Jimmy Conca started designing shoes in 2012. His toolbox contains masking tape, an X-Acto knife and paint.
His first client was former Denver Broncos safety Rahim Moore. Conca, who also paints portraits of athletes, designed Jamal Murray’s custom Adidas CrazyExplosive shoes that Murray wore for the Nuggets’ 70’s, 80’s and 90’s themed nights earlier this season.
Conca spoke with BSN Denver about his career and what else he has in store for Murray this season.
BSN Denver: When did you first get into designing and customizing shoes?
Jimmy Conca: A few years back. I had painted three portraits for Rahim Moore. He asked if I could do his cleats, and the rest is history.
BSN: Why’d you go the shoe route?
JC: My background is airbrushed paintings. Motorcycles, helmets, car custom paint and pinstriping. I kind of fell into the shoe thing.
BSN: What was the first piece you did?
JC: As far as shoes go, I did a pair of cleats for Rahim’s Moore. I just changed the colorway.
BSN: Were you a sports fan growing up?
JC: I played and watched all kinds of sports growing up, mainly football, basketball and golf. I would say my mother got me involved with sports. She attended the University of Northern Colorado and played softball.
BSN: Where do you get your inspiration from for the colors, design, etc…
JC: I get my inspiration from the shoe company’s themselves. I like to play off of what they’ve already done. I like to make my customs look like they are from the manufacturer too and not just painted on.
BSN: What have been some of the favorite shoes that you’ve done?
JC: The ”IT” cleats for Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib. The camo designs look awesome. And also the cleats I’ve done for charity like the ”Unicorn” and ”Salvation Army” ones I did for the Dallas Cowboys.
BSN: How did you get connected with Jamal Murray?
JC: The Nuggets reached out to me. Normally, I deal directly with the athlete themselves, but in this case, the Nuggets reached out to me. They asked if I could produce four pairs, one for each ”Decade Night,” 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 2000’s with each shoe designed to represent that decade.
BSN: Did Jamal have any input on the design or colors?
JC: He did not. I came up with the designs and color schemes. The shoes provided have been the hardest pair I have customized to date.
BSN: How long did it take to make the three different pairs you’ve done for him?
JC: They take anywhere from 3-5 hours per pair not including prep and design time.
BSN: What are your emotions like when you see Jamal or any athlete wearing your shoes?
JC: Pride and appreciation. It’s a dream come true to see professional athletes wearing my artwork and coming back for more!
BSN: Any teasers for the fourth Murray shoe for 2000’s night on Friday?
JC: Powder blue and gold.