Custom kicks are increasing in popularity in the sneakerhead world, and one of the leaders of the movement is Dan Gamache, widely known as Mache. The renowned shoe painter was the special guest of a Brisk event in NYC on Tuesday, where he debuted a freshly reimagined Air Jordan 4 inspired by the beverage company’s Pineapple Passionfruit iced tea flavor.
Mache spoke with Footwear News at the event and shared details of his Brisk relationship, future collaborations, and his trouble in deciding what his favorite custom ever is — the Nike LeBron 10 “Ironman” that LeBron James himself wore on the court or an Air Jordan 4 he made for rap superstar Eminem.
How did you hook up with Brisk?
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Brisk hit me up with the opportunity to do this. They’re all about the creatives; if you remember the brisk campaigns from forever ago like the Frank Sinatra Claymation cartoons and stuff, those are always off the wall, different kind of things. They work with different creatives, free thinkers — they had Mishka last year. They did with people that I respect, which I thought was cool and not corny like, ‘Let’s just slap a Brisk logo on a shoe.’ They came to me with an idea for the Pineapple Passionfruit flavor, to do a shoe around that, as far as the colors and the contrast, and I was game.
Are there any official collaborations with a brand on the way?
We’re working on it. I’m doing something already with Puma and Finish Line, I already did one release with their Blaze of Glory Sock. Now we’re doing something with Kylie Jenner’s shoe — that’s back to school time and for holiday.
In terms of official manufactured collabs, I have a colab with Sneaker Politics in Lousiana, with Asics, I’m doing a Gel Lyte III. It’s a whole Ronnie Fieg kind of thing; I’m using my own textiles and they’re making it. We’re looking at spring ’18. That’s where I want to go, I want to start designing shoes. I could only paint shoes for so long.
What is your favorite custom you’ve ever done?
I’ve got to say it’s probably the Ironman LeBrons for LeBron [James], that’s probably the biggest one. It’s a tie between that and the Eminem 4s I made for Eminem. It’s more of the stories than the actual shoes. It was cool because LeBron wore them warming up for the [2013 NBA] Finals against the Spurs, and the fact that I gave them to him during All-Star weekend, I went to his hotel and gave him the shoes, and a couple months later he was wearing them.
Is there a pair of sneakers you’d never customize?
Foamposites. I used to paint Foams because it’s a nice, clean canvas, but the wearability is terrible; it’s worse than painting a car. I know how to paint on synthetics — the Nike Hyperfuses and all of those things, I could paint on all of those — but for some reason with Foamposites it’s like rolling the dice; sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, no matter how well you prep it.
What is your favorite sneaker to paint?
I’m a fan of [Air Jordan] 1s. When I started it was sacrilegious to paint Jordans because you didn’t want to get confused with the knock-offs, but now it’s widely accepted. Just because of the materials and the lines I could work around.