It doesn’t have to be always Custom Air Force One riiight? Desp1 one does them all and with all I mean all of the hot kicks out there. Puma Clydes, Adidas Superstars you name it and chances are Desp1 already customized one of them. Learn more about the artist in the following feature.
First things first, when and how did you get started?
I have been an artist/writer for 11 years of my life. At age 12 i took a trip to New York City with my parents, and everywhere i turned i saw scribbles, letters, and characters drawn on walls, something made me fall in love with it. When i returned to Moscow i purchased some sketch paper and tried to replicate the pictures i saw in NYC, I was fortunate to travel to many countries in my life and everywhere i went the first thing i looked for was graffiti. By age 17 my graffiti life came to a halt because of massive legal issues, that made me move my work from walls to canvas. That’s when i started to apply stencil art to T-shirts and learning how to work with fabric paint. About 3 years back i saw some sneakers online that i have never seen before, so i did some research and found out that they where custom painted by Methamphibian and that blew my mind, i could not fathom the concept of painting sneakers so i had to try it. And thats how i got into sneaker customizing.
Why did you choose sneakers as canvas for your work?
As i said i had to try painting kicks after i saw those Meth joints. The reactions i got from my first pair just made me make another one and another one and it just stuck.
Can you remember the first custom sneaker you did? What was it and how did it turn out?
Man thats hard to answer because i did graffiti on kicks before i actually got into customizing so i say the first pair of kicks i did was a pair of beat Nike Mid AF1′ from 2002 with denim checks. What i did on them was a Wild Style of Desp1 on the left side panel of the left kick and a Tag with some splatter on the right panel of the right kick, I used paint markers (graffiti markers) and faded 3 shades of blue in the Wild Style. And my first real custom was a pair of white on white Mid Top AF1’s, and what i did was a Tetris pattern on the toe and heel panels with blue nike swooshes. It turned out ok well it was good for a first custom but it was wack in terms of design, but i got a lot of good reactions from it so that kept me going in terms of making kicks.
What has changed since then? How do you think about customs now compared to back when you started?
Hahahaha everything has changed, the whole game has changed. You cant keep doing same design over and over again you know, you evolve. My approach to making a custom has changed for sure, ranging from the way i prep to how i mix paint to how i design the kicks man everything has changed. You cant be in this game if you don’t push the limits so evolution is a must.
How do people react to you when you wear customs? What do you tell them when they ask you from where you got them?
I think that every customizer will answer this question the same way, people break they necks when they see the kicks we make. I can truly say that every time i wear a pair of my custom kicks i get stopped at least 10 times by people. If people ask me about my kicks the first thing i do is give them a business card and then i explain how i have them you know.
How do you think about the current state of the custom sneakers scene and what do you expect for the future?
Well to me the current state of the game is good, meaning that there are customizers such as EL, EF, Sekure D, Hype, Jester, RobL, and others that are pushing this game to new levels and making kicks that are out of this world. But there is also a lot of cats that are coming out with the same recycled designs over and over again just to make some money and that kills the game. I do customs because i got love for the artistic side of it, im not here just to make a quick buck. I have massive RESPECT for the customizers i named above because they are pushing the culture for everyone not just to make some money.
Yeah, same thing as the streetwear and clothing industry. Copycats kill the game. Can you pick one of your favourite customs you did and describe your inspiration for doing it?
Its hard to pick a favourite custom for me because i love every pair i made, but if i had to really choose i would have to say the Tribe Called Quest Adidas Shelltoe. I love the MM album, the cover art was crazy and that was my main inspiration for the kicks. It was something about the design of the figure with the yellow outline that just had me stuck i loved it.
Do you sell customs? If yes what can people expect ordering from you?
Yea i do sell customs. What can people expect? Lets see they always get treated with respect and honesty, i try to work around the customers budget, we guarantee no reproductions of each order, we work closely with the customers to make sure they get what they want like Burger King lol, but yea we do solid work on time and for good prices, we also ship international and domestic. We also like to receive picture of our customers with the customs they orderd for our photobook.
Do you do any other creative / art related things besides customs?
Dont even get me started, well i am a certified barber, i compose music and write lyrics, i have been breakdancing for 8 years, and im a graffiti artist. That’s pretty much it.
Any last shouts?
Definitely, first of all i wanna shout out my Mother and Father for all the support and love that they give me on a daily basis. Second i wanna shout out my business partners Andrew The Count Christou and Jordan M1N Enskat for supporting and pushing me to new hights. Third i wanna shout out Jester, EL, EF, Sekure D, Ghettro, RobL, Hype, and others for pushing this game to new levels, and giving pointers to new cats like me. So Peace Love and Respect to everyone Desp1 Fresh&Fly Customz
Thanks Desp1, keep up the good work.