People November 7, 2014   |  by

6 Sneaker Artists You Must Follow on Instagram

We’ve searched Instagram for some of the best sneaker artists and found out more about their work and what about sneakers inspires them. Here’s what they have to say.

Stephanie Morris (@stephfmorris)

How many pieces of sneaker art have you produced to date?
I think I have done around 23 pieces now over the past year or so.

How long does it take on average to produce a single piece of sneaker art?
It takes on average between 15 to 20 hours per piece, sometimes even more. Some pieces I can lay down over the space of three or four days and some pieces I keep going back to over the space of a month.

What is it about sneakers that made you want to create art inspired by sneakers?
I’ve always liked sneakers since I was a little kid. I would always save up my pocket money to buy a pair I thought were really cool – which back then was probably a pair of Reebok Classics. Since then I’ve always been attached. I actually wanted a piece of sneaker art I could put up on my bedroom wall – so that’s how I began, but when people saw what I was doing they also wanted it on their wall too which was pretty crazy.

Is there a particular reason why you choose to hand sketch each piece of your work?
It’s just the way my artwork has evolved and grown. Less than five years ago I was throwing paint all over the paper and messing around with the style of collage but since graduating from university I found that my work has taken a completely different path. I’ve always loved illustration – specifically portraiture, so this was my initial direction. That led to where I am now and it’s a journey I think has improved my work massively, but I am always striving to become a better illustrator.

Have any sneaker brands approached you to create artwork for them?
I worked with size? for the launch of the Reebok Pastels which was crazy. It was my first proper gig and I was gobsmacked when I heard they wanted to work with me. From start to finish it was so fun – the guys there are fantastic and the end result was so cool.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
I have a lot of pairs lying around which became a bit of an issue lately as I have just recently moved so they’re taking up a lot of room in my hallway. Doesn’t stop me buying more though. I think now I’m onto 40 odd pairs.

Which is your personal favorite sneaker of all time?
Easy. Nike Cortez.

Steven Piantoni (@piantoni7)

How many pieces of sneaker art have you produced to date?
I have done so many over the last year or so. I currently have over 70 pieces in my web-store, but I’m adding to it all the time.

How long does it take on average to produce a single piece of sneaker art?
I’d say on average, my Sneakertoons take about four or five hours to complete. Some of my more complex work such as the Darth Yeezy took longer than this.

What is it about sneakers that first inspired your art?
I have always had an interest in sneakers and actually worked as a footwear designer for a short time. The original catalyst for my sneaker art was an Instagram competition run by size? sneaker stores. You had to create an image of what the Air Max meant to you. I was lucky enough to be one of the three winners and went to the Air Max sneaker ball in Paris.

Your work tends to show only the side profile view of the sneaker. What is the reason for this?
This silhouette is the trademark of my Sneakertoons work. It came about through the debate that still rages in the community about the toe shape on a lot of sneakers, in particular the New Balance Made in UK series. I guess my art was a way of expressing our annoyance at the trend of adding a chunky toe puff which is ruining the classic shape of many old school runners.

What’s the biggest challenge you encounter when it comes to illustrating sneaker art?
I guess the biggest challenge is converting the ‘real’ sneaker into a “Toon”. You have to make a call on which details can be left out but still leave it recognizable.

Have any sneaker brands approached you to create artwork for them?
It’s funny you should mention that. I have recently been approached by Reebok and am working on a big project with them which will launch in 2015.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
I have been collecting on and off for about eight years now. My collection is currently at about 100 pairs but I’m thinking of selling a few to consolidate the collection to ones I really like or need. It’s definitely an addiction though. There’s always “one more” to buy.

Which is your personal favorite sneaker of all time?
I have always loved the Nike Air Max 1. The way Tinker Hatfield exposed the air bubble was a stroke of genius. It’s also just such a great shoe. Combining a simple, great aesthetic with a technically advanced design. I own about four pairs of Air Max 87s, but I still love the OG colorway the most.

However I have to say the adidas ZX 8000 is also a firm favorite of mine. In its OG Aqua colorway its a stone-cold classic. Last, but not least I’m a sucker for the ASICS GEL-Lyte III. There have been some awesome collabs over the years on this shoe. Highs and Lows’ “Mortar”, Sneaker Freaker’s “Alvin Purple” and Hanon’s “Wildcat” to name a few.

Christopher Mineses (@cmineses_designs)

To date, how many pieces of sneaker art have you produced?
Oh man, I’ve lost count. I literally work on sneaker art everyday, so I have a bunch of pieces stored on my computer. It’s hard because I’m the type of person who believes that nothing is ever really finished. Like I’ll put something out and a week later tell myself, “Oh crap, let me try this or let me change this”. But if I had to put a number on it I would say about 50.

How long does it take on average to produce a single piece of sneaker art?
It really depends on the project. A simple illustration might take me about a day whereas a more detailed piece or info graphic could take me about a week. I like to take my time and consider every detail in every piece that I put out, so that takes some time. Another factor is how engaged into the piece I am. There are times where i just lose track of time because I’m so into the piece that I finish quicker than expected.

Why create art featuring sneakers?
When I was younger I really loved sneakers. I loved the culture of the sneaker world. Being a visual person, I saw sneakers as being wearable pieces of art. Unfortunately I didn’t have the money to buy all the sneakers I wanted until I was older. So, my way of being a part of the culture was to create art inspired by them. Today, I can afford the sneakers I want, but I continue to honor the culture with my art.

The pieces of art you create are mostly 2-dimensional, flat art. Is there a particular reason why you choose to do this?
Yes, when I first started taking things seriously and started putting artwork out, I did a lot of research on different styles and techniques that I liked. I was inspired by artists like Limebath who used this flat 2-dimensional style. I took this style and added my own flavor to it. I just found this style to be way more dynamic and interesting to look at rather than realistic, representational pieces. The flat color backgrounds make the pieces more exciting and put more emphasis on the subjects that I draw.

What’s the biggest challenge you encounter when it comes to illustrating sneaker art?
I think that the biggest challenge is being able to come up with something fresh and new all the time that’s gonna keep your viewers interested. Sneaker arts slowly become similar to fashion in that everyone’s doing it. Everyone’s creating and putting art out there hoping to get noticed. It’s your job to constantly be working and coming up with new ideas or you’re gonna get left behind. You really have to be able to think outside of the box and do something that sets you apart from everyone else because that’s the only way you’re going to survive.

Have any sneaker brands approached you to create artwork for them?
Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to create for any sneaker brands yet. Hopefully that will change in the near future, because it’s really a dream of mine to work with a brand and bring my creativity to the table.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
I have a nice little collection. I started off with Nike SB dunks and Jordans but in the past year I’ve seen myself start to lean more towards runners. Brands like ASICS, Saucony, and Ronnie Fieg collabs. I would say overall I have about 25 pairs.

Which is your personal favorite sneaker of all time?
I would have to say that my favorite sneaker of all time is the Air Jordan III Black Cement. It’s such a historic and iconic sneaker and it’s really what brought me into sneaker culture. I love everything about it; everything from the detailed elephant print to the overall silhouette of the shoe.

Caroll Lynn van den Brom (@careaux)

To date, how many pieces of sneaker art have you produced?
To be honest, I can’t remember. It’s been a year now since I’ve been selling pieces and even making them. I work on a lot of stuff. And haven’t showed everything to the world yet.

How long does it take on average to produce a single piece of sneaker art?
It depends on the details. And how fast I am. I get distracted real quick.

What was it about sneakers that made you want to create art inspired by sneakers?
I’m a sneakerhead myself. A year ago, my dad got in a coma for a month and I had to keep myself busy cause it was really hectic for me and hard to deal with. I needed something to clear my mind.

Geometric shapes are a recurring theme across your work. Is there a particular reason for this?
Yes. It was my way to express my feelings. I didn’t feel solid. I felt like I was in pieces.

What’s the biggest challenge you encounter when it comes to illustrating sneaker art?
Try to be new everytime. It’s hard. Everyone wants to be what you are. Everyone wants to compete with you.

Have any sneaker brands approached you to create artwork for them?
The first one was with End Clothing and to be honest, they are also the last. They asked for their own releases and gave me the exclusive Burger Saucony for the illustrations I did for them. I appreciate End Clothing a lot.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
I have too many. I’ve ordered shoes even though I’m not even home so I think I have ten new ones in three weeks. Doesn’t make any sense to have so many shoes.

Which is your personal favorite sneaker of all time?
All time…must be Nike.

Samuel Yau (@sy_illustrations)

To date, how many pieces of sneaker art have you produced?
There has been so many, off the top my head I’d have to say its close to the three figure mark but it could be more.

How long does it take on average to produce a single piece of sneaker art?
Each shoe is different, some have interesting patterns and details such as the Air Safari with the safari print, the Air Jordan IIIs with the elephant print and these require more time to get the detail the way that I think would be most suitable in my style. But on average a single piece of sneaker art from initial thinking, sketching, wireframing then artworking it can take around two to three hours.

What was it about sneakers that made you want to create art inspired by sneakers?
I’ve been drawing, sketching and illustrating for a number of years now for personal projects, friends, families and commission based work. It was a promise I made to a friend who owns 6ACRE, a Manchester based footwear/lifestyle event that kick started these series of prints. They got in touch with me to create a series of artwork for the event; I designed a range of classic silhouettes from Nike, New Balance, Air Jordan and Adidas.

Why only show the side profile view of the sneaker in your work?
For my style to be presented in the way that ties in with my brand, the angle of the artwork is very important. The side profile view is the face of the shoe and in my opinion is the glory of the shoe, the branding, panels, colors, materials are all visible from that angle.

What’s the biggest challenge you encounter when it comes to illustrating sneaker art?
The biggest challenge is pushing the boundaries from just the shoe design to something original and creative. The sneaker art industry has exploded over the year and there are some great designers and creatives out there but likewise I have seen some sneaker art that hasn’t quite been executed to their potential.

Have any sneaker brands approached you to create artwork for them?
Yes, I’ve had the privilege to showcase my first collaboration with The Inherited Store (based in Sheffield, UK) last year. Caroll Lynn van den Brom aka Careaux exhibited at the 6ACRE event for our “My Nikes” series, I’ve created commissions for size? on the Nike “Army” size? exclusives pack and the Air 180.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
Wow, too many to begin to count!

Which is your personal favorite sneaker of all time?
That’s a tough one, if I had to choose one from my collection it’ll be the Air 180 Silhouette! Personally think it’s an underrated shoe in the Nike Air Series. The shape and air unit was so innovative when it first came out that I focused most of my time on the detail of this in the design.

Filfury (@filfury)

To date, how many pieces of sneaker art have you produced?
Gotta be like 10 to 15 by now.

How long does it take on average to produce a single piece of sneaker art?
Initially mockups and ideas are literally an hour or so, but then when finessing and working out if I like what I’m doing or not it can take anything from a week to a couple.

What was it about sneakers that made you want to create art inspired by sneakers?
I pretty much wear sneakers everyday, and have been since I was 12. They are not just shoes, they are memories, they each have a story. The bold colors, textures, bubbles all do it for me.

Your style is pretty iconic. How did you develop it?
I am traditionally a trained graphic designer, so I love graphic form, symmetry and bold use of negative space. These are elements that naturally appear within the finished artwork, but also how I look at things in general. I simply like the way it feels on the page – balanced. I want to create art that is iconic; objects that are immediately recognized. The current flow of my output has been just that, bold silhouettes, created with recognizable textures.

What’s the biggest challenge you encounter when it comes to illustrating sneaker art?
Out-doing myself. I don’t want to repeat the same formula, so I’m looking to improve each time and learn from that. I’m looking to create 3-dimensional sculptures as a next stage.

Have any sneaker brands approached you to create artwork for them?
I have created official artworks for Nike Basketball (out Summer 2015), Reebok Classics (out Summer 2015) and create ongoing work with adidas. I recently created a set of artworks for adidas for the World Cup in Brazil.

How many pairs of sneakers do you own?
That’s the whole problem, I own over 100 pairs.

Which is your personal favorite sneaker of all time?
That’s a tough one, as I have different sneakers for different occasions. Some are just beautifully crafted but as I got older, they don’t seem to look right on me anymore. I’d have to list the Nike Air Max 90, Nike Air Max 1, Air Presto, Nike Flyknit trainer, Air Huarache and the Cortez as favorites. I named my son Bow Cortez, so let’s just say that’s my favorite for its timelessness.

Who’s your favorite sneaker artist of all time? Tell us in the comments below!