Jani Kuusela, most know on social media as @Qcustomkicks_, has been customizing kicks in Finland since 2013. A lover of traveling, exercise and his family cottage in Finland, we interviewed him to learn more about his work.
What’s your name and where are you from?
My name is Jani Kuusela and I’m from Finland, land of thousands of lakes and saunas.
What are your hobbies and background on the custom niche?
I’ve loved sneakers since I was in high school but I wasn’t never really into arts. Well ok, I did have my graffiti era so in that way I was into street arts for some years. It was ten years later when I found a website where American artist King Of Sneakers was selling paints and had written tutorials about painting sneakers (At that time there were really no Youtube videos about how to paint sneakers). I saw some of her Simpsons themed sneakers and I was blown away. This is when I started to find artist in me.
Where do you like to travel? And can you share a place/thing that helps you recharge your batteries?
I usually like to travel somewhere I have not yet been. My latest trip was to Dubrovnik and I just loved that city! One place where I travel every summer in Finland is my family’s summerplace in Puumala. Our cottage is in an island so there’s no traffic and noise from city. I love it! The best way for me to recharge my batteries during weekdays is to sleep enough, eat well, do sports and spend time with my family.
What or who is your inspiration when designing your work?
For me it’s when customer gives me artistic freedom for execution. And, of course, when you see in social media that someone has made something cool you get inspired by other talented people.
What are your 3 must-have products from the Tarrago Sneaker Care & Paint range?
I would say number one is Deglazer Leather Preparer for prepping any surface I paint. Second is Sneaker Paint Standard Colors because I like to mix colors I use myself. And third has to be Matt Maker to give my work that nice matt finish.
What is your favorite color?
Thats a hard one because I like them all! But I do like my black/yellow Dunks. That colourway always works for me.
What products do you recommend applying before the finished custom?
Depending on surface you are painting, but if we talk about customizing leather shoes its 1. Deglazer Leather Preparer 2. Tarrago Leather Paint. But also tape to cover places you don’t want paint to go. This is something you should use if you are a beginner.
Do you have any advice for young people who want to start on customization?
Practice is the key. Practice with your own shoes, your family’s shoes and take your time. Your first work might not be your best work, but just keep going and believe in what you do. Learn from mistakes you make during process.
What is the design you are most proud about?
I want to be proud of every work I send to my client so it always has to be my latest work.
If someone contacted you and asked for information about your work, what would be the most direct contact method?