Need any gold on your unique custom Air Force Ones? Sole Junkie aka Steven Cedre Jr. can help you out. In the following interview you will get to know what makes Sole Junkie one of the most passionate and skilled artists out there.
(Iron Man Custom Air Force One - Buy them here)
Yo Steven, please tell us a bit about yourself and your background. Who is this Sole Junkie?
Who is SOLE JUNKIE? Very good question…
I would like to say I am a talented artist that is respected and admired by all. JK..
Well my real name is Steven Cedre Jr. I am of Puerto Rican decent and am an artist. A father and husband. Thats a hard job in itself. I am a graduate of Long Beach State University with Bachelors in Fine Arts with a Specialization in Drawing and Painting.
I’ve been through a lot in my life…like everyone else, but we all deal with our situations differently. My moms and pops both died before I was 13…grandma at 18. So all my role models weren’t available. Not trying to get a pity moment…just saying, some people don’t know what tough really is!
That sounded a bit drawn out….the reason I mention all this…is because this is what makes me, ME! I don’t ever quit…regardless! I figure if my path could help out someone else…why not mention it.
First things first, when and how did you get started with customizing kicks?
Thats a funny story…
It was an accident. Literally and accident. I came home from my boring 8-5 suit and tie job. This day I was mad tired and wanted to hang out with my son when I got home. But being tired I went into his room to just chill on his floor and watch him play till I mustered the strength to get my lazy ass up.
Well my son being my son…was jumping on the bed. He slipped, fell out of the bed and landed on my head. The way I was laying on the floor lead him to land on my head and pop out 2 discs in my neck!
Damn that hurt!!!!!!! Well after that I couldn’t lift my head from my chest for like 2 mos. I lost my job and health insurance. Shit was looking bad.
Well my brothers in NY where like man you can paint and there are these cats out here airbrushing on kicks for some change. Why don’t you paint some kicks. I did the research and did my first pair. They said to put them on myspace….and BOOM! A customizer was born!
Obviously it wasn’t the worst decision you made, looking at your current work and success. Why did you choose sneakers as canvas for your work?
Like I mentioned …sometimes life makes its own decision for you. I actually do have canvas work. I was picked up by a gallery in Long Beach. Gallery 33 East. You should check them out online. Good work.
Can you remember the first custom sneaker you did? What was it and how did it turn out?
Yeah I remember my first pair. As a matter of fact…still got them! They beat up as hell, but they are my lil treasures. They were of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos…a Puerto Rican Hero. Red, Black, Grey and White on a pair of AF1 Lo’s.
They were the catalyst to who you see now. When I put these up online…Bobbito Garcia was the first to order a pair and then he put them in his magazine “Bounce!” Talk about a luck! lol
What has changed since then? How do you think about customs now compared to back when you started?
I think I’ve evolved to an extent..I started with a simple colors and color ways. I then tried to do what seemed the most challenging to me. Portraits. i found it really hard to capture someones “Likeness”. I think it safe to say I’ve mastered that now. Now I feel like I can do anything. Still trying to step my game up with each new design. I can use real 23k Gold and make my own paint. I feel I still need to make more challenging projects….The day you feel comfortable is the day you become irrelevant!
How do people react to you when you wear customs? What do you tell them when they ask you from where you got them?
People really bug out when they see my kicks. I get positive responses for them. I love it. Its gratifying and just feels good. When they ask where did you get those and I tell them I did it…lol I get the funniest look. Like as if to say damn you look like a convicted felon, but you are definitely talented! lol
I get the same work at my newly acquired 8-5! I don’t dress for my age…still wear fitteds and kicks. lol When they find out that I can “COLOR” lol They are like. “So your a painter…nice….do you do houses? lol I say, “No I paint shoes and canvases. They say. “OOOOHHH, thats nice.” lol I work in a Law firm. lol Its funny as shit. Priceless!
Lol. I imagine a lawyer seeing his first pair of custom kicks not really knowing what to say… How do you think about the current state of the custom sneakers scene and what do you expect for the future?
The current state of Customs? I look at it like Hip Hop was in the begining. We are the Grandmaster Flashes, Furious 5, Africa Bambata’s and Kool Hercs of this movement. Still underground and a sub-culture. Its exciting to see where it will go from here. I would like to say that I made a contribution to this artform as well as make a substantial career out of it. Don’t know yet. What I do like is that there are so many artists out there doing it big. Different styles and perspectives.
What I don’t like is that I feel Customizers don’t stick together as well as other genre’s of art.
Everyone got top secret recipes and techniques. That shit is funny to me. Everything people do is a learned behavior. Very few have invented a new wheel.
I think if we come together as a whole, motivate and spread each others names around we will open doors that would never have been opened before. From hobbies to CEO of companies. Why not? If your going to be a monkey be a gorilla! Don’t half ass shit…make it big. Thats what my stand is and goal is.
Look at Skateboarding, BMX, Hip Hop, Surfing, etc…everything started with a love and passion. Now they live well and eat off their love. I want that too!
Yeah, I agree with you. You see that in many Hip Hop influenced areas. People try to keep their competitive advantage and sometimes forget to think about the whole movement. Sneaker fanatics spend big bucks on limited Nike releases that are not that special besides being limited. Maybe at some point they get it and spend that money on truly individual kicks. Custom kicks.
Can you pick one of your favorite customs you did and describe your inspiration for doing it?
I think my favorite pair was Tito Puente AF1 lo’s. They are the first shoes I put Diamonds on. Not CZ’s Diamonds! I am a fan of the underdog and unsung heroes. I loved his music and the doors he opened for others. He was also of Puerto Rican descent which made me even prouder. Still got those as well! lol
Do you sell customs? If yes what can people expect ordering from you?
Yeah man I sell my customs. Most of my work is now commissions. Which sometimes takes away from your personal work, but very welcome in the paying bills section of life! lol You can expect an ill pair of kicks from Sole!
I want you to be as proud of your shoes as I am making them for you. Whether it be portraits, patterns, gold, color ways….my joints are to be attention getters. I sew my own labels onto the kicks and they come with a disclaimer on them. Seriously…it says;
“Disclaimer: Not responsible for broken necks or hurt feelings!”
Yall customizers…don’t bite this one…lol
Do you do any other creative / art related things besides customs?
I do it all…I paint on canvases, walls, kicks, hats. Anything that has art in it …I do. For example, Martial Arts and Culinary Arts….I can get down in the kitchen! lol Iron Chef battle anyone?
Any last shouts?
A super big shout out to anyone that has ever purchased/ordered a pair of my kicks…thanks for letting me live off my art. I can not thank you guys enough. A thank you to all the publications, books, blogs, websites and anyone who has provided a platform for us artists to display our vision. Last one….to all the customizers and friends that have been there and given me feedback, help, advice or just been real cool to me. Thats what its all about.
If you had to think about if you were a friend and why I didn’t mention you….your probably not a good friend!