Revive Customs x Run DMC x adidas Superstar
- MODEL: ADIDAS SUPERSTAR
- TYPE: BASKETBALL
- CUSTOMIZED BY: REVIVE CUSTOMS
- MADE IN: UNITED STATES
- MADE ON: --/13
Great opportunities may not come around that often – and when they do we’re often told to seize the moment – so when Hip Hop legends Run DMC call, wanting you to customize four pairs of the iconic adidas Superstar for their upcoming commercial, what can you say?
Evan Macpherson, aka Revive Customs, said “Yes!” and after all the Hip Hop madness, Evan and I got together to discuss this and a few other common interests.
Hey Evan, thanks for taking the time to catch up with us here at eatmoreshoes. It seems we have a few shared interests [winks], including a passion for music. What are you are into?
I like rap, Hip Hop, funk, soul, disco, and reggae. Really, I don’t like discriminating on genre alone. I try to listen to a little bit of everything. I like beat digging too; going to the record store and going through the dollar bin. And even though I like listening to older music I also try to stay current as much as I can.
Does this passion extend to making beats, DJing too?
No, I don’t make beats, but I spin for myself. I would do house parties if my friends wanted me to DJ or I was having a party at my house. But I would like to take it more seriously, eventually evolve my brand into doing mixtures. I wanna do shoes for rappers and then have them on my mixtape.
It is easy to see your passion in your custom work; does your interest in music consume you as well?
I think I like getting lost in things. I would spend a day in a record store, looking through the records. It’s like inspiration, the album art, the songs, and the producers. Seeing people like DJ Shadow with his record collection, it makes you wonder how they got into it, makes you want to get into it too. You kind of understand why they’re so obsessive, that they’re trying to make a masterpiece.
We know you customize shoes, but you collect a few too, right? Any new purchases or favourites?
I know a spot down the street, the guy there takes me down into the basement where they have vintage adidas. They got originals, a whole basement full of OG shit. They have the Stan Smiths, the Phantoms, it’s crazy. Brooklyn has a lot of spots to get sneakers for cheap, but this place is like the best, I’ve been looking my whole life for somewhere like this so I’m going to go a bit crazy down there.
So you’re into some old school classics, Superstars too?
I like adidas shoes but I’ve actually never owned a pair of Superstars! It’s because they don’t fit well on me. A lot of the shoes I wear are different from the ones I paint. I try to wear things that people aren’t wearing in the street. I got some Marathons and some old school stuff like Phantoms, EQTs. I like wearing OG shoes, rather than re-releases.
So was the Superstar something you had considered before?
I appreciate the look of it. The JMJ and the BAPE ones, they were pairs I wanted, but I never got around to getting them. There are a lot of sick ones though!
And with the Superstars for Run DMC?
I actually would have made those anyway. But it’s kinda like the thing that Run DMC wore them, meant it was a fitting base. Sometimes I think it’s not so much what I like it’s the design; does it fit the design? Run DMC rocking the shell toe without the laces, that was the main choice for the shoe.
So how did it happen?
My man Juice from adidas New York, he told adidas global that he knew someone. They needed to get the project done really quickly. I did a shoe with them before, the Singer sewing machine shoe. This was supposed to be a project with Dan Gamache (Mache Customs) but this project never worked out. It was tough for me to turn it around in a week and Dan was so far away in Connecticut. So I posted the shoes even though it never worked out, but I don’t consider that an official collaboration with adidas. The Run DMC shoes, however, are official. They hit me up the second time. It was a Tuesday and they were like “we need the shoes by Thursday”. I got the shoes on Wednesday night! I had exactly twenty four hours to do four pairs of shoes. What??? Four pairs! They wanted some extra pairs too.
I hope you got paid?
Yeah, it was professionally paid and so it was cool. As a custom artist I’m beginning to see the possibility of it actually working out a bit better than just painting for friends, y’know? If you’re working for a company they’ll pay you a respectable wage. The kids don’t understand that. Kids are like “I don’t understand why these shoes are $600″, and I tell ‘em: “Well it’s like having a tattoo right? You pay your artist for the time it takes to do the tattoo.” Brands like adidas understand that it takes time and that you’re a designer and trying to live off of what you do.
[both knowingly laugh]
What did you do with them? How did you approach it? [still not seen the finished shoes at this point]
They gave me four Tec packs and I had to do four shoe renditions of the same thing. I didn’t sleep for the entire time. I got some supplies from the art store, prepped the shoes, and then painted all the circles, squares, and funny shapes by hand; I used a small paintbrush and Angelus paints. They wanted the Run DMC lettering and the trefoil logo on the shoes, so I had to use my own secret techniques for this and it took like ten hours!
I can’t wait to see them. You’ve been doing this work for some time and have probably seen and heard it all! I’m guessing your acquired knowledge and experience can afford you some choice. But what won’t you do?
I know I shouldn’t mention Nike, but I always get these people who want color flips. The South Beach or the Galaxy. I get like four emails about those daily. I don’t have someone working for me to answer these emails every day.
I don’t even sell my shoes anymore, I just make these pieces as art. I’m really trying to transition into art and having a collection to show people. I’m not gonna sell them, I’m just gonna give them to rappers and stuff. One day when the people are really thirsty for them then maybe one of the brands will actually make a release of my stuff. Then people can buy a pair.
Like you said “is there anything you wouldn’t do?” I think I’ll try not to do anything that any brand has done already. In terms of subject matter, I try to make shoes that haven’t really been dealt with, or can’t be dealt with. The point of customs is getting something you can’t buy off the shelf.
I was approached by a Korean pop band called Big Bang. They’re about as big as the Back Street Boys over there. That’s what I’m interested in; I want to be a personal shoe stylist for people and try to develop their style into a shoe. Kind of like Spike Lee’s, that was pretty fun.
Hell yeah, the dress shoes? Must have been a whole new ball game!
Those were with Cole Haan, they gave me the shoe to begin with. I prepped them like a regular shoe but the leather is different, that quality leather requires a dye for the base coat. Those were tricky to make wearable. I had to redo those twice and I had a crazy deadline as well. All these brand shoes have deadlines that are ridiculous. You have about a week to do a shoe. That’s not how we work. You and I would probably spend a month on a shoe, realistically (or maybe longer than that even) and yeah, in between life happens, y’know?
[further discussions take place off the record, shared experiences and similar histories, etc.]
A lot of the insights and lessons learned are shared between customizers, right? Like in a secret group? Does one exist?
Secret group? Are you talking about **********?
[lots of laughter]
Wow. I thought you were already in the group!
[both laugh again]
Yeah, it does exist. It’s good having everybody chip in and say some stuff. I think there is a lot of secrets that customizers don’t want to share with each other, which is cool. I share a lot stuff I shouldn’t like that one unnamed paint I’m still experimenting with it. I’ll experiment as I work on someone’s shoe, test things on it, and erase it with acetone and paint over it.
How do you deal with the issue of longevity or the actual wear-ability of a painted shoe?
With synthetic materials you can’t beat around the bush, it will eventually degrade, and you’re gonna have to get some touch up paint or come back for a free touch up. With leather, the work holds really well. The sole swaps stand up well to wearing too. When doing things by hand, it’s not going to be factory quality though, as you’re getting a hand painted shoe, the only shoe like that, that exists.
So it’s a gift and a curse. The gift is that you will have an amazing shoe no-one will ever possess and the others side of it is that you have to be more careful with it. You could design an object to be extra durable but I think to make something that will last forever like a little tea cup out of porcelain, it’s so fragile that it will last forever because nobody wants to touch it. A painted shoe is something that’s so fragile that people are going to cherish it, take care of it, probably never wear it, but that artwork will last a lot longer than a regular shoe.
Your work is art Evan. I always enjoy your releases. This latest is of particular interest to me and I can’t wait to see it.
[chatting for at least another forty minutes about customs, DJing, old school Hip Hop, pizza, and Scotland, and then, after having seen the photos we hooked up again]
Evan they’re amazing! I love what you’ve done and in such a short period of time too. They’ll definitely bring something special to the video. So finally, what’s next for Revive Customs?
I’m going to get into sewing again, combine painting, sewing, and appliqué. I have a bunch of clothing ideas too. But most importantly, I’m going to stop taking orders…
…if somebody wants something from me, they should send me shoes, and trust me!
written by Benji Blunt
photography by Revive Customs