Runaway Dinosaur

For the love of the music…..

Rockin the Sneaks-Sole Junkie Interview

Posted by jhochstat on April 14, 2008

For this Rockin’ the Sneaks we are featuring an interview with renowned sneaker artist Steven Cedre Jr aka Sole Junkie.

In your bio on your website it says that you got into painting sneakers only after some friends and family told you about some folks in Harlem painting sneakers (not well) and making money off of them.

RD-How long did it take you to “get it right” and figure out the key to painting the sneakers to the point where they accurately reflect your art?

SJ-I don’t think I have it “right”…lol
Its all work in progress. The day you think you mastered something …you should just give up.
I like to challenge myself with every shoe..even if its just something minor.

RD-What was the first thing you painted on a pair of sneakers?

SJ-I painted a pair of AF1’s with the image of Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos (a Puerto Rican Leader and Hero of Mine) with machetes and hibiscus flowers. These were in mostly red with monochromatic portraits. I did these for myself. Put them online to show to my family and friends…and here we are today!

RD-How many different designs have you done to date and how long has it been since you painted your first pair?

SJ-Great question….Shit I don’t know how many designs I’ve done? I lost count a long time ago.
I can remember every single one…but never took the time to count.
Its been around 3 years now. I started out saying that I will just do kicks for friends and family as a hobby…but now its my life and lifestyle!
All I do is think about kicks and what I can do next!

RD-I see that your sneakers have been commissioned for / collected by people like Bobbito Garcia, Talib Kweli and Mrs Yancey (The late J. Dilla’s mother) can you tell us what designs you did for them?

SJ-Bobbito was the first…its not like you can’t have a conversation about shoes and not bring this man up! lol
I did a replica of the first pair of kicks the Albizu AF1’s in baby blue and red on all whites.
Talib’s joints were portraits of the super talented man…in warm browns, black and red accent on all whites.
Mrs. Yancey’s kicks were a range of pinks on all white AF1 Mids of her late son…the Legend…J DILLA.
They had two different portraits of him with the Shinning logo on the outer parts of the toes. I tried to capture him as best as possible…she said I did a great job! Sometimes money ain’t everything…that meant alot! I also wrote something for only her somewhere on the shoe…she and I know what and where.

RD-What design is the one you are most proud of?

SJ-All of them…lol
If I had to pick it would be my Latin Gold series…Tito Puente, Big Puns and Roberto Clemente’s.
I did these with portraits and real 22k gold and on the Tito’s real diamonds! These people don’t have to mean shit to anyone but me…I felt they left a great impact and were great. So I did these to appease myself. Turns out that there were a bunch of other people who liked them too.

RD-Is there a person who has commissioned / collected your work that made you say WOW when you found out?

SJ-I would like to say GOD… himself came down and was like: “Yo! I need a custom pair of Sole Junkie kicks!” lol
But seriously, everyone who’s ever purchased a pair from me deserves my respect and gratitude. I can’t thank one person more than the other…that’s not fair to them. I can however, thank them all for supporting me, my art, my passion, and most of all my family for letting me do what I love. Paint!
So yeah…thanks to everyone who’s ever supported me and copped some kicks from me!

RD-Your canvas work which can be seen at Gallery 33 East in Long Beach Ca mostly reflects your hometown…New York City. Why did you decide to focus on NYC themes such as graffiti, subway stations and Harlem streetscapes?

SJ-I focused on these themes because they are what I missed out here in California. It made a direct tie or connection to life outside “The City”. I can’t say I miss everything about back east, but there are certain things that I absolutely miss. So my paintings let me bring some of that with me.
The funny thing is that my paintings were void of any figures…and now I paint portraits on kicks! Go figure?

RD-What upcoming paintings/projects do you have in the works that you can tell us about?

SJ-Well I have a few things cooking…
I have my own paints! SOLE JUNKIE CUSTOM PAINTS! A major step for me. I used to get more emails about what materials I used than sneaker requests. Media was supposed to be a industry secret…I said…why not help another artist and myself at the same time? Its a win win situation and the world can always use more art! Who knows…maybe I can get big enough to where I can sponsor artists! Thats a goal I always keep in mind.
I have a book that I’m working on. It will be a small press and limited run on my art. I will try and keep my writings and verbal usage to a minimum. lol I want to show some processes on how an artist thinks, how I create and maybe a few things about me so you don’t feel like some crazy dude who likes to paint on shoes made a picture book!
I have a T-shirt line that will hopefully expand and open more doors.
Lace Locks and Inserts coming soon. Everone else has some type of crease prevention product…why not me? I figure if you invested this much money with me I want your kicks to last. Stay fresh forever!

In regards to paintings…I paint everyday on shoes. I haven’t been able to really concentrate on my canvas work.
In regards to commissions…no major stars or athletes on the horizon…they get so much for free….they forget people outside of their tax bracket still need to pay bills. Thats why I am exceptionally thankful to the few stars and athletes that bought from me so far! Thats big.

RD-What kind of music do you listen to when you paint? Who are some of your favorite artists?

SJ-I listen to HIP HOP, SALSA, REGGAE, REGGAETON, minimal Rock n Pop and SPANISH HIP HOP and REGGAE (yes there is a difference between that and Reggaeton!)
Wow that list is huge and ever evolving…
I’ll give you a few:
Talib ( I was a fan before the kicks and still am.)
Joell Ortiz
Bob Marley
Beenie Man
Buju Banton
El Gran Combo
Hector Lavoe
Ismael Rivera
Frankie Ruiz
Gomba Jabari

Damn …to many to name!

RD-How can people buy a pair of your hand painted sneakers or canvas work if they are interested?

SJ-First a little info…
Price point will match quality…in other words you get what you pay for.
So if you do decide to make that investment expect to compensate for your request. Kicks alone are a $100…so it will be more than that! lol
But I will answer all serious inquiries. Thanks

Man…there is no way that you CANNOT get a hold of me:

(The Blog and Myspace are updated quicker than the website…Flash sites are more delicate. lol)

Or you can just do a plain google on my name should do it! lol

Thanks and I look forward to any and all emails!

Peace, respect and kicks!



One Response to “Rockin the Sneaks-Sole Junkie Interview”

  1. […] Rockin’ the Sneaks – Sole Junkie Interview […]

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