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Kickin’ it…Sharpie Style

We constantly hear about how celebs and large companies use social media tools to attract attention-  whether it’s Oprah broadcasting live via Skype, Taylor Swift selling ## albums off her MySpace page, or Starbucks promoting a contest on Flickr, big names are taking over the social media circuit.  Well, move over Harpo, put down the mic Tay, and cool it caffeinated Mermaid, there’s a new kid in town…

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Let me introduce you to Peter Mullin, the mastermind behind the creativity, the art, and of course, the cool factor of OPC Kicks.  Since sixth grade, Mullins has been using sneakers as his canvas- transforming them, with paint and Sharpie markers, into virtually new shoes!  Soon after rockin’ his custom kicks around school, his friends wanted in on the action!

“Ever since I did my first pair, I started getting used shoes from my friends and customizing their shoes.”   

Realizing his potential and that of his product, Mullins began selling OPC Kicks on Ebay.  Wanting to spread the brand further, he created an OPC Kicks page on Facebook where he could promote and show off his shoes.  After receiving so much positive feedback, this sneaker savant is now designing and selling both new and used custom designed shoes to people all over the internet! 

What DREW (pun-intended) you to painting shoes?  I always have had a love for shoes; my favorite thing to do was to find the craziest shoes on the market.  Then I wanted cooler and more colorful shoes that were exclusive - that no one else could have.

opckicks1Be honest…how many pairs of shoes do you own? And Does the shoe have to match the outfit?  Haha!  This is probably one of my favorite questions to be asked…My mom and Dad think I’m crazy, but I have 31 pairs of shoes.  I have my favorites, including my customs, some very rare Nike Dunks and, of course Jordans.  There is nothing better then waking up and looking at which pair to pick, and especially putting a new pair on!   But NO… my shoes don’t always match the outfit.  Sometimes though, because the girls like itand I like to match too.  But sometimes I just like wearing whatever shorts I have clean so that people can see the full image of the shoes I am wearing. I also like when they POP out more than my clothes.

Why did you choose Facebook.com to be a main outlet to spread the word about your business?  When more and more people started asking to see my work and not having a way to show them, I made a profile for OPC KICKS.  It was easy to create and easy for friends to get to.  Once I created the page I was getting crazy friend requests and getting awesome messages from people supporting the shoes and my business. That got me more and more pumped up to work harder and keep on putting up more pictures.  It just seemed like people were using Facebook a lot more then other sites.

Well, now that our friendship is OFFICIAL seeing as we are FaceBook friends and all… I read on your profile that you only paint Air Force Ones.  Why is that?  Where do you get them? I have [worked on] other types of shoes before and they never ended up looking as good as the Air Force Ones. I like the Nike Air Force Ones because they are so simple and everyone (especially me) loves Nike. It seems like they were made to be customized because they have good sized proportions to be painted. To me, Nike Air Force Ones seem to be the most clean and original shoes to ever hit the shoe market.  I have an awesome shoe connect too, who I met on Ebay.  I bought my first case of 16 shoes from him, one of the biggest purchases at that time, and was nervous of a scam but then two days later; sure enough a huge box was waiting on my front porch when I got home from school.  Ever since that first case, I would just call and tell him when I needed more and he would ship them out.   Now he ships me 3-4 cases of shoes at a time, at an amazing price!

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Do you know every word to Air Force Ones by Nelly? Haha No. I do not.  I like the song a lot but I’m more of a Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne fan.

What kind of Sharpie markers do you use on OPC Kicks? Favorite Sharpie? I use the original fine point Sharpie.  My favorite Sharpie color is RED, but I defiantly use BLACK the most.   Each pair I do has Sharpie on it somewhere, whether it is outlining, detailed designs, or putting someone’s name or a number on the shoe.

Why Sharpies? Why do you like them? Sharpie markers are the bomb, they never come of the shoes, and I can add more detail that can’t really be done with a paint brush!

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What goes into designing a shoe? How long does it take? Usually I like to free hand my shoes, especially the ones sold on Ebay. But I also get a lot of orders from people wanting specific designs or colors.  On an order like that, I draw it up to show what the shoe will look like and make sure it is exactly what the person wants.  After that I have to rub down the shoes with a special chemical to take of the factory gloss finish from the leather.   After mixing paint with the right chemicals, [making his own paint cuts costs by 10-15 dollars] I GO TO WORK! 

Time really depends on how complex the paint job is.  I can finish some, complete and ready to wear, in 3 hours.  Others, I could spend up to 10 hours on.   I try to work on 3 to 4 shoes at a time which saves time while paint is drying.opckicks5

How do you cover up/correct a mistake? If you ever do you ever mess up, that is! Not perfect yet…but if I mess up I can rub it right off before the paint dries. I try to keep the steadiest hand I possible.  Messing up with Sharpie isn’t too noticeable but if it is either I try to make it into a whole new free hand design or start all over on a new pair!  And that big of a mess has only ever happened twice!

Do you have any funny stories using Sharpie markers that you could share? The really funny ones are just drawing on somebody with Sharpie when they fall asleep!  One time, my friend fell asleep really early at a family graduation party and the parents were not too happy about that.  He had his shirt off already so, four friends and I got as many Sharpies together as we could find and went crazy on him!   Drawing full-body Sharpie art all over him – including drawing a TUXEDO and whatever else we could think of, all over him.

tuxedoshirt*Note*  Sharpie does not support or promote the drawing/writing on your own or others’ skin with Sharpie permanent ink.

Who are your main buyers? A lot are from school, as well as people who have heard about me and have personal orders.  I’ve been getting a lot of calls from moms wanting custom shoes to give to their sons or daughters as birthday or graduation presents.  The bulk of my shoes, I would say, are definately sold through Ebay.

opckicks7If you could design a shoe for any one person (athlete, celebrity, musician, politician, singer, etc.) who would it be? That’s a pretty hard question…but if I were to choose one it would probably be Kanye West.  He is always wearing some of the craziest shoes, plus I really like his older music.

Does every shoe have a different design or do you make several of each? A lot of my shoes are one-of-a-kind, especially personal orders.  If they’re just a certain color scheme that sold high, I’ll make more.  BUT if the listing says “One-of-a-Kind,” there will never be another pair made like it.

Aside from painting some really cool sneakers, what else do you enjoying doing on your down time? I really enjoy hanging out with my friends. I spend a good amount of time with my friends, but when I’m not with them, I love playing lacrosse, the original Halo 2 every once in a while, playing roller hockey, and just chilling and enjoying the free time.

Look into your crystal-Air Force One OPC Kicks- ball, now, what do you see for the future OPC Kicks?  I love the creative questions!   I would really like to start designing more and more shoes.  After a couple vacations this summer, I am going do be working on shoes like none other.  Once I start planning more time to work, I think OPC Kicks is going to start blowing up a lot more!   If things go really well during the school year, I would love to open up my own boutique, or maybe start a website throughout college then open the store…  I’d love to just do shoes all day but I like keeping my good grades and am getting very excited to go to college

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Where can we find OPC Kicks? You can find me on Ebay!  I have 3 accounts right now and in about a week, I’m going to have a ton of new customs shoes up! 

Most Used:  opckicks

Second Used: opc_kicks

Third Used: opc_kicks09

Anything else you’d like to add?  Staying in contact with you [Sharpie] has made me want to work harder and harder!  So I would just like to thank you for keeping in touch!   [what a nice guy! Sharpie loves OPC Kicks!]

***Be sure to satisfy your OPC Kicks craving by checking out Peter’s custom designed sneakers on Ebay and ‘Friend’ OPC Kicks on Facebook!  

UNCAP WHAT’S INSIDE!

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Put a Sharpie “Schwager” in your step

rob-schwagerRob Schwager is a  freelance illustrator and graphic designer.  He lives in Florida where he has built a well-respected name for himself within the industry producing amazing artwork.  Born and raised in Chicago, Schwager is now living his dream, working as an artist.  Through hard work, “determination and a desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances,” he continues to create art that people can’t get enough of! And he’s one of the coolest artists I’ve talked with.  Not only is he super creative, he has a great personality and an awesome sense of humor!  Rob Schwager is one artist you’ll definitely want to collect. 

Rob’s art runs the gamut.  He’s into all kinds of stuff like “lowbrow art, comic books, Fleischer cartoons, nose art, pickelhaubes, pin-up girls, vinyl art toys, cyanotypes, acrylics, oils, hot rods, kustom kulture, pinstripes, tattoos, tiki stuff, chicago gangsters, vintage metal signs, screen printing.”   Rob says he likes fabricating stuff with his hands, listening to old school punk rock (the classic stuff, late 70′s early 80′s), making rock posters, ‘zines, digital painting, etc…

But  I’ll let him tell it in his own words:

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So how did you get started in art?  Like most kids, I spent too much time watching cartoons and doodling.  After being introduced to Punk Rock in the early 80′s, I started designing album covers, t-shirts and flyers for various punk bands I was friends with in Chicago.  This led to abundant work as a silkscreen* concert poster artist, supplying hand crafted promotional posters to bands and venues across the country.  I eventually fulfilled a childhood dream and became an artist working on mainstream comic books.  I’ve spent the last 20 years working on such classic icons as Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. My work has helped shape comic book pop-culture as we know it today. I’ve often been credited as being a well-respected rising force in the art of color for the comic book industry. Most recently, I’ve been featured in the best selling book, The Art of Modern Rock, as well as, Kustom Graphics: Hot Rods, Burlesque and Rock ‘n’ Roll, from Korero Books.

*FYI: Silk Screening (or screen printing), is a printing method where ink is forced through areas of a silk screen that aren’t blocked out with an impermeable (water resistant) substance.  A roller, squeegee or sponge is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink into the open areas of the fabric (there’s a little bit of my Warhol knowledge for ya ).

What sets you apart from other artists? What makes you stand out in a room of artists?!  My determination and desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances.

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I see that you liked to read comics as a kid?  Favorite comic book? Would you ever start your own?  Yep, I loved comics when I was a kid!  I learned to read by reading Spider-man comics – That’s always been my favorite.  I do have some ideas for a comic series of my own.  Maybe someday, but for now, I’m quite content having built a nice career spanning 20 years working in the comic book industry as a digital colorist.gogogs2

So you like old school punk rock, huh?!  Favorite band?  Have you made posters for any of your favorite groups?  I grew up on the music of old school punk rock.  A lot of Chicago stuff Naked Raygun, Effigies, etc…  Also other bands like Social Distortion, Cro-mags, UK Subs, the Damned and Bad Brains…  And yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to make posters for some of my favorite bands and meet them!   I kinda geeked a bit when I met the Go-Go’s.  Jane (Wiedlin) was such a sweetie when I asked her to sign my poster. I shot pool for a while with Mike Ness from Social D.  I’ve hung with the DGeneration guys too!  My favorite was that I had a series of long rambling messages on my answering machine from Joey Ramone when I did a poster for him. I wish I would’ve saved that.

Just out of curiosity…seriously, is SCHWAGER really your last name (I’m slightly jealous & want a cool last name too) ?   Yep!  It’s my real name.  First generation American and damn proud of it too!

How do you incorporate Sharpie markers into your work?  I started using Sharpie mostly for accent work on my paintings.  A little line here or there….  But Sharpie water-based paint markers are my favorite!  I started using them to paint custom toys for gallery shows.  Sharpies are easy to use; there is a nice array of colors to choose from and variations in line weight.  I just wish you guys made a flesh tone color (editor’s note:  we make an almond color which is perfect for pale skin tones).  It would work wonders for me with my pin-up nose-art work.

dontfeedtheanimalsWhat does the creation process involve? 

1)Planning out my graphic

2)Transferring the design to the substrate

3)Busting out the Sharpies and going to town!

You’ve done a lot of different types of work, poster art, designing apparel, cyanotypes..you name it, you’ve done it!  What are your personal favorites?  I really enjoy doing my faux nose-art inspired bomber panels.  From the fabrication, to the painting to the distressing, an all-around good time.  I just wish there were more hours in the day, because I’d love to make them non-stop if I could!cherrybomber01

What has been your most well-received art?  It’s a tie between my bomber panels and my cyanotypes.  The cyanotypes are more affordable to most folks, but the bomber panels really leave most folks awestruck when they walk into a room and see them hanging on the wall.

What are you currently working on?  Well, I’m in the process of setting up a print shop so I can start running my own art prints.  It’s been over a decade since I pulled a screen printing squeegee, but I’m really looking forward to it!

What do you see for the future of your work?  To be hanging on the walls in galleries and in people’s homes worldwide. 

Where can I find Rob Schwager art?!  In the store, at robschwager.com

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sweet_leilani2Need more SCHWAGER?  No problem!  A guy with this much talent needs to be seen and heard.  Click on the links  below to learn more about the artist, see more of his work, and then buy some art for yourself!

Rob’s Homepage is http://www.robschwager.com

Check out his blog too!! http://www.robschwager.blogspot.com

Take a look at Shwager’s photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/robschwager

Follow him on Twtter!  http://twitter.com/robschwager

And of course, hop on over to MySpace:  http://www.myspace.com/robschwager

Rob Schwager knows how to Uncap What’s Inside!! logo-sharpie-home

Want more Sharpie Artists?  Click HERE to see the creative things people are doing with their Sharpies!  

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Designer For a Day

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Whit with Sharpies

It’s raining interns over here at Sharpie and today it’s Whitney Kelly’s turn to show off her blogging skills.   Whitney graduated from the University of Kansas and is FOR HIRE.  Here’s my “job wanted” poster for her:

Super fashiony friendly fast-working firecracker fiercely dedicated to finding whatever it is and getting it done without fanfare force of nature.

How can you refuse THAT@?@?@  Heeeeeeeeeeere’s Whitney…

 

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I’m sure you all have seen the commercial for TOMS Shoes, featuring an attractive young man (Blake, the Chief Shoe Giver) operating a successful business while giving back to deserving kids.  Well, ever since I saw that commercial, I wanted  to get me some TOMS!  Not only are these shoes pretty sweet, but for every pair sold, another pair is given to a child in need! Now, I don’t know about you, but with a program like that, I should just exclusively buy/wear these kicks!  OOH Wait, wait, wait..business casual is required at work…okay I’ll buy a couple other brands but outside of the office, TOMS it is!

Anyhoo, enough of me… A super cool event is coming up at the end of the month!  Zulu Creative, a Houston-based niche marketing and brand development agency, is celebrating their 3rd anniversary by teaming up with TOMS to host Style Your Sole, a TOMS shoe designing party!  The event will provide children in need with a new pair of shoes & give attendees the experience of being a shoe designer for a day!  Pretty Cool!!zulu2

twintwintiptipHow do you get an invite to this event?  WELL my Sharpie loving friends, not only do you have the option of adding “Shoe Designer” to your resume, it’s FREE, for all ages!  All you need to do is send a quick reply to RSVP@zulucreative.com. So GO!! Join the rest of the party goers at Zulu Creative’s 3rd Birthday Celebration & TOMS “Style Your Sole,” design some FLY KICKS and be a part of a great cause!  The partaay will be held at Spacetaker’s Artist Resource Center (ARC) at Winter Street Studios, 2101 Winter Street in Houston, July 26, 2009, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m.

If that isn’t enough excitement for you, guess who else is going to be there!?!  No, not Brad & Angie, even better, SHARPIES!! TONS AND TONS OF SHARPIES! I’ve been working with Tina Zulu, founder of Zulu creative, and have placed an order for literally hundreds of Sharpies – Paint Pens, Twin-Tips, Fine Point, Medium Point… and in aalll sorts of colors!  I’m pretty psyched to see what everyone is going to design with the STELLAR assortment of Sharpies and some hot pairs of TOMS shoes!

For more info. on Zulu Creative’s 3rd Birthday Celebration & TOMS “Style Your Sole,” TOMS shoes and Zulu Creative check out these sites:
 
Click here to read the full press release.  Or Check out the story in the July issue of Yellow Mag!

Get out there, Be Creative – Express your Individuality! <3

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Swedish Singer Signs with Sharpie

dsc_2570I’m all about supporting new talent, so thought I’d introduce you to Beatrice, a well-known artist on the Scandinavian music scene who is starting to make her way on the American music front.   And like every major music artist on the planet, Beatrice uses Sharpie markers to sign autographs for her growing legions of fans.

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Beatrice’s music offers a unique blend of folk, rock, country, and Scandinavian influence. She has studied at the Stockholm Music Conservatory and for many years worked as a demo and back-up singer with some of Sweden’s top-ranking artists, including Carola, Tommy Nilsson, Bosson and Olsen Brothers. Since then Beatrice has expanded her career across the Atlantic.

Check out her sound here.  And when she hits the charts, remember you saw her here first!

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Prez pockets his own Sharpie

It’s a cool thing when the leader of the free world reaches into his pocket and pulls out his very own Sharpie. That’s exactly what happened after President Barack Obama’s first State of the Union address last week. As he made his way into the moshpit of politicians, it was all he could do to keep up with the autograph requests. When asked if he wanted to borrow a Sharpie, he replied, “No thanks, I’ve got my own.”

Reminds me of the time football’s Terrell Owens pulled a Sharpie out of his sock during a touchdown celebration.  One (or two) key differences to note: There was no Twitter then, so I wasn’t up until midnight responding to all the Tweets asking me “did you see, did you see?!!”…and it wasn’t the President of the United States!!

Finally, thought you’d enjoy this other Sharpie-inspired Obama sighting: 

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Sharpie Sighting – Olsen Twins

Actresses Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, right, signed copies of their new book, “Influences” at a Barnes & Noble store in New York.  The famous twins remind me that Sharpie offers its own Twin-Tip markers.  Sharpie Super Twin Tip features a Fine tip on one end, a Chisel tip on the other.  The regular Twin Tip has a Fine and Ultra-Fine tip.   Twice the Sharpie fun!

Speaking of autographs, the experts at Sports Card Info offer some tips on getting the best autographs.  Sharpie makes the grade for most items:

Baseball = Ballpoint pen
Football = Sharpie Marker
Basketball = Sharpie Marker
Hockey Puck = Sharpie Marker
Golf Ball = Sharpie Marker
Photograph = Sharpie Marker
Baseball Bat = Sharpie Marker
Sports Card = Sharpie Marker
Hat = Sharpie Marker
Jersey/Pants = Sharpie Marker
Helmets = Sharpie Marker
Index Cards = Ballpoint pen or Sharpie Marker
Pennants = Sharpie Marker
Shoes = Sharpie Marker
Poster = Sharpie Marker
Tickets = Sharpie Marker
Bobblehead = Sharpie Marker
Glove = Sharpie Marker