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A Legend Checks In: An Interview with Soles by Sir

It seems like it's easier and easier to not appreciate true artist merit and craft. If you go on any thread about customizing, sneakers, art, creating stuff in general, you see those same comments: "it's aight" or "I could do better" or "you shoulda done it like this..." But when you get a guy like Marcus Rivero out there doing his thing, there's no denying real talent.

Recently, we were lucky enough to link up with an artist we greatly admire. The name Marcus Rivero might not ring a bell, but if you've ever bought Angelus Direct paint to customize a pair of sneakers or cleats, you've definitely heard the name Soles By Sir. This man is not only one of the most talented people to put paint on sneakers, but a great example of how someone can hustle to bridge that gap between a hobbyist and a legit businessman.

(Source: @solesbysir)

If you're a football fan, you've probably seen some custom cleats out on the gridiron. But there is only one Soles and each one of his cleats is a 1of 1 masterpiece. Marcus was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat with us about the world of customizing, the artistic hustle, and how what it takes to turn your passion into a paycheck.

Angelus Direct: While its almost guaranteed that anyone into custom sneakers, sneakers in general, and football has heard the name SolesBySir. For those who haven't, can you give us a brief introduction to yourself?

Soles by Sir: Well, I'm Marcus, aka SolesBySir. I do 1 of 1 customs. I live and paint in Miami, FL.
I started customizing about 3 years ago, and with alot of hard work, and some luck I have been able to slowly but surely grow from my first pair to where I am today. I somehow ended up finding my niche in cleats, furthermore being able to do them for professional athletes has become kind of my thing. I have done work for over 500 professional NFL athletes. Still even crazy to type that, but year thats me. 
This year was lucky enough to work alongside Mache Customs, and make history being able to do the ENTIRE University of Miami Hurricanes football team, while Mache did Nebraska. It was the first time in history that EVERY athlete on the field was rocking 1 of 1 customs. And to be able to do it along side one of the best to ever do it, was a huge honor. 
(Source: @solesbysir)
A: How long have you been customizing? And what got you started?
S: 3 years. Randomly, I wanted to get a gf a cool Valentines day gift. Always being a sneakerhead I decided on kicks. However, I didn't like the color the dunks came in. So i bought some paint, brushes, and 20 hours later had my first pair of customs. 
A: You have a killer eye for colors and top notch brush control. Did you have a background in art/design before you got started?
S: Mom says I was always good at art, but I never did have training outside of elementary Art classes. 
A: Outside of the custom world, your work has hit the mainstream by way of football. Did you originally start customizing sneakers before cleats? 
S: I did about 10 pairs of sneakers before my first cleat. My first cleat was for a dude who would surely change my life and is currently one of my closest friends, Nolan Carroll. He was the one that URGED me to do cleats, against my better judgement at the time.
A: The intricate details that you put into each of one of your customs hold up incredibly well for the beating they take on the field, did you manage this by trial and error? Do you ever experiment with new painting techniques for longevity?
S: Yes, it was a long trial and error process, and heck im still constantly experimenting trying to push myself and my work further and further. And I am always trying to expand the life of my work on cleats. 
(Source: @solesbysir)
A: If you have any secrets about the process, you don't have to give those away of course; but what does your prepping and painting process look like?
S: The Norm, prepping the shoe with good acetone, and taping along edges is really the most I can say. But I will note TAPING is everything. Don't slack. 
A: Speaking of football, how did you get that first connect NFL/NCAA connect? You put out mind-blowing work for some the biggest names on the gridiron, could you talk a little about how all that came together?
S: Funny, my first contact was Nolan Carroll of the then Miami Dolphins. I did some Jordans for him, he liked my work next thing you know I was doing his cleats. It grew as his teammates started noticing him in 1 of 1's then, college teammates, then trades, and cut and resigns started happening. Before you know it I was getting calls from the likes of Marshawn, Dez, Odell etc. 
A: After Adidas came through with Miami Hurricanes contract, did you have to switch up your approach to the customizing process to handle a massive order?
S. It def. was overwhelming. But it was a wild and crazy ride. I tried to do them in batches of 15-20 pairs at once. The total order was over 123 pairs. 
A: You're running a successful custom business, which is probably every customizers dreams. Some people do custom work as a side-hustle in addition to their day job, is this a full-time thing for you now?
S: It currently is my "night time gig" I work my wholesale used tire company from 8 to 6, then head home to paint and customize from 9 till 3-4-5 am nightly. Sleep is an afterthought. 
A: Thank you again for talking to us. Do you have any final business advice for customizers hustling to turn those Instagram likes into business contracts like you did?
S: Just be passionate. Be Kind, and be you. Don't try and copy someone else, or send DM's lol. Remember people want your work for its creativity and just overall coolness. Not because you hit them on the DM, or because you can save them 10 dollars. You would be surprised how many of my clients screen shot this nonsense and laugh. 
Give each pair your best effort. And HAVE FUN with it!

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Spring Custom Sneaker Colorways for the Winter

During the Fall and Winter months sneakers and clothes usually go darker. Basically the sun is shining less, it's cold out, its wet, possibly snowing if you live in like midwest; so dark clothes and dark kicks basically fit the general mood.

We were expecting to see a lot of customs that fall into that category, like these dark camo/military-inpsired laser joints by Gabe Paniagua aka Brahma Customs.

(Source: @brahmacustoms)

But that's not the case; it's still the middle of winter but people are already breaking out those Spring looks. If you've been lurking the #angelusdirect page on IG lately, you might have noticed an interesting trend. We make that acrylic leather paint bright, and people are putting it to use this Winter. There's a lot of colorful, gradient-style custom sneakers popping up on the thread.

Take these Stripes 5 for example done by the talented VAB the Artist.

(Source: @v.a.b.)

This bright paint job makes these sneakers look like they came straight out of Miami beach, when in fact VAB is holding down windy Chicago. These are the colors you use when you have warmer days on your mind.

While those VAB joints have more of an old-school tie dye vibe to them, these Huaraches down by Marney Boi Customs are color fade gradient. These are like a reminder that's going to stop raining be warm again soon.

(Source: @marney_boi_customs)

Which is dope, especially if your spot got rained out by the El Niño this year. One thing's for sure though, you don't want to wear these when it's wet outside.

The color gradient look is going strong. Check out these AF1's by young start up the name of Badhabit Sneakers. They look like they could be some badass Lisa Frank sticker your favorite homegirl had on her folder back in the day.

(Source: @badhabitsneakers)

This mysterious IG is pretty fresh to the game, but Badhabit is doing some incredible work. We're looking forward to seeing more these crazy customs.

So its pretty clear that the custom community isn't letting a gloomy winter get to them. Or they're making bright customs to remind them that spring is around the corner. Either way, keep up the good work fan, bright colors or nah. As always be sure to tag #angelusdirect



What's new in 2016? We hope you had a great Christmas and New Years. 2015 was a huge year for Angelus Direct thanks to all of you out there. Thank you for sharing and creating with our product, let's keep it moving in 2016.

January means it's that time of the year again in Southern California, the one and only Agenda Show is back in Long Beach, CA at the Convention Center. For buyers and sellers in streetwear, sneaker, and skate and surf industries, this is one of the biggest trade shows in the US. Basically whatever fire is going to drop for Spring and Summer '16, from sneakers to clothes to gear, is shown here first. So it's always a great to see what's going to come out next.


Long Beach is a couple towns over from the Angelus Brand headquarters, but this is the first year we're exhibiting out on the trade show floor. You can find us at K17, were we have a full line up of our acrylic leather paint, sneaker accessories, premium sneaker laces. We're excited to be on the floor with some legendary sneaker companies and plenty of other badass up-and-coming brands.

So if you've ever wanted to meet and chat with someone from the Angelus team, roll through. We've met some incredible people so far, and would love to meet more sneakerheads, customizers, and artists that use our product. We're here for the next couple hours, so come chat.

But we didn't want to simply set up a booth and hang out. We're honored to have the super talent sneaker artist Chad Carothers creating some amazing live art.

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

Chad had been putting in work on some Agenda themed customs. If you haven't seen Chad's work yet, check him out his online store and or his Instagram. Our guy makes using acrylic leather paint look easy!

We've got something in store for everyone out there who can't make it down to #agenda2016. Yesterday we gave these bad boys away and today we're going to drop another 1 of 1 custom paint job done by Chad. We're giving away a pair of custom sneakers, Blood Dragon 1's, painted by a true custom master. Obviously, these are going to be one of a kind, so be sure to repost the image below, follow, and hashtag.

Get on this ladies and gentleman. We're going to pick a winner in the next few hours, so stay tuned! 

Angelus Direct, Made in the USA

When sneaker companies started dropping “Made in the USA” kicks on us a few years back, some people didn’t like the price tag, some people thought it was, but here at Angelus Direct we we’re like: finally!

New Balance came correct with this line up, made in their five New England factories.

(Source: Crispculture)

The majority of our paint goes out to custom sneaker artists and sneaker revitalizers, which hasn’t been going on for more than 10 years. But did you know that Angelus Brands have been around before that?

The Angelos family has been making shoe polish right here in Los Angeles County for over a hundred years as Angelus Brand Shoe Polish Co. The Angelus Brand has branched into a few different avenues, like here at Angelus Direct, were we deal with all the fun stuff that goes into sneaker customization because we’re sneakerheads and artists ourselves. But like the original Angelus Shoe Polish, the acrylic leather paint that you’re using on your Jordan 5’s was made right in the USA. 

This is the Triple OG shoe polish.

We make highest quality acrylic leather paints and custom sneaker accessories handcrafted in the United States at an affordable price. And we come from a long line of people creating quality products in the US that anyone can buy. In 2015, that’s a crazy concept right? But that’s the idea that Angelus Brand was built on and this is Angelus Direct practices everyday.

There’s a few reasons why Angelus is made in the America. First, and most importantly is jobs. We work out of a factory/warehouse in Santa Fe Springs, and emply a handful of amazing people. Sure, we could have our products outsourced to China and rebranded to save a couple dollars. That’s not what we’re about though. Angelus Brand products have been made not only in the US, but in Los Angeles since 1907. We’re older than Los Angeles Lakers!

We love being a Los Angeles based company and we’re honored to create jobs in the US. Think about this: if you’re from Southern California, when you buy paints, accessories, dye, or anything else, you’re directly impacting the US economy in a positive way. The Galaxy Kit you ordered was mixed in our plant and packaged by one of the order-packers in our warehouse.

We’re not forgetting about all of our customers out there that aren’t from the USA. Trust, while Angelus Direct has created some great jobs right here at home, you’re helping support a family-owned small business in a big-business economy. Plenty of other paints out there are manufactured in sweatshops and plant without safety laws or fair pay, so at least you’re buying from a company that practices ethical business practices.

The holidays are coming up, so everyone’s getting into the spirit. Of course, we want to be your source for gifts for all the sneakerheads, sneaker customizers, and leather artists in your life. But we also wanted to take a moment to thank you for not only supporting Angelus Direct, but for buying American, and creating sustainable jobs in the US.

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Blackout Friday

You might be knocked out from yesterday's turkey, but all the real MVP of the Thanksgiving season is Black Friday. You're probably not a stranger to the shopping madness that goes on today, but who here wants to admit they're camping out in front of Target for an 60" flat screen? If that's not you, Black Friday shopping has been made 100% better with the circulation of smart phones and the Internet. 

With that being said, if you're a sneaker customizer, do sneaker restorations, make art, whatever it is, you need to stock up on the best acrylic leather paint on the market from the one and only Angelus Direct. Today's the day to do so, and you have until midnight (11/27) to get on this Black Friday deal.

Trust us, you can never not have enough of our paint

(Source: @roxt_eddie)

Maybe you missed one of those sneaker drops this weekend and you want to make your own. Maybe you just want to flex on everybody with your custom sneakers. Either way, if you're going to spend money on custom sneaker supplies, do it today.

If that wasn't enough, today is the last day to save half on our legendary Easy Cleaner Kit. As it gets wetter and windier, you need to keep your sneakers 100 and our Easy Cleaner is the simplest, most effective way to do this. 

So if hit that second wind and get shopping, your feet will thank you later. It's Black Friday man, and YOU KNOW THIS MAAAN!

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