Nous Culture sat down with Malcolm Garret, a sneaker custom artist from Paterson, New Jersey to talk about his customs. With customs becoming a bigger and bigger part of the sneaker game, we wanted to get a sense of the industry from an artist’s perspective. Check out the interview below and a couple samples of Malcolm’s custom work above. Take a look of some more of Malcolm’ work on his website and Instagram.
How did you get your start doing customs?
One day, I just woke up and wanted to try it out. I grabbed some brushes, found out what paint I needed, bought the starter kit, and did a few of my shoes first. The idea that I could do this has now turned into
a part time job, with the potential to be full time as long as I stick to the task ahead.
What’s your favorite custom design, and what inspired it?
My favorite custom design would probably be the Nike Air Max 1 “chameleons.” It was such a different design for me. The colors used, the blend of the colors, it just all mixed together so well. The cherry on top is the gum sole bottom. Any shoe with a gum bottom is LIT!
What makes your work different from other artists?
Every artist is different in their own way. What makes me different is my use of colors, and how my specialty is making customs look like they could actually be company releases. A lot of custom artists do detailed work with pictures or a theme, but I stick to the idea of whether or not my work looks like a released sneaker. My stuffs not better or worse than what other people are doing, I’m just not into making customs that don’t look like they could be released. My job is to provide customers with that one-of-one custom shoe that looks so factory it makes people say, “Damn when do those come out ?”
What types of sneakers make for good customs?
Any shoe that is all white. Sometimes all black works too, and even grey shoes can be customized. The material should be leather, cloth, or suede because the paint works best on those materials. Some artists do patent leather kicks too, but I don’t want to take the chance of paint cracking on it. I prefer to avoid the potential of having to keep fixing a shoe that keeps cracking.
What’s your dream project? Custom or otherwise
My dream project is to create my own shoe from scratch. Everything from the materials, to the shape, to the colors. I want it to really be my shoe, and then potentially grow my brand to the point that I have head honchos calling asking me for assistance.
What are the newest trends in the custom market?
Reconstructing shoes, and adding stitching is in right now. You see that rose stitch everywhere, similar to the one Gucci is putting on apparel. Bape and that whole bape camo is heavy right now too. Other things you’re starting to see are glow in the dark paint, color changes under different temperatures, and a couple of other fun little tweaks that keep things fun and exciting.