This blog post is meant to not only show you how to paint custom Jordans, but also give you a glimpse into my world of being a professional sneaker artist. A little bit about me: I'm Blake Barash, a 36 year old sneaker artist living in Newport Beach, CA. I have been customizing sneaker as a full time profession for 10 years. I have painted nearly every kind of shoe and have a lot of success and failures along the way. Some of my successes have been brand collaborations with companies like Red Bull, Target and Dr. Pepper. I have painted custom sneakers for Bruno Mars, Halsey, Zedd, Katt Williams, LL Cool J, Chrissy Tiegan and many others. Some of my failures have been paint getting ruined, repainting shoes, or clients ghosting me over email after having put in a lot of time and effort into mock-ups.
In the paragraphs below, I'm going to tell you the changes I've made in my customization journey to avoid these issues. I am also going to lay out how I painted shoes custom shoes from start to finish. I was contacted by Martell Cognac asking me to custom paint some shoes based on one of their products.
When working with companies like this, I like to show them what they’re going to get if they decide to work with me. Although it’s cool to work with big companies on custom sneaker projects, it’s important to not paint something you won’t want to paint. I’ve turned down countless jobs because I’ve been asked to do something I wasn’t comfortable with or that I didn’t have experience with. This allows me to do a good job on the task at hand.
When asked to create custom Jordans based off the Martell Cognac brand, I took the base shoe from Nike.com and made the mock-up on the stock picture.
Using the Procreate app on my iPad Pro, I made a few different mock ups showing the options. Since it’s difficult to show what my gold airbrush paint looks like though a digital mock-up, I put a drop of my gold airbrush paint onto a table for the client to see what they would be getting.
These were the final mock-ups the client approved off. They liked the idea of having the Navy blue and gold panels with the gold laces. They liked the gold Nike swoosh and the white negative space. I felt it looked clean like it came from the factory. We placed the Martell logos on the heels and the on the side of the left shoe.
Since gold paint is covered up nicely by the navy paint, I didn’t feel the need to be careful taping. This allowed me to airbrush the gold on and get full coverage. I laid down some gold on the side of the left shoe so I could place my Vinyl Martell logo Stencil on top of that before I painted the navy.
This next picture you will see how I now taped over the gold and placed on the Martell logo. I am now ready to airbrush the navy blue onto the shoes. Doing a good tape job is important so you can minimize cleaning up overspray at the end when you take off the tape.
In the picture below you'll see I used a navy blue airbrush paint that matched the Martell Cognac's brand color. This is a special color that comes pre-mixed from Jacquard. I have some of these airbrush paints for sale on my website.
This paint dries a different shade than it looks when wet. It's important to let the paint dry 24 hrs before putting tape over it. You can see in the image above I had to tape over the gold sections to paint the blue. This entire shoe was done with airbrush.
Thank you to Lace Lab for providing the beautiful gold leather laces.
The Jordan 1 is my favorite sneaker to customize. The Jordan 1 Yin Yang in white or black is my all time favorite. Even though these Martell Cognac Jordans are Midtops, they were fun to paint. Martell has a nice color combination with the navy blue/ gold and the bird logo they have is really cool looking. I look forward to to working with Martell on more of these customs in the future and adding some In-Real-Life On-Foot shots to this blog post.
Interested in requesting some custom shoes? Please submit a Custom Order Form: https://bstreetshoes.com/pages/custom-order-form