Saturday, September 12, 2009

9/11 Attacks and Hurricane Katrina tributes "Keep yo' head up" Nike Air Force 1 custom sneaker

Hello world!
It's been quite some time since I posted something, or at least something to feed you with, and I came with a full plate for you! I don't even know where to start, nor how to go about it to keep it short and to the point without leaving anything out because this pair is full of emotions.
First of all I would like to send out prayers to all of those who lost a loved one during any of these tragic event, show my up most respect to all that survived, and admiration to all of those who helped.
The idea for this shoe has been in my mind since early summer of 2008, and it is the combination of two requests from two different clients. The first client requested a pair as a tribute to the NYFD and the attacks of 9/11, and the second one requested a showcase of all the iconic locations of New Orleans. While we discussed it several times in several months with both clients, it never happened. Thats when I started thinking of combining for a showcase (mainly to save money).
As I reached the end of the summer, a chain of events started affecting me physically, spiritually, emotionally, and economically. I ended up a hospital bed all by myself for three days. I will spare you the details, but in that bed I had a lot of time to think and realize the how much value I gave to so many things that were irrelevant. This drug me into a dark whole full of anger, pain and solitude. Though I was aware that was not the right place for me to be in, I was too deep in it. And out of anger I pushed God, friends and family away from me. At the end of november, a couple of weeks after my birthdate, when my negativity was at it´s highest, I visited friends and family in NYC, and we went to ground zero, and I will never forget that day! I seen a picture there of high ranked army leader, a mature man of about 50 years old, saluting and crying, trying so hard to hold that single tear. The thought that a man who represents strength, dignity, honor, and courage, could not hold the emotion caused by the pain, that stroke me like lighting! How can I sit here and complain while is still have a roof over my head, food on my plate, and so do my family members? A couple of days later, I watched a documentary about hurricane Katrina on the History Channel, and that is when it hit me, I picked up a pair of Nike air Force 1 and chose to not only channel my pain through them, but send out a message to all of those who feel down for whatever reason: It's ok, God has a better day for you, stay strong and "keep yo' head up". This is what these custome snekaers are all about. It took me almost a year to complete these shoes because used them as a therapy, worked on the sneaker when I felt down and did not want to talk, so it is like I am encouranging others through them, and while i make them, they encourage me, twisted, I know.

The concept of these custom kicks is simple: two events, two sneakers. Each event is devided in parts, each part represented on a pannel. Part one is the actual event, the impact, the flood. Part two is the struggle, the fight for survival, the race under falling debree, or trying to stay afloat. And the final part is the aftermath, the result, the big picture.

Part one is represented on heal of the sneakers. Since these events were unexpected, and we usually get cought of guard when someone attacks us from the back, this will be how we will work our way around the sneaker.

Part two is repreented on the middle outter pannel of the sneaker. As story continues, this pannel represents the transition between the first and third part of the story. The month, day, and year of each event is featured on the front, so though we look forward and move on, we can still see it, which will make it impossible to forget.

On the last pannel time freezes, the event has passed, we no longer ask our selves "what is going on?" "this cannot be real", it is when we come to realize what happened, when we see the big picture, when we face the result of this force. The illustration of each shoe shows men watching the result of the event, now forced to move on.

The message of the shoe is on the front on the tongue. This where I started the shoe, this what kept reminding me through out the whole year as I was painting, that this was what this pair of custom sneaker was about.
The use of blue was to represent both the force of water, but also to represent how cold and shocking these two events were. The use of blue had two meanings, and that is the reason why there was more blue than red, which represented fire. These custom sneakers have one single message "keep yo' head up", but it is split in two equal halfs of 6 letters, and to keep that balance I only painted half of each logo on the back.

I really wanted to release this pair of cutom kicks on Sept 11 but I had internet issues. This pair of custom sneakers was by far my longest and most detailed job yet, and it is a tribute to two events that made me realize that, God will not put something in your path that you will not be able to overcome. As long as we remain possitive and faithful in our walk, we will be just fine. And when you think everything is going wrong, nothing works, you feel hurt, angry, alone, somebody always has it worse so "keep yo' head up"!

Once again, as always, remember that anything is possible at xclsvworld, feel free to email me for orders, share concepts, and even how you feel about the work. I know the text was long, but if you went through the whole thing, I hope it will help you out!
ps: more pics available in the video.

For orders email

XCLSV X 9/11 Attacks & Hurricane Katrina "Keep yo' head up" X Nike AF1 custom sneaker

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Global attention

As XCLSV WORLD gets bigger, it reaches the feet and computer screens of people accross the world. It has been featured and reviewed on various blogs, but this is the first article that was printed (of my knowledge). The article was in the latest issue of the spanish magazine "Aragon en portada". This was the result from the attention that the "Love, Live, Life" Creative recreation custom sneakers have gotten in the Spanish model industry. The reason for this is because they were designed for my sister, who so happens to be a international supermodel based out of Spain.
I am greatful that God has given me the oportunity to touch people around the globe, weather it is by the designe that was delivered for a client, or simply the inspiration given to readers, it touches me as much as it touches you. Thank you for visiting, and thank you for your support!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Superman Dubs custom Nike AF1

Hello world,
I am right back at you! This is what I like to call a "quickie". The order came out of nowhere, the client stopped by the shop and said "yo I need these superman asap, just throw the logo on there and make it match this hat"...

Next day, here we are! The design is pretty simple as requested per the customer, and with the little time given to think it through, and get it done in between other projects. Though the request was for a simple logo, these tend to be the toughest jobs for me, how do I make "simple" visually interesting. I give a great amount of importance to concepts and balance, and so simple and so short notice is something that is of great difficulty for me.

The design/lay out is simple, inspired by the ying yang, they areflip flop front and back, both shoes would be the same if look at front to back back to front. This is concept that I previously used on one of my personal custom sneakers the "25th bday" exclusive custom Nike AF1. I never released those so I thought I would use the idea. Once again, balance is huge for me, so though both are completelly different in lay out, they do not clash. The front view appears as if they were 2 different shoes, this will catch enough attention to make people analyze the rest of the shoe.

So here you go, if you have an up and coming event and you want something that is simple but exclusive, holla at xclsv and will get you taken carred of. Keep in mind that good things take time to process, some like a good meal, but we can always microwave it!
Thank you for stoppin by. Love and blessings.

XCLSV X "Superman Dubs" X custom Nike AF1

Monday, July 6, 2009

Patrice Lumumba and Dr. Martin L. King "Cost of freedom" Adidas Stan Smith custom sneaker

Hello world!
I must say I am excited to release these! This was a project that I thought of earlier this year, prior to Black History Month, but due to lack of time I could not get it done for myself, so I took note of the concept. Then a very special client came along, and the request was along the lines of my concept, so I presented it, she loved it, and she allowed me to follow through with it.
Some of you might know a bit of my background, but for those who do not, I was the first seed of a mixed couple, a strong and very smart Belgian man and strong and very beautiful Congolese woman. Born in 1982 in Kinshasa, Zaire (current Democratic Republic of Congo), moved to Spain at the age of 6 to escape the civil war, then to Belgium at age 15, the state of Connecticut in 2002, the northern part of Iowa in 2003, southern part of Nebraska in 2006, to Cincinnati in the summer of 2008, and now I reside in the Philadelphia area.
To me the election of president Obama was great in so many ways, one of them being that we have similar cultural backgrounds. I wanted to pay tribute not only to him, but also and mainly to those who made it possible for him to achieve his accomplishment, and for me to be able to have an education, the opportunity to play sports, get a job, and more.

My initial concept was to have Dr. MLK president Obama, as having past and future stepping together. Then I felt that my focus needed to be more on the past, and thought of using Dr. MLK and Malcolm X, and focus on the two different approaches with one common goal. All of this was great, but on one hand I felt it was cliché, it has been done plenty of times in so many different ways, and on the other hand, during black history month in the 6 years I spent in the great US of A, the focus has been almost, if not exclusively on African American history, while slavery and other forms injustice were conducted by white men in the US, this was a foreign land for African slaves. I felt the need to expose the fact that these same atrocities were conducted on the African man in its own land, and some African men stood up to and fought hoping for freedom and independence. This is the reason why I chose to feature the late Patrice Lumumba.
These two men conducted a similar fight; they were both passionate in the fight for freedom of the black man. They both found their days shorten for this reason, high price to pay for us to have the luxury of freedom and independence. Their fight was conducted in a similar time period, they were both strong but non violent, and many think their lives were taken by the same people. And as it is clearly expressed on the shoes, they fought the same fight in different lands.

The shoes feature a portrait of each man, the placement of the portraits was elected for one simple reason, I wanted both men to look forward, since their fight was for a better future for people of color. The color theme elected were green, which symbolizes balance, harmony, growth, harmony, self-respect and well-being. Green also is a complementary color to red, which leads me to our next color, which symbolizes blood, power, anger, but is a conflict of emotions such as passion, love and power. The combination the 2 was use to express not only what they individually symbolize, but also the conflict in the combination, when combined they appear to be brighter and stronger; hence if we could combine our differences we would all be brighter and stronger? haha that is a different topic, I will have something coming on that. Finally, black and white, my favorite combination of all, the mix in my blood, the strongest possible contrast, and the races involved in the topic of this pair of custom sneakers. The portrait were done in black and white to replicate the photography of the time (funny how I always find and reason to use black and white), they are surrounded by black to symbolize the people they were fighting for. The tongue and toe of the shoe was left white, to symbolize the hand of white man. You will notice paint drops in certain areas of the shoe,, red ones, black ones and white ones, they symbolize blood. The black and red ones on the white area represent the colored man’s blood shed by the white man’s hand, the red and white ones on the black areas of the shoe, represent the blood of white man that were killed by black men, but also that were killed for colored people in the mother land and the land of freedom.

This pair, along with both the Obama "Hope for Change" custom Nike AF1 and the Fidel and El Che´s "La revolucion Cubana" custom Nike AF1, are shoes that mean a lot to me due to the heavy cultural message in them, but what they have in common are two things that I want to emphasize: fight and stand for what you believe in, and do not forget your past, your knowledge determines your character, and your character determines your value as a human being, at least for those who look past your appearance.
Being that I am from here and there, and all over else, I wanted to enlighten you, or remind you that the struggle was and still is global, that colored peoples human rights were violated in places other than the US, and not only colored but also people of many other ethnicities and nations.
Finally, as always, I want to remind you that anything is possible, bring in your concepts, your ideas, and your topics, I might have something that is ready waiting to be done, and you might just be the one that will allow me the get this weight out of my chest!
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read. See you soon!!

For orders email

XCLSV X P. Lumumba and Dr. M.L King "Cost of freedom" Adidas Stan Smith custom sneakers

This will give you a little background on the fight of each of these great men...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Kobe Bryant "I told you so" Championship Nike Blazer custom sneakers

Hello world!
So I am back again, I know it has been a while, but as you can tell this time, I have been busy, veeeeeeeery busy! You probably noticed the updates on the blog, and that is to show you some of the areas that I have my hands on.
But back to the topic of the moment, the Kobe Bryant "I told you so" Championship Nike Blazer custom sneakers. The name is bold, aressive and to the point, simply because after the dispointing loss from last year, I knew this would be the year. I called it through out the year, and call the series to turn out the way they did! This is one of the few times I wish I was a gambler, I would have made a lot of money!

The design was made for one of the lucky two customers that took advantage of the special that I had going on for the only true fans. The concept was simply the recreation of a screen saver that I really liked; on the left shoe it features Kobe´s profile. The expression of this portrait is pricesless, and in my eyes expresses his drive and focus for this season. Many people struggle to recognize that Kobe has grown as a player, and went past the phase in which he needed to take a certain number of shots a game, or the franchise player phase, the colorado scandal, he is a mature player, a leader, and after last year as playing with a sense of urgency. I simply love that picture.
The right shoe features Kobe drinving. It represent his effort to win every quarter, every game, and consequently the National Basketball Association´s championship! This leads me to the back of the shoes, where I featured "2008-09 Champs", and this as a proud statement to provoque those who did not believe or did not want Kobe and the Lakers to win the championship.

This shoe was a real challenge, but one that I was more than willing to take. The order came in right after the loss of game 4, and Felx from Hungry Monkey Gear wanted to have them before the series were over. There were a few problems, and these were all the other project I had going on, along with 8:30 to 6 job that I have from monday to friday. I took the challenge and did it as a fan! I had half of one shoe done when game 5 started, and though I told everyone the Lakers would win, I was taking my time on them, going back and forth with the game. By the end of the second quarter, I started to get a strong feeling of a possible win; and once the end of the third quarter hit, I knew I had to switch to fifth gear to be able to deliver them the following day. And indeed, WE WON!

So once more I am happy to share with you, specially for the fans that feel the same way, and for those who do not, it is done for you also! Do not get too upset, and please believe that the Los Angeles Lakers will be contender for the years to come, this was simply another step towards a new dynasty.
As always you know that if there is anything you would like to express, and you would like to use unique custom sneakers as the canvas for it, you have a place to do so. I hope you enjoy these as much as I have. Thank you for taking the time to read, and have a blessed day!

For orders email

XCLSV X Kobe Bryant "I told you so" Championship X Nike Blazer custom sneakers

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Custom Kobe championship sneakers for $60!!!!!!

Hello world!!!
So, I am a huge Kobe fan, but I am pretty quiet about it. After the upseting loss last year, I am more than convinced that this is the year! If you share this feeling I have something for you! I will make a pair of Kobe champioship custom sneakers of your choice for the ridiculously low price of $60!!!! You can not beat that!!!
Here is how it works, if you place your order before the start of game 5 you will pay $60 for the work and the shipping (+$20 for international shipping), and you will provide the pair of sneakers of your choice to be customized . You will get the date of purchase on the shoe, and the number that your order was placed on. If you are sharing the feeling but you are more of a shy fan, and you purchase before game 6, you will get them for $80. And if you purchase before game 7, you will pay $100, but once the lakers win the series it will be $120. There will be no purchase number nor date for purchases made after the Lakers win the series.
The design will be similar to the Young Marley Custom Sneakers '09 edition "The Iron Lion is in Zion" custom sneakers. It will feature his face on one side, and his name or champion or a word with a max of 5 letters on the other side. The toes will be yellow, purple, or both, while the rest will be white(no custom stitchin for this offer). I will take pleasure to make each and every single pair of sneakers!!

For orders email

Monday, April 20, 2009

Olivia "Oli Queen Rock Star" custom sneakers

Hello world!!!
So I'm back, I know it has been a while but I have been busy working on my graphic design and other projects. For those who follow my custom sneaker work, you seen the star for a while and was wondering what was behind it. Started them a good month ago (or more). But without further a due, I bring to you: Olivia's "Oli Queen Rock Star" custom Creative Recreaions. I apologize for the long wait to deliver these.

Olivia came to me from the south of Spain. She fell in love with the "love live life" custom kicks, and she wanted her own twist of these custom shoes. She is an artist as well and she is a big fan of grunge illustrations and typography, but most importantly she and her peers consider Olivia Such a queen and a rock star, and at times "the rock star queen". So this pair of custom sneakers will have to embrace all of the above in order to represent her to the fullest.

This was by far the hardest/easiest job I have done so far. Our brain storming went extremelly smooth because as artists we had a lot in common, we both love black and white, strong accents, typography, and more. She has also been extremely understanding a patient, more so than I would ever be and that I would expect anyone to be. It was difficult due to the design of the shoe, the holes on the top of the shoe made it impossible to use it for any type of detailed work, the logo pin on the side was right in the middle of all the panel, messing any sense of balance (we know that in my world balance is key), the size was smaller than I expected, and last but not least, our brainstorming went so well, I had too many ideas, how to incorporate everyhting without overcrowding the custom shoe? hmmm... I got half way through it and I was ready to give up, I actually started writing an email to explain the situation and bring to her attention that I was going to start it over on another pair, and that is when it hit me and I finished them off.

The heals of the shoes features a star and a crown, simply to simbolize the "rock star queen" theme. The star is acually a replica of a pin she had on the shirt she was wearing on the picture she sent me (see video). The toes and tongues feature what I like to call "cameleon touch", it's pink, but depending on how the light hits it, it will have a gold glare to it, similar to the piscis custom nike air force ones (not published yet). The tongue also features a zebra print, you can't go rock star without animal prints!
The sides are the most interesting panels, mainly the right shoe. She love grunge typography and so do I, and since I have been experiencing with mixing both my graphic design background and the custom sneakers, I thought it would take a step further and a grunge illustration on the shoes (it started with the '09 marley custom sneakers). The result was quite satisfactory.

This project had an extremelly easy start, a rollercoaster process, and in my opinion a precise and sexy finish, you be the judge.
Once again, my job is not only to create pieces that will look appealant to the masses, but also and mainly to deliver someone's identity or feelings through art as a fashion statement. If you can see yourself express yourself in this manner feel free to email me for your own pair of custom sneakrs!

For orders email

XCLSV X Olivia "Oli Queen Rock Star" X Custom Creative Recreation