Texas high school senior turns heads with shoe art


DICKINSON — Side jobs for teens usually involve flipping burgers or packing groceries. But Donovan Green, a senior at Dickinson High School, uses art and an unusual canvas to show he’s not the typical teenager.

“When you look at me, you wouldn’t think I like to paint – it’s shocking to people,” said Green, an approximately 6-foot-4, 235-pound American football player and team member. Dickinson college basketball court. . “You don’t assume that from me.”

What started as a hobby drawing on his own shoes in sixth grade has become a source of income for Green, who creates custom art on sneakers for $80 to $120. the pair, depending on the extent of its customers. requests.

“I made another pair of my own shoes in ninth grade and then had my first client right after that,” Green said. “After that, it just took off and I started making shoes for other people.”

Since then — and after much research and practice — Green estimates he’s made 30-40 pairs of custom-designed sneakers, with even more on the assembly line. And Green’s shoes are catching the attention of the Dickinson community and beyond.

Recent projects for Green include a pair of Texas A&M Aggies-themed sneakers for a future college football teammate and a custom-designed pair of shoes for Dickinson quarterback Luke Martin, celebrating Martin’s recent college commitment to Harding University.

“He puts something on every part of this shoe; it looks like it was done by a machine,” said Dickinson Independent School District board vice chairman Corey Magliolo, whose son Coy owns a pair of sneakers with a Houston Rockets-themed design. directed by Green. “It is an artist.”

Green’s customers, many of whom contact him via social media, order a pair of plain shoes from any brand – although Green says the Nike Air Force 1s are the most popular – and tell him what they want. let their custom design be. On average, Green’s custom sneaker paint jobs take about two days, he said.

Hand-painted sneakers by Dickinson high school student Donovan Green lie on a counter in his bedroom.

Stuart Villanueva/Galveston County Daily News

In addition to a variety of brushes and paints, Green has other tools, such as a stencil machine, which he uses to create his designs.

Preparing the shoes for their paint jobs is the most time-consuming aspect of every project, Green said.

Before painting, Green wets the sneakers with nail polish remover and scrubs the shoes vigorously — otherwise the paint won’t stick, he said. After that, the shoes are meticulously taped to make sure the paint doesn’t leak. The painting then consists of applying several thin coats so that the colors do not appear uneven.

“Not many people do it, so they don’t know how long it takes or how hard it is,” Green said. “It takes longer than you think.”

A major benefit of Green’s side job is his flexibility, as he is able to work at a station in the corner of his room during the free time he has in his schedule for school and practice and sports games after school, he said.

“I didn’t want to go to work at a fast food joint and work specific hours and not be able to work out,” Green said. “I just liked it, so I went from there.”

Going forward, Green – who also noted that he draws his motivation from the artistic skills of his older brother Jordan – does not plan to slow down his fledgling sneaker painting business when he visits Texas A&M University for the fall semester and his freshman year of college football. , he said.


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