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What if da Vinci Airbrushed the Mona Lisa?

Sometimes you want to go into overtime to create a dope pair of custom sneakers. Any good artist would agree that painting takes a lot of brush work, planning, and focus.

Now there are a few ways to go about customizing your sneakers: some people use their brush skills to create their custom sneaker art. Some people go airbrush. Others use a combination. Check sneaker customizer @jbb_cafe, who we found on the #angelusdirect tag on IG (thanks for tagging).

(Source: @jbb_cafe)

Great progress shot here!

It probably goes without saying, all painters have different brush techniques. In this clip, Angelus Direct sponsored artist Kendra's Customs is putting in that work on a pair of Roshes. Her brushwork is on point! And then she comes out with the Q-Tip for that fade effect. 

Like Kendra, you can go lo-fi and break out the Q-Tip and still blow people's minds. On the flip side, some people might use technology to their advantage. So you have old style and new school ways of painting, and neither way is necessarily better! Of course, people get wild over this debate. But more opinions the better right?

Last time around, we looked at how people progress from their first custom to their most recent. As you can see, people all came in at different levels, but over time they stepped up their game. Experimenting with other tools is key to becoming a successful artist no matter what your medium is.

If you're one of those types that loves new gadgets, who learned how to log into a computer before you learned how to write in cursive, or just love to play around with new stuff—we've got just the thing for you.

This is the Grex Genesis XGi3 Airbrush. That's a hell of a name right? You know with a name like Genesis, you're going to create some wild art.

Even if you're purists and you only mess with brushes, you have to admit this thing looks pretty dope. 

In the grand scheme of things, airbrushing is still a pretty young medium. Dudes were painting on to rocks and caves back in the Stone Age, so obviously painting had been around for a long ass time.

But with airbrushing, the first models went back to the late 1880's. So not that long. Or to put it into perspective, Angelus Shoe Polish was invented by Paul T. Angelos in the early 1900's, so airbrushing and the Angelus Brand are pretty close in age. But within that 100+ year time period, airbrush popped off in a big way. And like paint brushes, the airbrush has found itself be used on custom sneakers.

For instance, this our dude Jake from Dank & Co using the Grex. He's probably one of the biggest names in customizing out right now, so let's see what he had to say about it.

(Source: jwdanklefs)

According to Jake, the quality of work that the Grex puts out is "second to none."


Like painting by hand, creating a game plan is so necessary to an ill final product. You might be spending a little longer with a paint brush, but with an airbrush you're going to have to map out that final product the same way. Either way you paint, you're only as good as your planning.

So if you ever get the chance to expand your medium, try out an airbrush. Switch things up. You never know, maybe you're going to be the go to when people talk about airbrushing masters. Could you imagine if da Vinci airbrushed the Mona Lisa? That would have been wild. 


Measuring Your Progress

If you’ve checked out our line up of Angelus Sponsored Artists, you’ll probably recognize some of biggest heavy hitters in the custom sneaker game. Nowadays, these artists kill it everytime they post a picture of their work. There’s a reason they get big, and it’s partly talent but it’s also hard work. Trial and error goes a long way.

Our owner Tyler hit up the good people at Nothing But Customs with a great idea: show us your first custom and then show us your most recent. What does your progression as an artist, or a customizer look like? How far have you come since that first try?

Luckily we got so many great responses to the question. First off, huge shouts out to everyone who posted their ‘first try’ online. That takes guts, right? I probably wouldn’t post the first ever article I wrote anywhere, so I applaud all of you.

Secondly, we picked a handful of these at random so if you’re not in here, nothing personal. We’ll do another one of these in the future. But mainly, we wanted to give some up-and-comers and mid-level customizers the spot light. Sure, we could focus on our sponsored people all day, but we wanted to see what’s out there.

So here we go: Joe Kirchner comes from Michigan and he’s the owner/operator of Resurrected_Solez. He posted his first aptly named “Spiderman 9’s.’

As you can see from the IG timeline, that was 81 weeks ago. So in just under two years he’s dropping bombs with these “Hare 6’s.”

(Source: Joe Kirchner)

Next we’ve got a young buck by the name of Thomas Vella coming out of Plainview, NY. Thomas is still setting up his name, but he’s already had a little time in the local paper. Goes to show you can be fresh to what you do, but when you hustle, your name will get out there.

He posted these colorful first tries here.

And these are his latest. How clean is that ribbon?

(Source: Thomas Vella)

Here we’ve got Dub Cuz (I could only find the AKA, but hit us up with your real name if you want it in here) out of Mobile, AL owner of Dubs Customs. For there first, Dub wasn’t afraid to take on the Suede.

And here we’ve got his latest work: a beautiful pair of 11’s. How clean are these?

(Source: Dub Cuz)

So if you’re down in the Gulf Coast, hit Dub up becauses he’s killing it with these customs.

We’re going to take a trip down under with this one. Here we have Sam Kickink Mcinnes out of Gorokan, New South Wales, Australia. It’s great to see people all over the world doing their thing.

His firsts pay homage to Vincent Vega, the slickest dude in Pulp Fiction. 

Very ambitious. And as you can see, painting characters came a long way.

(Source: Sam Kickink Mcinnes)

Check out the incredible brush work on these RoboCop-inspired customs. Incredible.

Heading up to our neighbors in the North. We’ve got Eli Falls out of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada. He’s got a nice hustle going with his Fallsy Customs. Here are his firsts:

As you can see, he did these 125 weeks ago. That’s what, two and half years or so? So let’s see what’s he’s gotten into since then.

(Source: Eli Falls)

These are his most recent. An homage to the godfathers of collaboration, the infamous Supreme New York. And these are on a pair of Pumas, good looks on thinking outside of the box.

Next we’ve got Marco Rodriguez out of Southern Pines, NC. Marco is head dude at Rad Customs, be sure check out the YouTube for some unboxing videos. What caught our eye was his comment on the picture he posted, which was “not the best but oh well.” But he still posted them! 

Huge thanks putting your first try out there. His most recents take inspiration from the Supreme x Foamposites that had people going craze a while ago. 

(Source: Marco Rodriguez)

These are very dope Marco, keep it up!

This next one is good because it not only shows a before and after, but it shows how the artist was able to variate on a theme for a few different sneakers. We’ve got Bowling Green, KY based customizer Joshua Spurlock who holds it down with Lock Customs.

For his first try, we see how the show started and how it ended. 

The bold color blocking is a great way to get started. Then, his most recent line up. Josh is representing the #forcegang with these.

(Source: Joshua Spurlock)

As you can see, Josh nailed the bold colors. This whole line up is crisp. You’ve definitely got a career ahead of you!

Patterson, NJ based Stackz Anthony came through with a great story about his first customs. If you didn't catch his post, he said that people thought his first customs, a pair of 3's, were fake. But he still wore them and posted them all the time! So rep always rep your work no matter what stage you're in.

Then his most recent customs pay homage to notorious Air Mag colorway.

(Source: Stackz Anthony)

These are wild bruh! I could see Marty McFly wearing these in Back to the Future Part... 4 or 5. So if you didn't catch a pair of the 1,500 sold, why not do your own thing like Stackz?

We've got another up-and-comer by the name of Bob Chao-Mein. According to his FB, this dude is fresh out of high school. But what's even crazier, his first customs are tagged to 125 weeks ago, so he was nailing down his custom work after 6th period. How many people were doing that?

So here are his firsts:

And then he posted these, which came about a year later. You can see his work improving.

And then his most recent. He took on the almighty Timbos for this one!

(Source: Bob Chao-Mein)

These are wild! Keep painting Bob, you're locking down those skills!

Lastly, we wanted to make some room in the spot light for Najee Daly. You had some concerns about credit being given. You want to protect your work and your name, we see you. Stop by the blog more often to catch more weekly insight and as always, the appropriate credits given since always. 

Najee hails from Mississauga in the province of Ontario, Canada. Toronto is the other big city in Ontario, which gifted the world with the one-and-only Drake. Najee's first tries pay homage to Canada's greatest MC with these XO OVO inspired customs.

Then we have these most recents.

(Source: Najee Daly)

Najee keeps the OVO theme going with these incredible camo 10's. These customs look like they could drop with the other Drake Jordan's that we talked about last week!

That’s going to wrap it up for now. In the meanwhile, keep those customs coming in. We love to see your work and how for you’ve come along. Stop by the blog at Lace Lab to see more customizers take their skill level 0-100.

Also, many thanks to everyone who put their work out there for all of us to see!

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Famous Sneakers for Famous People

Would you pay $25,000 for two pairs of Jordan III’s? Didn’t think so. If that was your shoe budget, you could probably make it last like 10 years. That is if you’re buying the right shoes. But these two pairs of J3’s are definitely running for 25K because they’re a Drake vs. Lil Wayne sample Promo set from a tour the two rappers did a minute ago. 



So the sneaks are definitely rare, and there’s definitely someone out there who is going to pick them up because of the rare or because of the Drake.


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How to Come Correct When It's Raining

If you’ve been outside lately, you can see the Fall season creeping up. Here in Southern California, maybe not as much, but at least the leaves are starting to come down. For those of you that live somewhere with actual seasons, you probably want to keep your sneakers correct. If you know Angelus Acrylic Leather Paint, you know it lasts. But what about the rain? Good question.

Imagine putting in the long hours on a Fall inspired custom job. Maybe you took some inspiration from the Air Jordan 1 Retro ‘Shattered Backboard’ that dropped in June. 


You like that Orange/Black Halloween vibe, or you remember Jumpman's crazy jersey when he brought down the backboard. So you grabbed some of our Orange and Black leather paint and did up a pair of Jordan XI’s instead OG 1’s. But when you left the house and it looked like this:

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Detroit Sneaker City

Angelus Direct is going to be in Motor City this upcoming weekend. On Saturday, August 29th, Sneaker Con is going to be in Detroit. Last month the Con made its usual stop in NYC, but this is the first time Sneaker Con is hitting up Michigan. So if you’re a Midwest sneakerhead, customizer, or enthusiast: come through!


As you may have heard, Sneaker Con has a reputation for bringing out the masses. When the Con rolls into town, sneakerheads come out. For those who aren’t in the know, Sneaker Con is the “premier sneaker event,” as they like to call themselves. They also go by “The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth,” and we’re not going to debate them on that. So if you’re looking to cop something rare, trade a pair you’ve been sitting on, or see what kind of fire other people are wearing, this is THE function to attend.

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