Interview by: Masa
Sekure D is one of Australia’s leading sneaker customizers with distinctive and detailed style. Based in Melbourne, he is an up and coming customizer making marks in Australia and around the world. I had the pleasure of catching up with him for a casual chat.
More after the jump
Can you tell the readers a little about your background and info on yourself?
Well I’m a 20 year old University student in Melbourne, working in a sneaker store part time and play ball a few times a week. I have been into graffiti since I was about 15. I was definitely influenced into graffiti via: mates at school and by catching the trains to class every day. Actually I did my first piece when I was around 16 and ever since then have been painting and sketching.
I can definitely see your graffiti influence in your work. How long have you been customising?
Honestly I put brush to shoe only just over a year ago but I have been into sneakers since I was young. I think I have been rather fortunate with my customs, I was lucky enough to get some good encouragement early on as well as some recognition that really spurred me into dedicating a lot more time to it.
Yeah because you have sprung out only recently and have done some amazing work. What would you say your style is now compared to your early days? Your style is becoming more detailed lately.
Definitely, I appreciate anyone who puts time into their work and hence that’s what I try and do. I’m not into spinning out a custom every second day, I would much rather put 20-30+ hours into something and make it more impressive with detailed little characters or hidden words and messages. Style wise I think it might be hard to define. I just try and be as creative as I can and put stuff onto shoes that guys don’t usually do.
Right, you got a solid style now and with every piece you do, there seems to be an improvement or a refinement. What is the direction you want to head in the future in terms of your style?
I think guys these days are expecting the brighter and outside the square stuff from me, which is cool because I enjoy doing that stuff, but there is a thin line between hitting the mark and making it look un-wearable. In the future I definitely want to keep working into my designs the little characters, symbols and quirky things that make my customs different as well as possibly using different mediums and materials. I think as long as my style keeps evolving the way it has from the start hopefully all will be good.
Oh, so we can expect some play with material perhaps?
Already looking into it as well as a few new things I have in mind, being into graffiti and painting, stitching and material work is not something that I am entirely confident with so it’s taking a bit of research but thanks to a few fellow customizers I should be on top of it in the near future. Customizing isn’t easy. To stay in the minds of people you really have to keep evolving as well as experimenting with new things so I’m just trying to take it to the next level. When you have guys who are signed to big labels to compete with, you just have to try and make yourself stand out.
Yeah, very true. On average how long does it normally take to do a custom? I just want to let some of the readers into the amount of time and effort spent on each work.
It really does depend on the type of job. It’s not out of the question for me to spend about 30 hours on a pair of shoes though.
You have been doing a lot of Nike for your customs, is there a reason for this? Are Nike your favourite brand to customize?
I think typically when someone wants to get some custom shoes they automatically go for Nike’s just because they are so accessible and have the infamous Air Force 1 which is somewhat considered “easy to paint”. Personally, more recently I have been working mostly on ASICS, Reebok and adidas, however it seems like Nike will always come out on top of my order list.
I don’t want to sound like I don’t like Nike though, I have been a Nike boy since I was a child, looking up to Michael Jordan, and most likely will be until I am an old man but I would much rather work on some Force 180’s, Air Max 90’s or Dunks then some all white Air Force 1 Mids. When people look back on my work or through my gallery I don’t want them to see only the one style of shoe.
It’s good that you got variety of canvas’ to work on. What are some of the new pieces you have been working on? Anything you can let us know the details about?
The next few pairs I am working on are mostly orders but there is some cool stuff in the works, which should turn out really nice and will be very different to what we usually see, once they are completed there is all sorts of things on the cards. Some stuff for local sneaker stores should be in the works as well as shoes with customizers from America such as Mache, that I am looking forward to.
There is also going to be an exhibition in the National Gallery of Victoria starting in December that will be exhibiting seven pairs of my works including some of my more recognizable designs such as the Daylight Hallucination LeBron II’s and the Rupture Air 180’s. In the very near future however there will be a website update with about 5-6 new pairs, so you can check out some of the new work on there.
Great, sounds like you got your hands full. With the National Gallery exhibition, how long does the exhibition go for?
It is running till July 8th I believe, it’s a free exhibition as well so if anyone is in the area, check it out. There will be well over 300 pairs of shoes on display from all eras and brands as well as customs by fellow Australian AstoriaVIII.
That will be mad! Being involved in the custom scene and connecting with people from around the world, what is your opinion on the custom scene? Now that it’s getting large globally with big collaborations and all.
I think the customizing world has largely been underground for a very long period of time. Guys have been painting on their sneakers since the dawn of time but since the creation of sneaker forums, documentaries, TV series, magazines and guys getting signed to major labels for collaborations, it has really brought the art form into the forefront of sneaker culture.
There are a few guys who are able to do this full time now, which really speaks to the popularity of the customized sneakers. The design process, creativity and work put into customs have increased infinitely in the previous few years.
There was a time where a pair of shoes with new laces or painted tongue and toe box would have been classified as a custom but now you get all sorts of designs, clear panels, removable tongues and also customized shoe boxes, it really has come a far way and there is no slowing down in sight.
In a time where sneaker collectors are always searching for something original or limited why not spend that little bit extra and be assured that what you are going to be wearing is something that no one else on the globe will have.
With the growing of the scene right now, where would you like the scene to be heading? If you could get paid to do this for a living, is this something you might want to do?
The fact that my shoes are being exhibited in a museum is very exciting to me, especially a museum that is as prestigious like the National Gallery of Victoria. If my shoes are viewed as artworks that is great but if someone is just going to classify them as customized sneakers then that is ok as well.
For the scene in general, it seems to me that it is becoming slightly more commercialized, maybe I’m biased being a customizer but it is not uncommon to see something on a customized sneaker and then there be a release by a major brand many months later in a similar style. With customizers these days doing work for celebrities as well as these major shoe labels I think that it is obviously becoming more commercial but for the majority of well known unsigned sneaker artists the passion for shoes and customizing is there regardless. In my opinion if we spend 30+ hours working on a pair of shoes it is more then acceptable to have them be viewed as a piece of artwork.
In the future it would be a dream for me as an artist and sneaker enthusiast to be able to do this as a living one day. Working on a pair of shoes for release by a major company or working for them on a full time basis it would be amazing, but I can only keep my fingers crossed and keep on working hard, there are a lot of great customizers out there, so it’s a long way off.
Well you are on the right track now and if any of the majors are reading this, they can get in contact with you I guess.
Hey we can only hope.
Speaking of moving ahead, I saw you were on a magazine in Australia. Tell us a little about that.
Yeah I recently had an interview in Jetstar magazine which I think turned out nicely. They were happy to work with me photo wise, its not every day a magazine is happy to have a one-page-photo of someone that does not show their face. I have got a lot of positive feedback from it as well which was nice; since it soon will not be widely available I will make it accessible from the website.
By the way what is the meaning behind you name?
Sekure was my graffiti alias of the past few years, I think the name is somewhat self explanatory but when I went to register the business it came to my attention that it was already registered to an American security company. After that I decided to add the “D” as a separate word, basically represents “Design” but Secure D also has basketball undertones as well so it all tied together nicely.
So will there be anything else coming out from you, besides customs?
Moves have already been made in the apparel direction but I am still in the design stages. I wouldn’t expect it in the next 6 months as it’s really something that I want to bring out at the highest level of quality and hence it’s taking a bit longer then I would ultimately desire. Initially the clothing will be created with fellow Melbourne designers but after that who knows. My focus at the moment is definitely my sneakers, anything else that comes with that is a bonus.
Yeah one step at a time I guess. Let us know about your favourite piece u have done to date and why?
Two shoes stand out in my mind, firstly my Hartigan Dunks. I am a big fan of the artwork of Frank Miller and it was his series of graphic novels “Sin City” that inspired me to finally do my own custom sneakers. I also got some encouraging feedback on them, who knows what would have happened if they went poorly, might not be here talking to you today.
Secondly would have to be my Daylight Hallucination LeBron II’s mainly because it was my break though shoe on many of the sneaker forums getting a lot of attention and support which was pleasing. I think to have such a design on a signature basketball shoe was a bit surprising for a few people but that’s what I enjoy doing, they definitely have to be at the top as well.
They are both great pieces and the LeBron’s were a totally different twist that got my attention too. Many customs seem to be on a similar base sneaker and it’s always good to see a variation.
Absolutely, that’s what I was trying to get at before as well about the base shoes, a carefully selected base shoe is just as important as the design you put on it.
I can’t agree more. Can you give some advice to people who want to start doing custom sneaker?
I think as long as you try and develop your own niche or style then you will go far. The most important thing is to just take your time and produce works of top quality. There is no substitute for hard work and if you put in the extra hours then it’s most definitely going to pay off. Not to mention only use top grade materials, there is plenty of information on sneaker forums such as Sole Collector and Sneaker Freaker about paints, etc, so take advantage of it.
Well thanks for your time, now we know a little bit about the man behind the customs! Any last props, shouts or plugs?
Well Astoria VIII was pretty much the first person who supported me in my customizing and got me the appropriate paints, so “thank you” must go to him. Also the Kickz101 TrashTalk community, Jazz-Quoc-Dime-Soultrain and BP, as well as fellow customizers Mache and KB. That should be enough, I don’t wanna ramble on.
Thanks mate, all the best.