Updated: Apr 29
As a shoe customiser and artist, It is very important that your designs don't stay stagnant and you find inspiration from others to improve your art. Updating your website/products frequently will freshen up your whole brand and attract all new audiences for your brand to grow, as well as potentially finding your own art style.
When I started out painting shoes and clothing, I was very stuck on what style I wanted to work with (I still don't think that I have found my own style exactly), so I went straight to Instagram and Pinterest etc and did some heavy research on other shoe customisers and artists that have been in the game for a while, or that really stand out for me. And thinking about other aspiring artists, I have listed below 8 of my most inspirational artists as of today. These all have their own unique style that they work consistently on or have a whole catalogue of different designs.
My Top 10 Artists For Inspiration (in no particular order):
1. Justin Heidrick- @justwincustoms
As one of the most inspirational shoe customisers that I follow on Instagram, Justin was the one of the first custom artists I came across when starting out painting on footwear and clothing. He really likes to test creativity with the classic Air Force 1 canvas with a whole variety of designs that experiment with illusions, intricate details and the manipulation of the nike swoosh etc.
2. Denzel @curriegoat
I first found Denzel through Instagram on one of his most popular posts at the time (Tyler the Creator- IGOR custom) and straight away his style was so different to anything I had seen before. The way he complements his illustrations colours to the shoes is very pleasing to me, and I think the fact that he uses his art to inform people of the art style he was influenced by in a specific piece is crazy!
Jonathan (@mrleelives) has an insane eye for visualising people onto paper through many intricate lines that make each face he creates, from the paper he then has full power of how he can use these illustrations, for example he occasionally takes it to the shoes. I have learned so much from this guy, It is very important to keep a sketchbook with you if you are an artist so you can catch everyday life inspiration for your shoe/clothing designs.
Matt, again, was one of the first customisers I followed when I started out in the custom game, he is at the top in the UK. Even though he doesn't have an exact style, I like the fact that he can create various creative designs that are still hand painted and crafted by himself. This shows you don't need an exact art style for this game, you can create a real business out of it.
Aida is at the top of the list when it comes to an expressive art style, she merges African and Black culture with the Sneaker culture and creates crazy designs with loads of vibrant colours that have so much energy in them. She's making big moves in the female customiser game, inspiring other females to start customising shoes and find their own style.
Ben Johnson, The Sneaker Mechanic, is a boss with his celebrity portfolio, working with artists such as Billie Eilish, The Game and Tyga for example. If you're first starting out, Ben definitely deserves a follow for inspiration, he has a variety of different designs that do not have a specific style. You never know what's next with him and this is a great trait to have to surprise people with a crazy design.
When I think of creativity with custom shoes, this man get crazy with it, he tests his ability on each shoe. He tries everything out, including attaching chains or drawing thousands of dots on the shoe canvas to create masterpieces. He is a true fashion designer when you look into his instagram further, he has a true passion for manipulating normal clothing designs and making something great.
Leanne is a beast when it comes to detailing on custom shoes, she's basically mastered portraits and creating one of a kind custom shoes for people when no one else has the same in the world. You can learn a lot from Leanne's work as a beginner to customising, I learned the importance of mixing various colours into parts like the skin to give it that extra realistic look. You can see clearly in her work that she takes time and lots of effort into each pair and it is very important that you do the same and put passion into your work.
Obviously I could go on and on with all the artist's I am inspired by as they just keep on coming but there is my first list that comes to mind that I think will be very beneficial for someone starting out.