Interview mit Elom Bowman von Ecentrik Artistry
Und so kann der Frühling bzw unser Freitag noch besser laufen: wir haben für die Sneaker-Freunde unter uns ein richtiges Leckerbissen von Interview und zwar mit dem Macher von Ecentrik Artistry: Elom Bowman. Kennst du noch nicht? Ecentrik Artistry hat sich auf das Bemalen von insbesonders Nike Sneakern spezialisiert und die Endprodukte sind einfach super. Er arbeitet komplett alleine was man fast nicht glauben kann bei der riesigen Auswahl und wir sind überglücklich, daß er sich die zeit genommen hat um auf unsere Fragen zu antworten.
Um nichts zu verfälschen, haben wir den Text auf Englisch gelassen. Aber wenn es genügend Nachfragen gibt, können wir das Interview gern noch auf Deutsch veröffentlichen. Aber genug geredet: reinschauen, lesen und wior denken, ihr werdet ganz schnell auf seine Seite gehen!
You started back in 2002 with the customization of sneakers which has moved on to include womens shoes, vinyl toys and more. What got you started with this type of work?
Well, i’ve pretty much had an interest in art all of my life. My interest started as a kid from being a huge comic book fan (which i’m still to this day) and as I got older I developed a love for fashion and of course, sneakers. I found myself wanting to have shoe styles that no one else had as well as having my favorite all time sneaker, the Air Force One, in colorways that weren’t available. I also liked the idea of my sneakers matching my outfits. That’s when I started researching ways to change the colors on and design sneakers. I went through a good deal of experimenting with different paint techniques and mixtures and a lot of trial and error. My first few pair didn’t exactly come out the way I wanted but I desperately wanted to learn the process so I never gave up on it and kept at it until I got my technique to the level I wanted it. I figured since I had an art background that I would figure it out eventually. I’m a self-taught artist who has a do-it-yourself mentality and I considered this another chapter in the do-it-yourself process.
The variety of shoes you’ve customized is more than impressive. Do you do the work all by yourself and how do you keep the designs for one sneaker model looking the same as some of the designs include very small details.
I do all of the work on my own. It’s funny because I get people who think that Ecentrik Artistry is a team or staff of artists/creators but it’s just me although I do treat it as a true company because it is. And when I say I do everything I mean EVERYTHING…designing the shoes, shipping them to customers, updating my sites and blogs, answering emails…i’m currently a one man show! It’s a lot of work but I enjoy what I do because I have a deep passion for my work (although as time goes on I imagine I will have help in certain areas). As far as consistency with the designs, most times I hand draw out the design first or do a mock up on my computer to work from. However, there are times where I have done designs purely off memory.
What are the steps involved in creating a new design and how long does it take from the drawing board concept until the final product is ready?
Well, as mentioned before I sketch out the design or do a computer mock up first before starting the actual prep work & painting. As far as time, it all depends on the complexity of the design. Some designs can be done in 5-6 hours while some of the more complex projects may take a few days.
Do you collaborate directly with the sneaker manufacturer to be able to resell the sneakers or how does that work?
Currently i’m doing everything on my own as all of my work is made to order and painted by hand but I am definitely open to doing collaborations with any shoe company. I think it would be a great way to gain added exposure as well as bring a new product to a particular manufacturer. If the situation is right, it could be beneficial for both parties.
Do you believe you would have been able to get known as easily if the Internet did not exist (horror idea for so many people!)?
I think it’s possible although it would be a lot harder and a lot more work. The internet has helped me tremendously as it opens up other lanes that previously were not available and introduced my work to a worldwide audience.
How does your personal background including being born in the UK and growing up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania affect the way you work and create your pieces of let’s say artistic craftmanship?
Well I was still very young when I came from the UK to the States so most of my memories are from growing up in the States. But what I can say has and continues to really help my work is being open minded and allowing myself to soak up inspiration from all walks of life. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and becoming friends with other artists from all over who work in other mediums and being fueled by each other’s creative energy. The most important thing is to be open minded and not stuck in one mode of thinking…kind of like that old saying about „thinking outside the box“. I once came across a saying that said „Instead of thinking outside the box, throw away the box“. With that being said, I try not to throw any restraints on myself when creating. I just let it flow from the heart and when you create from the heart people can tell that your work is authentic.
I’ve read on your blog that you actually have people already copying / bootlegging your designs. Obviously this is one of the worst things that can happen for an artist: can you do anything against it / do you want to do something against it? Sometimes it can be flattering that one is copied…
Oh boy..(lol)..the bootlegging thing. It first happened to me around 2010 and I was a little annoyed at first but in a way like you said it’s partially flattering. Of course it would be nice if all of the counterfeiters were caught but at the same time it hasn’t hurt business one bit because people who truly appreciate your work want authenticity. As most people know in the sneaker culture, bootleg sneakers (or „fakes“) are highly frowned upon and I make sure that people know that what I create is the genuine article and can tell the difference between the real and the fake and that I only deal with authentic products. Companies like Nike get bootlegged all the time but the people who truly appreciate authenticity can tell the difference and/or will take the time to make sure they’re getting the best for their money.
What’s the future going to bring for you and Ecentrik Art, any new ideas and plans you can let us know about?
Wow, I don’t even know where to start! There’s so much that i’m currently working on. One is that I hope to eventually do an actual clothing line. I have a few pieces out there already but would like to expand on it further, like possibly collections of limited edition pieces. Other than that I have a ton of sneaker & shoe projects i’m working on..some I want to keep under wraps for the moment. The overall goal is to expand the Ecentrik Artistry brand on a larger scale as far as notoriety goes and of course letting people get to know the face behind the brand. I would also like to take the time to thank Styledelmundo for the support and of course thank everyone worldwide who has supported myself and Ecentrik Artistry. More to come…stay tuned!