized it definitely wasn't what I wanted to do for any real length of time....was happy to be making decent pay again but the job itself wasn't where I wanted to be at all (met some cool people there but hated the stuffy atmosphere).  I guess that was a good thing that it went that way because it made me keep my eyes on the prize and stay focused on building my brand and moving on.

I was there for about 1-2 years before my assignment ended...by that time I had put in more work building Ecentrik Artistry and had developed more of a fan base.  My assignment ended with the company and I saw it as an opportunity to move on.  I got offered an opportunity to fill out for a full time spot in the company but turned it down, which was a risk on my part.  But sometimes, when you really want something, you have to take the risk and just go for it.

Fast forward to 2015: In the past couple years, I've gotten opportunities to show my work in art shows, sneaker events, had multiple website features, domestic and international clientele, as well as relocating to New York.  Yet I still feel like there's so much more to do and that i've barely scratched the surface.

Now, onto the shoes!

















I called them 2008 because it was a year where I went through adversity and managed to survive.  It was a year despite it being a dark point in my life, I managed to create something beautiful that would bring me out of it and that has brought forth many different opportunities today.


















With this shoe, the colors on the shoes aren't just colors to make them look good, each of the colors actually represent something..
































The black represents the rock bottom period that I, and other people, have experienced at one time or another in life.  Notice how the black transitions into a charcoal grey then into a light grey....that symbolizes how if we make the effort, we can begin to dig ourselves out of that black hole and find light at the end of the tunnel.  The shades of green represent the greener pastures that are out there for us.  The green is not dominant on the shoe for a reason: it's because when we're in that dark place, we don't always see those greener pastures and sometimes tend to think they're not there but they're all around us if we look hard enough.

It's funny how what was the worst year of my life is responsible for me regaining my passion....a passion which I get to share with the rest of the world.  Never did I think I would have people show me so much love for my work.  Never did I think that I would get messages from young upcoming artists telling me how much my work inspires them and having upcoming sneaker artists actually tell me that my work is what made them want to get into customizing.  It's great getting respect from up and comers as well as veteran artists who've been around for a while with their crafts.  To know that you're making a positive impact, especially when at one time you almost thought of giving up, is an amazing feeling.  Am I exactly where I want to be?  No, not yet, but the progress made has been astounding.

A lot of times when I put out new work, I hope to get some website features and social network mentions.....this project wasn't done for that.  If this particular project doesn't get one blog mention or any type of promo outside of my own, it's okay.  I just wanted to tell my story for anyone who may care, even if it's only one person.
















I also wasn't even going to make these available to purchase, but after some thought, I am willing to make pairs for anyone who might be interested (ordering info is at the link below).  At the moment i'm only planning to make 8 pairs (each would be numbered on the shoe).  The t-shirt would be included as well.  Again, whether this items sells out or doesn't sell at all, I just wanted to tell my story.

http://www.ecentrik.bigcartel.com/product/air-jordan-3-2008

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

"Haze Grey"

















People who've followed my work for a long time know I love working with bright colors.  However, one of my favorite colors that i've never worked with much and is a favorite of mine & not considered a bright color is grey (sidenote: I tend to prefer spelling it "grey" over "gray"....I know grey is the traditional spelling in the UK).  I wanted to do something that was clean, simple, and showcases a nice shade of grey with maybe a little subtle pattern design to it, which led to the Haze Grey custom.

The base shoe used for the custom was the Sport Blue Jordan 6 (the Infrareds would've been perfect as well):

















(Pic courtesy of Jordan Brand)

And here's the finished result:


















I felt like the Jordan 6 was the perfect shoe for this idea due to the shape of the silhouette.  I used 2 different grey shades and added a little bit of black in the midsole design.  Although the minor amounts of black in the midsole match up with the inner liner of the shoe, I wanted the grey to be the dominant color throughout the shoe.  The kicks also have light grey laces to match the light grey shade (more pics below).  Again, I wanted the grey to be dominant, which is why I went with grey laces instead of black, which would've also been a good match up.  These are available at the online store (see link below the next set of pics).






















Jordan 6 "Haze Grey": http://www.ecentrik.bigcartel.com/product/jordan-6-haze-grey-custom

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Customer Spotlight: Jordan 5 "Gucci Lab5" Custom











Sometimes, all a shoe needs is a simple detail change to make it stand out....the following custom was one of those types of shoes.  The original shoe started out as the Jordan 5 3Lab5 Infrareds:















The client requested that the only changes to these be done with the infrared midsole and the Jumpman logos on the front and back.  The midsole and Jumpman logos were changed to a dark green shade while the sharktooth pattern was done over in a varsity red, this giving the shoe the famous Gucci colorway.  Here's the finished result:




















The Gucci theme is quickly becoming a favorite of mine.  These were actually done for a repeat client of mine, who requested a Gucci theme previously (check it out here).  This shoe was done as a 1-of-1 design, meaning that this will be the only one made ever.  However, if you have a custom idea of your own, email me at info@ecentrikart.net.

Monday, January 5, 2015

"Taxi Cab"

















We see them everyday (especially if you live in New York City).  Sometimes we take them for granted, but a lot of us use them to get back and forth as well.  Being in the city, I see taxis every single day (I even have a cab driver who lives near me and parks his cab outside his house).  So I thought it would make a cool theme.

I started off with a pair of the Jordan 6 Infrareds (the Sport Blues would've been a good base as well):
















And turned those into these:


















In a sense, these kind of reminded me of the Coffee & Donuts theme from 2013...although the Taxi Cabs aren't food-themed, I feel like they kinda had the same thought process and uniqueness and would be just as eye-catching.  The checkered pattern on the midsole was 5 hours of work alone (all my custom work is hand-painted.....no stenciling or airbrushing).  It was very tedious work but the end result was well worth it.  On a sidenote, I was super stoked to get photos of these and wanted to have the perfect background so I googled a few taxi garages in the city (just wanted to get one good pic of these in front of a parked cab).  Ended up finding this cab garage with the cool awning & taxi colors outside and then later stumbled upon a water cab near the river in Manhattan (too bad I couldn't get a closer pic).

These are currently available to order from the online store (all customs come with the shoes included unless noted otherwise.....can supply your own as well).

Taxi Cab Jordan 6: http://ecentrik.bigcartel.com/product/jordan-6-taxi-cab-custom

Monday, December 29, 2014

Air Force 1 "Cotton Candy"

















When I originally set out to do this custom, I intended it to be an Air Force 1 rendition of the Miami Nights Lebron 8s:














(Lebron 8 "Miami Nights")

Now I had done a rendition of this shoe before sometime last year.  My rendition was done on a Jordan 1 shoe and only a few were made:

















I knew back then I would want to do this theme one more time, this time I wanted to do an Air Force 1 version since it's my all time favorite shoe and I wondered what an Air Force 1 version would look like.  The creative process was much different this time around as I speckled the spot design on as opposed to dabbing it on by hand as I did before.  I also used a Magenta shade instead of straight red which gave it a different look.  While I liked the end result, the change in colors gave it its own original look, and after sharing photos on my Instagram page, a few people suggested that I instead call them "Cotton Candy".  I liked the idea and thought the name was more fitting so I went with it:






















These are available in the online store at this link:
http://www.ecentrik.bigcartel.com/product/air-force-1-miami-nights-custom

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Ecentrik Artistry @ SoleXChange NYC 2.14.15






















Happy to announce that I will be at the SoleXChange sneaker convention in NYC on NBA All Star Weekend!  The event will feature NBA Legend Allan Houston of the New York Knicks & takes place on Saturday, February 14th 2015 at the Metropolitan Pavilion (see above flyer).  Been a while since i've been a part of a sneaker convention and am happy to be a part of one of this magnitude.  Thanks to the good people at SoleXChange for the opportunity and i'm looking forward to showing my custom work to both those familiar with my work and those who may be new to Ecentrik Artistry.  Tickets can be purchased at the SoleXChange website.