Life With Lukas (11 year old Lukas Witt)
Billy Hobbs, owner of True Blue Customs sat down with me to talk about his passion for custom sneakers. As you will see painting sneakers is more than a job to Hobbs, it’s friendships and causes that it all worthwhile. Hobbs has been customizing full time for about 5 years. He has done work for lots of athletes from elementary to the pros and celebrities and everyday normal people like me.
Lukas: What’s your favorite shoe to customize?
Billy: “I would have to say Air Force 1, cause I do so many of them and it’s a simple, it’s an all white base shoe and it’s a leather shoe so that is probably one of my favorites”
Lukas: What shoe has gotten the most traffic on social media?
Billy: “Hmmm, it’s kinda hard to tell, some of the Hype Beast type shoe’s I’ve done. I’ve done a couple cause themed, I’ve done a couple of Louis Vuitton that have gotten kinda crazy, but usually anything the UK Basketball guys wear or anybody like Willie Cauley-Stein or Devin Booker anytime those guys wear my stuff those are usually the ones that get crazy looks?
Lukas: What’s the most difficult shoe to work with?
Billy: “Meshes, like a lot of the newer shoes are weird cause they have weird materials so they are hard to work with so mesh, synthetics it is a different process you have to sand them and do different additives to make sure they hold up”
Lukas: What project has allowed for a great friendship that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible?
Billy: “I am going to have to go back to Willie Cauley-Stein, when I did the gold Jordan 11 for Willie, I mean I did a bunch of stuff for him, little small stuff. But the gold Jordan 11 that he wore in 2015 I believe it was 2014-2015, we we 38 and we aren’t gonna talk about that. They were white with gold patent leather, those were probably the biggest one and since then Will and I have kept tight and I do stuff for him all the time. I went and visited him last week, so it’s a pretty good friendship”
Lukas: I know you’ve always wanted to do a custom shoe FOR Kobe. Since his death who are some people who have reached out for some sole inspiration?
Billy: “I’ve had a bunch of people reach out and want to do a Kobe tribute, Willie Cauley-Stein was one of the main ones. But I have had a lot of other clients, I’ve got a bunch of baseball guys since MLB is getting ready to start up. I have a bunch of those guys I will be doing here in the next couple weeks. There have been a ton but I am not really taking a whole bunch of them because I just don’t feel right so I am actually taking so money from that and donating the money to the MambaOn 3 Fund”
Lukas: What’s the most inspirational shoe you’ve done and why?
Billy: “That’s a good one, probably the Kobe pair I did for Willie (Willie Cauley Stein) a couple weeks ago because the significance of it with Kobe passing away. He was a big part of me being a Lakers fan for the last 20 years and I know he touched a lot of people not only with basketball but with the community, pretty much everyone loved Kobe”
Lukas: What has been the most difficult shoe project?
Billy: “Difficult. Portraits are always difficult. That has kinda been my kryptonite is what I tell people, but I am slowly starting to get better, like my portraits are starting to look more like the actual people. Like the Kobe pair for Willie, I was pleased and surprised myself. At least I am not painting kids pictures and they look like little Chucky dolls, so that is always good”
Lukas: What’s a project you would like to be a part of?
Billy: “I would love to be able to do something else for All-Star Weekend, I would love to be a part of that with Jordan Brand and Nike and do something cool, like I know last year I had Hami (Hamidou Diallo) in the Dunk Contest but I would love to be able to be there and doing something there. I think it would be awesome”
Lukas: When people hear True Blue Customs and Billy Hobbs what do you hope they will remember?
Billy: “I hope they think they remember me as an artist that pushed the envelope a little bit and did what I could to make people smile and make people happy and I want people to look at me and say hey he was doing it for the right reasons”
Stay tuned to Life with Lukas for more stories and interviews.