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ChadCantColor... is Sponsored by Angelus Direct

This week we added a few new additions to our Angelus Direct Sponsored Artists page. If you happened to stop by our booth at the recent Agenda in Long Beach, you might have seen a guy painting some incredibly detailed designs. That was Chad Carothers, aka ChadCantColor, a talented multi-medium artist, who also happens to be the newest addition to the Angelus-sponsored family.

Chad has been creating work for the action industry world for many years now, so there’s a chance that someone, somewhere is surfing/skating a board with one of his designs at any given moment. In recent years the list of places where his work can be found has grown, so you might catch his work on a pair of sneakers, or on a car, or on a t-shirt.

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

Some artists might be inspired by the canvas or the medium, while others are inspired by their own artistic vision. Many customizers work is focused on the sneaker, or take influences from latest trends in contemporary menswear and streetwear, but Chad’s work uses the sneaker as a type of canvas. So instead of creating customs to look like the new Yeezy Boosts, which is totally rad too, Chad is drawing from his different influences for a totally unique design. He takes this same approach to painting a mural or putting a design on the hood of a car.

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

The cool thing about Chad’s approach to sneaker customs is his diverse artistic influences. From a glance, his work might remind you of tattoo flash art, particularly ‘New School’ style. Unlike traditional tattoos, think sailors and anchors and girls in hula skirts, New School tattooing incorporates graffiti, cartoon lettering, heavy outlines and bright coloring.

 

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

 

While New School is said to have started in California, there is something familiar about this style for Southern California locals. You’ll probably see New School tattoo’s on someone's arms, or thrown up on the wall of a building, or as Chad has been putting it, on a pair of Jordans.

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

There is also an element of ‘kustom kulture’ in Chad’s work. For those unfamiliar, the kustom world is centered around old school, heavily modified hotrods. The design element to it also takes that old school, 1950’s style and flips it into something new. 

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

Image the painstaking design put into pinstriping the hood of a Cadillac, that’s where Chad is coming from when he puts a design on a sneaker. But circling back, the time it would take to throw up an intricate graffiti piece.

 

(Source: Mtbr.com)

Chad’s artistic background is as colorful as his custom sneaker designs. While his work might be seen on a surfboard, it might be seen in a gallery, or an museum. Or while he's knocking out a pair of custom of sneakers, he could also be creating a licensed design for New Balance (true story). OR he might be doing a commissioned mural or painting for a trade show. Basically, Chad is a busy dude and his work ends up in a bunch of different places! So if you want another perspective on custom sneakers, be sure to check out his page to see more gems like these...

(Source: @chadcantcolor)

Valentine's Day with Angelus Direct

Holiday’s get a lot of hate these days. From that one salty, always single dude in your group to the far corners of the Internet, people LOVE to hate on Valentine’s Day. From a single person’s point of view, we get it—everyone around you is obnoxiously in love on Valentine’s Day, especially those couples you know actually hate each other...

(Source: Tumblr.com)

For those of you celebrating it with your significant other, there’s the fear that you’re just not going to get the right present. Well here’s a suggestion from the people at Angelus: get her/him a pair of dope sneakers. Sure, you could always buy one of those Valentine’s Day releases. Those are cool sometimes, but they either drop before or after the actual day. Take these special V Day-themed Air Jordan 12’s for example; they're out in March. MARCH!

(Source: Sneakernews.com)

If you tried to hit bae with an "I.O.U. some Jordans in March," you better believe you’re spending the night on the couch. Plus, that’s a lot of pink. You better hope they love pink that much. If you're not trying to wait until March for Valentine's Jordans and bae loves bright pink, grab a bottle of our Tahitian Pink and get to work.

For the more adventurous gift-givers out there, think about making a custom sneaker. Even if it's too late this year, there’s always next time right? Or even tomorrow in case you really dropped the ball with some sad roses and a half eaten box of chocolates. Nothing says love like a fully customized, hand painted, well-thought out, one-of-one sneaker for your significant other. You could buy them sneakers, or you could use Angelus Direct paint to make your own. Which one of those options says "love" just a little bit more? Probably the customized one.

Luckily, people are always doing great stuff with our products, holiday or not, so there's plenty of inspiration out there. Take for example these custom Ultra Boosts that our friend Tragik1993 dropped today.

(Source: @tragik1993)

This is Valentine’s Day fire right here. Pablo (West) himself couldn’t have given Kim a cleaner pair of Adidas today. As always, another Angelus sponsored customizer is killing the game.

Next up, we found these customs out on the #angelusdirect thread, just in time for Valentine’s Day. Germany-based sneaker and apparel customizers Born Originals put a Comme Des Garcons spin on a pair of classic AF1’s.

(Source: @bornoriginals)

The well known CDG heart is typically found on Converse, but with Born’s application of our paint, it looks perfect on this pair of Nike’s.

And finally, we came across some more Valentine’s Day creativity from another up-and-comer out there in the #angelusdirect community. These Jordan 4’s aptly titled “4 the LOVE” were done by customizer KidKustoms.

(Source: @kidkustoms)

The classic red and white color scheme on these 4’s make them the perfect gift. Better than roses in my opinion, and they’ll definitely last longer than two days. Great job KidKustoms, keep up the work!

So whether you’re flying solo this Valentine’s Day, or you’re faithfully committed to bae, Angelus Direct wants to spread the holiday love. For the rest of the day, we’re giving 15% off your entire order with this code.

Pick up some of our world famous acrylic leather paint and get a head start on next year’s present, make up for some weak flowers you picked up the grocery store, or just go that extra mile for him/her. And if not, if you’re that single person today, don’t be bitter, buy yourself some supplies and make yourself some anti-Valentine’s Day sneakers. Whatever you do, feel the love from Angelus Direct!

 

Catching Up with Sekure D

In the words of OG sneaker customizer SBTG, Melbourne’s very own Mathew Fabris or better known as Sekure D “is right on top of the custom sneaker game.” Sekure D has been producing some of the most vibrant one-off custom pieces since the mid-2000’s, when he channeled his sneaker addiction into a creative outlet. Mathew isn’t just known for his own custom sneakers though. 

(Source: @sekured)

Imagine a comic book store, a sneaker boutique, and an arcade had a baby. This store would sell pieces like the infamous 'Codename Unknown' Iron Man Mask by Sekure D. But of course, that store might not exist (yet! someone get on it). But this is the level of work Mathew puts out as a Sekure D. It's light hearted, but intricate and eye popping. 

(Source: @sekured)

 

For Medicom heads and serious toy enthusiasts, a Sekure D piece is a collector’s item. His custom toys are an extension of his artistic pursuits, so naturally, the same craftsmanship that goes into a pair of custom sneakers goes into one of Mathew’s vinyl toys.

(Source: Sekured.com)

Outside of his own custom design work, Sekure has collaborated with some of the biggest names in sneakers and sportswear. But of course, this status in the world of customs doesn't come over night. And if you're wondering how he got to the level he's at, so were we! So caught up with Mathew to talk a little about art, influence, and how to balance different mediums.

Angelus Direct: The custom sneaker world knows you as Sekure D, insanely talented artist from Australia. Can you give us a little about your background and how you got into art?

Sekure D: Thanks for the compliment. I never studied art, I got into graffiti at about 16 and then when I was about 18 or 19 started to graffiti sneakers for myself and my friends, that’s basically how it all started.

At a glimpse, there seems to be heavy comic-book/Sci Fi/hip hop influences on your custom sneaker work. What are some of your main inspirations?

You really nailed it there. I love all 3 of those things, and if you mixed in cinema then you would have pretty much all my inspirations wrapped up. I like to create sneakers around a specific theme or character rather than a colorway or something that is currently trending and hyped, that way you get a more artistic sneaker. A lot of my artwork is pattern based and has an overriding sense of futuristic Sci Fi elements with bold patterns and colors.

Your custom sneakers are always incredibly detailed and vibrant. Is your creative process for a new piece more free form? Or, do you plan out your projects beforehand?

Thanks! I used to completely plan them out but now that I have been doing this for so long I no longer feel the need unless a mockup has been specifically requested by a client before the project begins. I will always know the framework of a design but I do freestyle a lot of it now in regards to color and patterns.

While sneaker customizing seems to be gaining popularity, custom vinyl toys is still more of a niche world. How do you pick and choose what project, and which medium you're going to take on?

Its funny you say that because when I started to customize sneakers nobody was doing it and it was incredibly niche, I would say there was maybe 10-15 active customizers in about 2005/06 when I began. People don’t really remember what it was like back then, a sneaker swapmeet or event would have maybe 100 patrons here, back then it was a completely different world.

In that sense, I guess you’re right; custom vinyl hasn’t quite broken the mainstream however it is a huge market. A lot of very famous artists work on vinyl and create figures as a part of their skillset. There are huge brands out there as well, such as Medicom and of course Kidrobot, who I have an upcoming collaboration with dropping in May. I guess I chose to work with toys and vinyl because it gave me an opportunity to bring a character to life in 3D, plus I am a bit of a big kid and still collect a bunch of figures.

(Source: @sekured)

Does switching between custom sneakers and working with vinyl ever influence the creative process? Like did coming up with the Pork Russell figure give you the idea to make "Big Trouble..." inspired sneakers later down the line?

It keeps everything fresh for me. I have been customizing sneakers for 10 or so years, so changing it up makes it more fun and interesting no question. It is for this reason I still paint murals and canvas, gotta diversify to keep interesting.

I would love to make a Big Trouble sneaker down the track to match my Pork Russel; I can definitely see that happening. I just love that movie so much the figure was the first thing that came to mind, but I do have a few ideas for sneakers as well.

(Source: Sekured.com)

You have a stacked client list for your apparel and art design work. How does working for, or collaborating with, other companies and artists affect the overall creative process?

It really is tough to generalize because it depends so much on the brand and client. Typically there is a level of compromise you have to be comfortable with and being able to think on your feet, problem solve and find quick solutions to problems are essential skills. I am lucky that most brands I have worked with seek me out, so I have a good level of freedom. Sometimes though, your career is as defined by the jobs you say no to as the ones you accept, so you can’t be afraid to walk away either.

Your custom pieces are definitely a go-to for inspiration. How did you turn artistic talent into a personal brand/business?

Cheers! I guess back when I started it was a hobby, it definitely wasn’t a long term plan. Kids these days email me every day thinking customizing sneakers is some get rich scheme, it isn’t! Few, very very few guys live off this full time, I really think for at least 2-3 years in the mid 2000s, SBTG and I were the only guys doing this as a full time profession.

I just work incredibly hard, that’s the only secret. Make sure to make the most of your abilities, create a style that stands alone as your own and don’t cut corners! I guess those are the things that helped me get to where I am today.

Lastly, any advice for the young sneaker customizers and artists out there getting started?

Style is everything, work in defining your own. The end goal should be that a person can identify your customs as yours, without your name on the shoe or the photo. That was always my goal. If you look at the customizers that have got collabs or been successful to date, I would say this rule applies to almost all of them.

(Source: @sekured)

If you haven't yet, be sure to keep up with Sekure D's Instagram account for updates on his various projects. For fans of comic books, Sci Fi weirdness, old school video games, and pop culture icons, Sekure's work hits a full range. While Sekure seems to drop a collector's item every time he puts out a new custom sneaker, his pieces still show how much fun you can have paint and a brush.

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Art Using Angelus: The Photography of Dave Corbett

We're lucky to be involved in a creative community that isn't just one type of artist, but artists from different disciplines. Every day, we see sneaker customizers finding new ways to use our acrylic leather paint. Regards of what stage these guys and gals are at in their career, the results are always one-of-a-kind masterpieces. Beyond the custom sneaker game, we’ve seen our paint used for other remarkable projects, from leather bags to vinyl toys. But we’ve never seen Angelus paint itself, without a canvas, as the subject of a photography series.

(Source: @chromasmoke)

Recently, we had the pleasure of linking up and collaborating with an artist putting out incredible work—a photographer named Dave Corbett. Dave is an outstanding photographer with a unique talent for capturing movement via bright colors.

Not too long ago, the big boss at Angelus Direct came across one of Dave’s now famous Paint-a-Pult images on the Reddit Pics forum. It should be mentioned, this particular image has racked up over a million views, so Dave’s work is clearly eye-catching. So we got in touch with Dave and proposed something of a creative partnership using Angelus Direct paints.

“Previously I had been using kid's poster paints,” Dave says, “and I was immediately impressed by the vibrancy and saturation of the Angelus paints.” 


(Source: @chromasmoke)

And so Dave put Angelus paint to use for another photo series. “By carefully placing the paints on the brush,” he says “I managed to get the colors to mix and wrap around each other in mid-air, creating little liquid sculptures with a lifespan of about 10 milliseconds.”

(Source: @chromasmoke)

The end result shows Angelus paint from a new perspective. Usually our paint is part of a finished product, so catching it by itself required some action shots. To capture that perfect take, Dave used his custom made catapult to literally launch the paint in the air.

(Source: Dcorbettphoto.com)

Luckily, Dave’s photography can’t be pigeonholed to simply 'just taking pictures,’ Dave uses his lifelong hobby of building to create a great picture. “I've been a tinkerer and builder since I was a kid” Dave says. “I took apart all my toys to see how they worked, and eventually my parents gave up and just bought me motors and wires and various parts.” 

(Source: @chromasmoke)

As an established photographer, Dave has been behind a camera for quite some time. “In high school,” he says, “I had a darkroom in the basement and my first job was at a one-hour photo. I studied color technology and photochemistry at Brooks Institute in California and was a darkroom technician for many years. As much as I loved the traditional darkroom techniques, I immediately embraced digital photography. My first digital camera was 3 megapixels and cost $1,000.”


(Source: @chromasmoke)

The camera on the newest iPhone is about 8 megapixel, so taking that into account, you know Dave has been working with digital for quite a long time. The years he spent honing his craft turned into a long form approach to photography.

“I tend to become obsessed with a particular challenge for a photograph,” he says “and will work for weeks or months until I perfect the technique. For smoke photos, it was how to layer colored light into zones and control the mixing in the white smoke. For the paintbrush project I built a little catapult that swings the brush in a precise zone of focus and triggers the exposure at the right instant.”

(Source: @chromasmoke)

Creating the perfect moment takes practice, as any artist can attest. Luckily, we’ve got a master like Dave making it look easy!

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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. 
(Source: djscreamtv.com)
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. 
(Source: miami.racked.com)
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. 
(Source: nicekicks.com)
BREAK
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?
BREAK
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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