Sunday, August 9, 2009

Interview with Mannie, one of Anivram's Custom Sneaker Designers

Mannie is one of of the artists that does our customs here at ANIVRAM. I covered some of the customs he's made earlier on, you can see them here. He's been in the game for about four years now, making custom sneakers and selling them part time. I caught up with him Saturday night at our Sneaker Art Show to ask him some questions and see what some upcoming customs would look like.

Taylor- Alright. First Question, whats your inspiration for some of the latest customs you've made? I mean the blue and white sneakers made me feel like you were drawing on fish scales/snakeskin for some inspiration.

Mannie - Honestly I wanted it to be a funky 80's snakeskin denim look, you know what I'm saying, back in the 80's i got Croc's some tie dye and some acid wash and I just put it together and that's why it looks like that. Kinda like fish scale but kinda like Croc, you know so I'm glad. I'm happy how it came out.

Taylor - what did you use for the base for the sneakers? I'm guessing Nike Hi Dunks?

Mannie - Yep. Regular Nike Hi Dunks

T - Word?

M- Yeah that's my favorite ones. Sometimes I do Lows, but my favorite are the Highs

T - How long you've been doing customs?

M - Four years.

T - How long have you been actually rocking real sneaks though? Like we ain't talking bout Payless Shoe Sneakers here, no offense to them.

M - (laughs), Since the age of 10.

T - Do you remember what the first pair of sneakers you bought were?

M - The first ones I bought? It was the Jordan 13's, the black and red's.

T - Wow that's way back... I mean if you think about it, we are already almost up to Jordan 25's now.

M - Yeah! But that's the first pair i ever bought, with some Christmas money I had saved up.

T - Whats the most you've ever spent on a pair of sneakers.

M - 200.

T - 200? Same as me!

M - Yeah off eBay. it was a Quickstrike release, the black and blue Carolina 7's. Stores were sold out, but I wanted them so bad. I just had to get them man, so I spent about 2 and change off eBay.

T - Still got them?

M - Yeah. Wore em twice. Still in the box, still clean em when i wear em, you know.

T - Wow. So what inspires you? Let me back up a second - what inspired you to start designing sneakers in the first place? Some people start out with graffiti and then they switch over, others start out of a pure love for sneakers and wanting to make their own contribution, their own mark, and then others just want to look unique.

M - Me, it was a form of being unique. You know, like I went to school on Friday, bought some sneakers, went to school on Monday and everyone had the same shit on. So it was like, there's gotta be a way for me to switch it up. That's when I started painting, and I just took it from there. But I get inspiration from everywhere, I mean I'll be walking down the street and I'll see a brick house, and ill be like aha i can throw a brick design into these kicks! So i get it from everywhere man. It's not like one place that I go - it's what I see, what I hear. Maybe look at some pictures, read some books, and then just bring it all together.

T - And the best part is nobody can bite off your kicks.

M - Right.

T- You know, and then they say "Oh, where you got them kicks from?".

M - Exactly. I'm walking down the street and everyone is like, where you got those kicks from, where can I buy those? And the

best part is when you can say to them "I made them, I designed them". Its a good feeling. The best part to me is when I name it, give it a funky name etc. Like right now, I'm wearing "Vanilla Brownies".

T - Yeah, I couldn't help but notice them.

M - You know what I'm saying. Its a little weird but I like the name "Vanilla Brownies".

T - What are you planning to do in the next year? I mean your not making custom sneakers full time yet, or are you?

M - Nah, I'm just doing this part time right now. I didn't realize at first that I could make money off of it, I just did it so I could be different. Then people started saying, "Hey, I'll buy em!"

T - So for, lets say, your next two sneakers, what are some themes you are playing around with in your head?

M - My next two sneakers? I'm trying to do a rotten, distorted type Gothic look.

T - I would love to collaborate with you on that. I used to draw pretty often, but Ive fallen out of the habit now. But i can still do some quick sketches.

M - Yeah man definitely. I want Gothic, like medieval looking sneaks. So that's the first pair. The second pair I'm really trying to work on an all white like fur kinda thing like a snow boot. You know, the winters coming, we in August but its gonna be here soon, so I'm trying to get some snow shit together.

T - Yeah and its been a pretty mild summer so far so you know winters probably gonna come with a vengeance like RAHHHH!

M - (Laughs). Yeah so that's what I'm trying to do. Snow boots.

T - That's what up. We gonna see more of you soon right?

M - Definitely.

T - New customs coming up anytime soon?

M - Yep. Ill be around.

T - Thanks a lot Mannie.

M - No doubt man.

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