GRAURE – Sneaker Artist

GRAURE – Sneaker Artist

Octavian Mihai Graure aka GRAURE – Custom Sneaker Artist

The number of sneakerheads is continuously increasing, classic silhouettes become statement pieces in everyone’s sneaker rotation and the culture created around this phenomenon is solid and sacred. Every major sportswear brand became a hybrid these last 10-15 years, driven by the evolution of streetwear and fashion trends. Nike, Puma, Adidas, Reebok, Asics and New Balance are some of the pioneers, brands that are older than their biggest fans and creators of everyone’s favorite shoes. From only a few colorways available to more than 20, collaborations with streetwear brands and premium makeovers, silhouettes old and new like the Air Force One, Puma Blaze of Glory,  Air Jordan V and Adidas UltraBOOST  are part of every sneaker enthusiast or amateur’s collection.

The classic pairs are already daily encounters and some of us can tell you all you want/need/don’t need to know about the said sneakers just by looking at them. The abundance of these staple pieces is one of the reasons behind the growing demand for sneaker customization. Sneaker artists are still rare birds to come across but those who made it have a busy and fruitful future ahead.

Sneaker customization is an art in itself that goes hand in hand with good craftsmanship. Octavian Mihai Graure aka GRAURE is able to master the two and the results speak more than any praise. Based in Bucharest, Romania the young artist is on the rise, with projects ranging from basic colorway changing to work-of-art pairs for the East European Comic-Con.


You’ve seen GRAURE‘s name pop up on our site and Instagam a couple of times so now it’s time for a little bit more insight. We’ve had the chance to sit down and talk to him about his craft and drive, his plans for the future and general perspective on what’s going on in the sneaker game and just how crazy some customization requests are. He defies his age with a mature understanding of the game and a solid plan for the future, his years in this craft too few for the knowledge he possesses on the process, chemicals and dyes used when making a sneaker. A young Shoe Surgeon (one of his favorite artists) in the making, here is what we’ve gathered from our meeting.

Being a business minded artist is pretty tough but Octavian has a clear view of both the point at where he’s at and how to make it to the next by pursuing and perfecting his craft, efficient social media management and future plans to start a brand (being a marketing student pays off when you’re also an artist). Right now, he’s under everyone’s radar in Bucharest when it comes to sneaker customization, taking part in Romania’s sneaker event Sole and Shape, countless collaborations with local icons and already touching down on foreign territory through Instagram , with recognition from famous fiber artist suppliers like Jacquard.

GRAURE is proof that hard work pays off best and his swift evolution is a promise of great things to come. He told us about how he began painting on shoes, how he taught himself everything he knows, the passion and time being put into what he does. After burning through a lot of “common” hobbies for a teenager, he began painting shoes for friends. One of the first works he was acclaimed for was a pair of galaxy print sneakers that started it all. Fast forward to 2017, GRAURE now spends somewhere between a few to 40 hours on a pair of sneakers. From simply painting on the shoe, he now goes through the whole process of removing any polish or chemicals covering the base of the “canvas” be it leather, the famous Primeknit , foam midsoles or anything in-between. After that he puts it all back on so you can wear your unique sneakers to hell and back without a scuff or chipped paint.

GRAURE speaks honestly about his work, from receiving crazy slot-machine themed sneakers requests to meeting all kinds of people that don’t respect his work and the time and money spent on it. Premium supplies and a lot of time go into everything he does and despite all the close-minded customers and naysayers, Octavian keeps on doing what he knows best and he’s getting better and better at it. With all this upcoming fame and recognition, he’s a down to earth and humble guy, but he definitely knows his worth and kindly shares his experiences with whoever has a sincere wish to listen. His prices are probably not what you’d expect, yet another proof of his honest desire to pursue his craft for hours and hours on end.

Recently, the young artist started doing his own projects and sneaker packs. From speckled and splattered shoes to the Flying Tigers inspired Warhawks – Puma Trinomic Sock NM x Stampd Pack and using the turkish ebru technique for the Marbled – Nike Air Force 1 Mid Pack. The Marbled sneakers definitely set the bar for other sneaker artists, the ebru technique used dressing the AF1 Mid silhouette beautifully. Always working, we’ll never know what to expect from him in the future other than what he let us in on.

_MG_1015 as Smart Object-2

Nike Air Force 1 Mid “Marbled” Custom Pack

Nike Air Force 1 Mid "Marbled" Pack

Nike Air Force 1 Mid “Marbled” Custom Pack

_MG_0952 as Smart Object-2

Nike Air Force 1 Mid “Marbled” Custom Pack

_MG_0947 as Smart Object_3

Nike Air Force 1 Mid “Marbled” Custom Pack

The transition from simply painting on shoes to actually being a sneaker artist revolves around GRAURE‘s urge to modify, experiment and turn ideas into reality, making a lot of sneakerheads happy and eager to show off their custom shoes. Being asked if he had ever considered delving even deeper into customizing sneaker, the artist confessed that one of his biggest aspirations is to create a shoe from scratch, either by himself or in collaboration with a big brand – yet again, art and craft combine.

When talking about future plans, GRAURE  mentions a lot of projects both personal and requested followed by planing to go all business in 2017 – his own brand – and we can definitely see that happening. The young artist is bound to keep on perfecting his skill, on creating his personal packs and turning other sneakerheads’ shoes into actual works of art. Make sure to keep Octavian under your radar ’cause soon custom sneakers will be cooler than limited-edition-quadruple-collaboration-signed-numbered pairs and you’ll want the best service for your shoes.



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