One of the most well respected and creative minds in the custom sneaker world goes by the name of Kickasso. The South Carolina-based artist is known for his expressive paint work on todays hottest sneakers. Kickasso, also known as Troy Cole, has been adding his imaginative touch to all sorts of silhouettes by using special airbrush techniques and adding different textiles.
Kickasso has been recreating shoes for some of the biggest celebrities in the sports and music industry and looks to expand his high profile clientele as well as possible partnerships with major collaborations.
We chopped it up with Kickasso to find out about his current work, the come-up in the sneaker game and his favorite pair of kicks that he’s designed.
What inspired you to start customizing sneakers?
I was inspired by others who were painting shoes.I saw their work, and I was like “hey I can do that, let me give it a shot.”
What was the first sneaker you customized and at what age?
The very first shoe I customized was a Jordan 6 oreo, which I made into a bio- mechanical theme.
What made you want to get into the game of customizing sneakers?
I’ve always collected sneakers and I’ve always been artistic, so I just combined two of my passions and Kickasso was born.
How long does it usually take you to make a sneaker? And what’s the pair that took you the longest to create?
A typical pair will take about 6 hours from start to finish . I once took about 20 hours to complete a pair of midevil themed Jordan 4s for Joe Haden of the Browns.
What’s the sneaker that you love to customize the most?
LeBrons are super fun, and it’s a great canvas.
Can you tell a bit about your procedure when it comes to customizing shoes?
I just get an idea in my head about where I want to go with a shoe , then it’s prep and tape, paint , touch up, and package.
Give me a rundown of the celebrities that you’ve customized sneakers for?
I’ve done sneakers for Wiz Khalifa, TI, Trinidad James, DMX, Naughty by Nature, B.o.B., Chumlee (PawnStars), Joe Haden , Phil Taylor, Thomas Davis, Brandon Lafell, Vernon Davis, Nate Robinson, Wilson Chandler, AL Harrington, Austin Rivers , Lance Stephenson, Shane Victorino and lots more. The list can go on.
What celebrity calls you the most to get his sneakers customized?
Joe Haden has about 8 pair of my sneakers and Phil Taylor has about 6 pair.
A celebrity that you desire to customize a sneaker for?
I really would like to collaborate on a pair with Kevin Durant.
Is there a shoe that you refuse to customize?
Nope. I’ll do any shoe.
With so many people customizing sneakers nowadays, do you feel like it’s getting over-saturated?
It does seem to be that I see a new customizer everyday, but once people realize how hard it is to make a living doing shoes, they fizzle out fairly quickly. Very few are putting out consistent quality work.
What shoe would you like to work that you haven’t?
I’ve worked with just about every sneaker out there honestly.
What’s the price range for one of your sneakers?
Base price starts at $250.. highest price was $11,000
What’s your favorite shoe of all-time?
I’m proud of the cherry blossom KD 6 I did for Sneaker Con. My favorite sneakers for me personally are SB’ s and Dunks , I’ve got a couple hundred pairs.
Out of all the sneakers you’ve customized, which one is your favorite and why?
My favorite are the Ocean Wave 6′s I did for Phil Taylor. They look just like waves and the colors pop so well. I even added textured water droplets to them.
Are you working on any sneakers at the time for a major celebrity?
I’ve got some things in the works with Mark Wahlberg that is pretty hush hush.
Since we are XXL, give me three of your favorite rappers of all-time?
Favorite rappers are Techn9ne , DMX, and Yelawolf.