The world of art is definitely not a straight-forward cut and paste environment. There really are no rules or limitations to what artists can do, and Jerrod Brown, impractical surface extraordinaire, proves just how limitless art can be.
There’s not a day that Brown doesn’t remember having a pencil or brush in his hand. Creating life on paper and canvas was, and still is, as natural as breathing for him. “I’ve been drawing as long as I could remember, but it took a serious turn for me my freshman year of high school. My art teacher Don Williams saw something in my art and he just started to challenge my craft. I went to my first Arkansas Young Artist Association (AYAA) convention and won my first medal in the Expressive Pencil/Graphite category,” Brown shares.
Since then, Brown has delved deeper into his craft and tested the waters on where his skills can be translated, and it just so happened that his brush was pulled toward footwear – reminiscent of his younger years. “When I was in grade school, I traced over sneakers in magazines and redesigned them. My classmates would talk about how much cooler my redesign looked than the actual shoe,” he says. “Years later, before I knew about any special custom shoe paint, I used some sharpies to doodle up a design on a pair of my old school shoes. I wore them to school and people liked them. I had a conversation with my dad about the whole sneaker art idea. Seeing his reaction as I was telling him my idea was all I needed to get started.”
In the spring of 2015, Brown launched DropKicks Custom. “At first I went by the name J-Splash Customs and It wasn’t really ringing a bell. So, I was at work one day thinking about it, how do we use our feet in a creative way that makes an impact. I thought of karate. From there, I started thinking of all the different kicks and moves. Flying Kick, Judo Kick, then I said Drop Kick. That same feeling I had when I came up with the whole idea of customizing shoes, came over me. I knew instantly that it was DropKicks Customs,” Brown shares. One of a kind designs, nostalgic cartoon characters, bright colors, and a signature paint drip, Brown does it all. “The process is very tedious at times. Especially when it comes to the prepping process of getting the shoe ready for paint. My custom style can range from portraits, abstract designs, characters, and graffiti style logos, but my favorite has to be an abstract style portrait with splattering drip effects.”
He does not limit his brush to one thing or another as he’s also painted images on articles of clothing, murals and traditional canvases. “My canvas and mural work is where I feel I can be more expressive and that’s because of working on a bigger space where I can get those different splatter and drip effects that I can’t really get to look natural on a shoe. Also with shoes, clients are more specific about what they want on their shoes, so I can only go so far with expressing my style when it comes to shoe work,” Brown explains. His style, which Brown describes as being bold, expressive and heartfelt, pops on whatever surface he turns into a canvas.
Brown has been through the stages of a child who likes to draw, student with talent winning awards and now professional artist growing a business that he hopes to one day have the opportunity to push further with a collaboration with a company, athlete or celebrity. He’s experienced the highs and lows artists tend to face, and he has plans to keep pushing his skill and expression further. As he says, it’s a process. “My advice for young artists is no matter how hard things get or how slow the start up is, stay consistent and trust the process. The minute you give up could be that minute you’ve been waiting on for that life time opportunity to come,” Brown says.
For pricing on custom orders and more examples of his work, visit the DropKicks Custom Facebook page here.