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Everyday at Angelus Direct, we send our product out into the world by the thousands. Sometimes we get lucky enough to see what we helped create. When our paint ends up on something incredible, we’re going to keep an eye on the artist. If the artist is consistently putting out high quality work, they might be a candidate to be one of our Angelus Direct Sponsored Artist.
We sponsor the best in the custom sneaker business, with a few world class artists, and a couple personalities thrown in the mix. You probably know quite a few of the names on this list, and their custom work might come at a steep price, but you know already know why. We suggest you stay up on the names you don’t know, because they’re going to blow up soon!
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This is what Angelus Brand paint is supposed to look like!
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Poughkeepsie, NY native Dan Gamache fell in love with two things early on: art and sneakers. Growing up, Mache spent his free time sketching portraits and drawing up his own sneaker designs. This love for the sneaker game and fine arts only grew as Mache went on to college and beyond. After getting bored with current colorways, he threw his first design on a pair of “beat up Air Max 90s,” he says. The rest is history.
Mache perfected his craft, and his reputation grew. Over the years, some of the wildest designs in custom sneaker history have come from out Mache’s workshop. If you’ve ever seen a portrait diligently created on a sneaker, or a pair of Lebron 9’s painted like an old-school fighter jet,  that’s Mache. His custom jobs are wearable works of art, and for that he’s considered one of the best to put a paintbrush to a sneaker.
@mache275
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Jake Danklef hails from San Antonio, Texas. But don’t let the name fool you, Dank & Co. is solely the work of Dank, one painstakingly detailed custom at a time. Dank creates one-off customs, so if you didn’t catch a pair the first time around, they’re gone.

Dank’s artist sensibility is drawn from a wide variety of influences. He takes note from various sources like the well-known eBay colors, Whattaburger, De La Soul, and more. Dank captures his inspiration to create some amazing kicks. But this goes above and beyond a paint job, from shoebox to insole to tags and inserts, Dank makes an entire custom package for each sneaker. When you look at Dank’s cement customs, it’s easy to forget that he hand-paints each design. This extreme attention to detail has made Dank one of the most sought after custom artists out.
@jwdanklefs
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Zadeh of Zadeh Kicks is a veteran in the sneaker game, keeping a vault of rare, custom, and unreleased sneaker knowledge. After years of collecting some of the most unique sneakers to drop, from Jordans to Nikes, Zadeh studied footwear design with hopes of creating his own high-end sneaker company. Before you can grab a pair from the Zadeh Kicks in-house line, you’ll have keep up on his site for rare sneakers and exclusive customs.

At Zadeh Kicks, the goal is always customer satisfaction. Not only can you purchase some of the hottest sneakers of the season, you can also find rare and limited releases that you might have slept on the first time around. And this isn’t some eBay con-job, Zadeh sells the real deal, 100% authentic with the box. But Zadeh Kicks takes it a step further than just the rare and limited, Zadeh’s custom sneakers are what’s up. Offering custom services, including Midsole work for Jordan Futures and Infrared work for Air Jordans, this is the spot to diversify your  collection. Who else would throw paint on a pair of Foamposites and make them look better than the OG?
@zadehkicks
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Dejesus Customs is a design team based out of Chicago Illinois. Started by brothers Dillon and Daniel Dejesus in 2011, Dejesus Customs has become custom sneaker institution. These guys aren’t just customizers, they’re artists who use sneakers as a canvas. The Dejesus brothers both have extensive backgrounds in visual art, and creative design. So as a team, the brothers are making some of the wildest abstract customs around.

If you keep an eye out, you can catch a Dejesus Custom job on the field at Lion’s Game or a Lambeau Field. Dejesus Customs have laced up some of the NFL’s biggest stars with their one-of-a-kind custom cleats. Keeping with the sports theme, when these guys aren’t crushing it with their abstract custom work, they make some of the best team-inspired designs around.
@dejesuscustoms
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Chicago, Illinois comes correct with Astrotorf Customs. Astrotorf is an OG sneakerhead that specializes in Jordan, Puma, Adidas, Reebok. His work goes off! Torf’s paint work is incredibly clean when he’s doing color swaps or paying homage to one the cities legacy sports teams. So if you’re in the Windy City and need to something rare for your feet, hit him up.
@astrotorfcustoms
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If you’ve ever seen a wavy Swoosh on a pair of all-white Roshes, it’s gotta be the work of Sydney Kay Customs. The wavy Swoosh is a simple tweak to the classic Roshe silhouette, but it’s done with precision and exact detail, as seen on the tongue and the custom box. Waves are a common thread running through Syd Kay’s past and present custom work. Before she was mixing up the Swoosh for all the #teamroshe heads, she was laying down some incredible photorealistic ‘Ocean’ themed work on classic canvas Vans.

The Cincinnati, OH based artist takes a fresh approach to sneaker customization, creating insane  pieces with color gradient style paint work. Sydney’s detail to color change on the signature “Oil Spill” theme makes a pair of shoes look like they’re in motion. While she’s a new name in customizing, her artistic sensibility is shining through.
@sydneykaycustoms
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We’re proud to sponsor the talented David E. Zambrano of DEZ Customz. This Silver Spring, Maryland based artist takes cues from the vibrant world of street art to create some of the wildest custom jobs out. You wouldn’t know it, but DEZ is a self-taught artist who applies graffiti-inspired hand styles to his custom work.

@dezcustomz
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Kreative Custom Kicks aka Mohammed Kamal Gafar hails from Maryland. Him and his colleague DEZ run the custom game in the Old Line State. Kreative has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Maryland, with a focus on sculpture and painting, so you know his work is legit.

He’s had a well-rounded art career, using many different, ranging from metal sculpting to canvas painting as his mediums for creative expression. When it comes to custom sneaker work, Mohammed Kamal applies these meticulously-crafted skills to airbrushing. He prides himself on versatility, so be sure to catch one of his airbrushing pieces before he switches things up.
@kreativecustomkicks
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Coming out of Lexington, Kentucky is True Blue Customs & Restoration. For the past few years, True Blue has been killing it with custom jobs for a number of athletes. You might see a pair of his custom, hand painted cleats on the pitcher’s mound at Citizen’s Bank Park or some of Jordan XI running up the court of Rupp Arena during March Madness.

True Blue also specializes in restoration projects, so he’s the man to talk to in Kentucky if you finally come across a pair of vintage BRED’s on eBay. His restoration work is widely recognized as one of the best, giving a second life to a pair of well worn sneakers.

@truebluecustoms
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Portland, Oregon based artist Shme is the queen of custom canvas sneakers, turning anything from Vans to Cons to Janowski’s into a work of art. Shme got her start customizing canvas sneakers with a Sharpie. Through trial and error, she dialed in the artistic skills she uses today. Her canvas skills are no joke, and she’s widely recognized as one of the best new talents in the custom sneaker world. Shme’s artistic style ranges from pop art to comic book characters to tattoo flash, all done on canvas sneakers.

In 2014, Shme’s custom skills brought her down to Sneaker Con L.A. when she was invited to compete at Sneaker Con Ace of Custom competition. Shme is one of a handful of expert customizers to compete on in the event, and this is for good reason. If you’ve ever seen Shme’s work on a pair of Chuck Taylor High-Tops, her work looks like it was torn from the pages of a comic book or from the wall of an art gallery.

@shmecustomkicks
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SneakerKraftKustoms aka SneakerKraft aka Al is a Southern California based custom artist who has an arsenal of wild ideas ready to be unleashed onto a pair of Roshes. Plenty of sneaker customizers have a favorite shoe they work with and SneakerKraft is no different with the Roshe.

SneakerKraft turns the relatively subtle Roshe silhouette into a canvas for into eye-popping abstract and experimental art. She specializes in neon color packs and custom galaxy paint jobs, so if you’re in the market for a new pair of Roshes, check out her page.
@sneakerkraft
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Kendra Thomas is the proprietor of Kendra’s Customs, another custom sneaker outfit based out of the Pacific Northwest. Whether Kendra’s doing a whole new colorway for a pair of Roshes or just switching up the color on the Swoosh, each pair is hand painted with Angelus Paint. So you know the design is going to incredible and the color is going to pop!

@kendrascustoms
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Southern California is a place where a variety of lifestyles and artistic cultures mash up. From surf to skate and hip hop to punk rock, it has it all. Chad Carothers, better known as ChadCantColor is a So Cal based artist that pulls from these different influences. Whether Chad’s art is on a canvas or on a pair of sneakers, you can spot some new school tattoo, a bit of graffiti lettering, with some pop art colors thrown for new measure.

Chad is the definition of a working artist. Over the years, he’s created designs for action sports companies, painted custom murals, and shown in different galleries and museums all over the globe. When Chad applies the same technique to art that would go onto surfboard or the hood of a classic Camaro, he creates some of the most stunning custom sneakers out.  
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Like many artists before him, Buffalo-based artist and sneaker customizer known simply as theheyyman let’s his work speak for itself. While you might not have seen his face before, or only know the bandana moniker, his work is recognizable for its unique and inventive approach to creating one-off custom sneakers. Over the past few years, theheyyman has produced a sizeable portfolio of ‘wearable works of art.’ His repertoire ranges from clean color swaps to themed paint jobs to cut-and-sew transformations, showing how far an artist can take a sneaker customization.

You can find thetheyyman at Buffalo’s Sole High, a sneaker boutique where he is the in-house sneaker customizer. This goes to show when you have to get a consultation for custom sneakers, you’re getting work from a true professional. So if you’re in Buffalo, check out Sole High to see theheyyman’s work up-close or maybe even catch a glimpse of the mysterious masked artist in person.

     
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Some times, a pair of custom sneakers is only the start. For Los Angeles based designer Suheel S., better known as the brains behind Feelgood Threads, customization is a pair of sneakers, custom joggers, a fresh graphic tee, and more.  

While Suheel is known as an incredible sneaker customizer, he is also something of a Renaissance Man. Not only does he also craft some of the most technical custom sneaker available, from flipping color ways to swapping out soles, he also runs streetwear brand Feelgood Threads. Feelgood focuses on sneaker centric graphics and intricate cut-and-sew pieces, including joggers and bomber jackets.

For fashion inspiration, check the @feelgoodthreads Instagram and be sure to check out the YouTube channel as more videos start rolling in.

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Alexander-John is a multifaceted artist with an extensive resume as a photographer, sneaker customizer, and interior/footwear/fashion designer. He’s known for his clean aesthetic and outstanding design skills, creating one-of-a-kind pieces in many different mediums. His custom work has been featured in Hypebeast, Complex, and Nicekicks amongst others.

When it comes to running a custom design business, Alexander-John is killing it; his hand painted Camo Ultra Boosts are one of the most coveted custom sneakers out right now. Be sure to keep up with this one, because his work is on top right now, you might catch him collaborating with some of the hottest up and coming brands out.
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Boyarde Messenger is a professional artist that hails from across the Atlantic. Her artistic avenues include bodypainting and photography, but she’s become internationally recognized for her handpainted design work on designer handbags. Based in London, Boyarde has been a fixture on the British art and fashion scene, having worked with high-end fashion houses like Charlotte Olympia. In the past, she was commissioned to paint 100 handbags that were exclusively sold at Neiman Marcus.

Her inspiration ranges from pop artists like Roy Lichenstein to pop culture figures like Miss Piggy and her primary medium is the designer leather handbag. So if you’ve ever thought that Angelus Paint going on to a pair of coveted Air Yeezy’s was wild, think about it going on a Louis Vuitton bag. Next level!
@boyarde
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Mathew Fabris, better known as Sekure D is graffiti artist, customizer, and sneakerhead based out of Melbourne, Australia. What first started as a part-time hobby has grown to a well-respected career in art direction and customization. Sekure D isn’t just a well know artist ‘down under,’ his art has been shown in galleries in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Since he started working as an artist full time, he’s dropped collaborations with the world’s biggest sneaker companies; Nike, Jordan and Adidas to name a few.

Sekure D is also known for his insane collectable toy figurines and custom masks. If you’ve ever seen a picture of a custom painted Iron Man mask that looks more graffiti than classic Marvel, it’s probably a Sekure D custom job. When he’s not painting masks or sneakers, Sekure D has worked with OG vinyl toy makers Kidrobot. This dude is a constant inspiration for how far custom artists can go with their creativity!
@sekured
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Ashley Brayson is a UK based artist that specializes in photorealistic portrait work. Ashley’s portrait work is intricately crafted and lifelike, but that’s not even the best part. Ashley's main canvas is wallets so he’s basically reproducing portraits on a 4.5 x 3.5 inch leather square. Recreating someone’s features on an average-sized cloth canvas is hard enough, let alone on a ‘pocket sized’ wallet, so Ashley is easily one of the best in his field.

Ashley is also an avid product reviewer that runs a successful YouTube channel. When he’s not giving you the ones and twos on a new product, he’s making informative How-To videos for all the aspiring portrait artists and leather painters out there.
@ashleybrayson
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If you’ve ever needed advice on a custom paint job or need to know the facts on a pair of sneakers, our boy Alex aka SneakerHeadInTheBay runs one of the most informative YouTube channels out there. Alex, as his YouTube moniker says, is San Jose native that loves sneakers. His channel runs the gambit of the sneaker world, ranging from new shoe reviews to informative How-To videos. Alex’s channel is a great resource to look into when you’re stuck on a custom job, need some pointers for getting started, want a new pair of sneaks, or just want to laugh.
@sneakerheadinthebay
@sneakerheadinthebay
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Our guy Paul Cantu runs a super funny YouTube channel that touches on everything you love, ranging from pop culture to sneakers, customizing, fashion and so on. When he’s not hosting his popular ‘Trip to the Thrift’ series, Mr. Cantu is dropping knowledge on how to ball on a budget, how to restore your sneakers, and even how to cut your own hair.

Basically, Paul is like a How-To life coach for the sneakerhead generation. So when you need some advice on how to be tight, or you’re just looking to be entertained go check out his page right now!
@mrpaulcantu
@mrpaulcantu
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Something must be in the air up in the Bay Area, because the YouTube personalities coming out of there are A1. In his short time making videos, Davidgotkicks has blown up. From custom Yeezy tutorials to unboxing to the ins-and-outs of acquiring custom soles, David will tell you the good word.

For all the #TIFFANYBOYZ out there, David is your guy. His videos are informative, and also highlight how skilled of a customizer and artist he is, whether he’s using our Gift Box Blue paint or not. Did you ever want to know how to make your own Gucci x Nike slides or what a Tiffany Hoverboard would look like? If you have, check out David’s channel.

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Maybe making your own pair of color changing slides has never crossed your mind, but this is a very real idea for Sophie Saldana, or Sophiesophss as she’s known to her YouTube followers. Not only did she paint that pair, but she made a really funny video that turned a process closer to chemistry than art into something accessible and easy to understand. That is exactly why Sophiesophss is part of the Angelus Direct family.

Beyond her artistic talents as a sneaker customizer, Sophie makes incredibly well produced videos. If she’s not filming a trip around town looking for sneaker gold for her Ballin’ on a Budget Series, then she’s making step-by-step How To videos. Sophie goes the extra mile, taking a cinematographer’s approach to her videos with crisp close up shots, animations, and text to walk you through the process. Whether you need some style inspiration or painting techniques, go hit the subscribe button on Sophiesophh's channel.