Custom Corner: Ben Smith of Brush Footwear

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Ben Smith, artist and founder of Brush Footwear, made a splash on the sneaker scene with his hand painted Vans Slip On collection for help in Haiti. Not only did the project make a difference, donating 1,500 canvas kicks, but it also put his work on the map. Since then his brand of wearable art has grown in content as well as coverage. We caught up with Ben for this week?s Custom Corner to hear his story.

What got you into sneakers?

I?ve always been into sneakers since I was a kid. Growing up, I always wanted to have new kicks and something fresh on my feet. I wanted something different and something that really stood out from everyone else?s kicks.

How did you get started making customs?

I?ve been drawing and into art ever since I could remember. Being into sneakers it was just a matter of time before I started to draw on my shoes. I was probably about 13 or so when I was bored in school and just started drawing on my Chuck’s. It just grew from there from trying markers and other techniques, then finally getting into making a painting on the shoe and making it a true piece of art.

Which creation is your personal favorite?

I can?t even begin to pick a favorite. I really like them all; they all have something different you can get from each piece. If I had to pick it would be doing a totally new design that I haven’t done yet. I love to have a design in my head and see the process it takes until it’s a finished piece of art.

Vans Slip On "Masks" Custom Collection by Brush Footwear

Who have you done work for?

First off, it’s awesome to do work for any client. To be able to wake up, make art, and have people that want it and enjoy it is great! I have been able to have my work on some people such as Dave Mirra, Marc-Andre’ Fleury of the Pittsburgh Penguins, Max Talbot of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Brandon Boyd of Incubus.?It’s been an honor to have my work on these people. I’m in the process of working on some pieces for some exciting new clients too!

Are your designs meant to be wearable or as a display piece?

All of my designs are meant to be wearable! I think it is awesome to have people wearing my art around. It gets exposed and appreciated by more people than if it was just sitting on the wall in your house. Although, I have had people say they don’t really like to wear them because they like them so much and just want it as a display.

What?s your general design process?

I do rough sketches of some ideas that I have for the shoe and refine that into a final draft. I then start to clean, prepare, and base coat the shoes with a couple coats of paint. After that, I hand draw the design onto the shoe and then start painting the design. I finish it off with a clear protective coating to ensure the life of the artwork.

Converse Chuck Taylor "Studded" Custom by Brush Footwear

How much time does a project typically take?

It really depends on the complexity of the design. I can have some shoes that take about 15-20 hours and I can have some of my more detailed shoes take up to 35-40 hours. There is a lot of time that goes into designing and making the final product.

Where do you take inspiration from?

I can take inspiration from just about everything in life! I?feel that nature is one of?the greatest displays of art and a huge inspiration for me.?I also am really inspired by all types of music and different cultures.

Related Posts:


Leave a Reply