December 8, 2010 BY John Kim
Ben Smith is one of those unique cats who made his mark by, well, making his marks. Starting out in High-School as a sneaker customizer and local amateur tattoo artist, Ben Smith translated his hobby into the profitable niche of custom sneakers by capturing his own unique styling and artwork, which mainly consists of depictions skulls, amphibians, and of native cultures like the Aztecs. Using the Vans Slip-On as a blank canvas, Ben transforms the classic shoe into wearable pieces of art and just last month, launched Brush Footwear, and most recently, was showcased in Sneakerpimps in New York City.
An fortunate accident of sorts arrived when one of his Slip-On shipments of 1,500 pairs were not up to par with his personal quality standards, so here he was, stuck with 1,500 pairs of shoes. Instead of throwing them aside, Smith, with the help of Max Talbot and the Pittsburgh Penguins and young artists, hand painted the shoes and auctioned them off for a fundraiser to benefit the Max Talbot Foundation, a relief fund for children in Haiti. To take a look at Ben Smith’s great artwork, check out Brush Footwear, and continue reading for a small sample of his work. via pittsburghlive.