It’s not everyday that you see sausage-decorated BBQ themed adidas shoes, but for Alexander Osipov, also known as @canyaon on socials, the weirder the design, the better. The 23 year old whose hobby “is to do crazy sneaker casts” designs in a realm of his own, whether it be using a Swoosh-carved pumpkin to installing a loud speaker on a pair of classic suit shoes.
Having been in the sneaker customisation business for just over a year without any design background, Alexander’s eyes are already set on a collaborative goal: “Balenciaga”. The artist was initially inspired by other designers in the game as well as the lack of interesting designs available in stores. “I bought a Nike windbreaker in a thrift store, I pulled it over an old sneaker, zipped it up and tied a drawstring around it”, he tells us about his first creation, which was an instant hit on TikTok.
With over 100k followers on Instagram and 370k on TikTok, and his videos often racking up over a million views, Alexander’s shoe designs are as wild as they are admired. “I’m not a sneakerhead or a collector” he assures us, but rather is drawn to the design of the footwear. “It’s the most interesting piece of clothing, [with] lots of different materials, shapes, colours, models [and] brands”. With all these different elements to sneakers, Alexander sees this as endless pathways to his creativity. From a tea-pot Balenciaga model to a Salamon ski goggles-decorated snow boot, the options are limitless.
“I’m looking at 360 degrees, observing everything” he explains as his inspiration is as engulfing as his output. It’s as simple as “walking on the street, you can look at an old car and be inspired by the unusual design of its headlights. Or listening to some music, you can fantasise how sneakers would look ideally suited to this track”. Music has become a big source to draw from for Alexander, noting that UK rappers Sainte, Ashbeck, El Londo, ayrtn and Lauzza are constantly playing in his ears.
Considering Alexander’s out-of-the-box creations, we were eager to find out more about his behind-the-scenes process. “It’s nothing fancy, I just buy or order the materials I need and get to work” he told us nonchalantly. When it comes to the materials used, it depends on the project. “I can use anything” admits Alexander, “Often it’s building materials, or I even use food and improvise with sports equipment”.
Improvising and experimenting is part of Alexander’s daily routine, who tends to digitally mock up his designs before getting his hands dirty, having “more freedom for creativity” this way. “It’s rare that the final design comes up immediately,” he tells us, “sometimes starting from one idea, you turn 90 degrees and do something completely different”.
From spending around 2 days to whip up a Photoshop mockup to 2 weeks to put it all together physically, Alexander’s design approach is always different depending on the project, but his ethos stays the same: “I just like what I do”.
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