By Tanya Vazquez, 17, Downtown Magnets HS
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Artemio "Temmy" Diaz shownig off his TC'd out kicks.

Artemio "Temmy" Diaz, 17, Downtown Magnets HS said: "I have always had a passion for kicks. I would always see people wearing nice and exclusive sneakers. Since I got kicked out of Downtown Magnets High my sophomore year and ended up going to Taft, I began coming up with my own ideas to paint my own shoes or paste fabric on the shoes. One day at school, I see one of my friends with a pair of Adidas, black and orange, customized. So, I asked him ‘Where did you get them at?’ He said ‘I got them customized at a shoe repair place.’

"I asked him to take my Adidas. I wanted red and black however they made a mistake and painted the whole shoe red. I didn’t want to get confused for a Blood gang member. Somehow I had to get rid of the excess red. This one boy, Marcus, would always come with his backpack painted. I asked him if he could get me some, and I would give him the money. So what I did was just start throwing paint at my red Adidas randomly. At the time, I used to call them "TD" (Temmy Diaz), since they were my initials. When I would wear them, I would get a lot of compliments, although I thought they were ugly. However, I never thought I would end up painting shoes.

"Then one day, I found out that my cousins friend painted shoes, his name was Alex. One day we went to his house, we were just chilling. He also complimented my Adidas. That same day, we both bought brushes and paint. Later on that day we would paint them simple, no designs. He was painting some Air Force and I was painting some Adidas. My first time, officially, painting some shoes with a brush, made a good job. That day, I realized that I was going to start painting my shoes. After a while, before we started our junior year, I painted some Air Force lime green and lavender, to match my shirt. I used paint tape to cover the areas that I didn’t want to paint. These shoes, I made stripes in the front. They came out nice. Then I painted another pair, orange and yellow, with stars. I also painted some jeans. Ever since then I’ve been painting a lot of shoes. Now I own over 60 pairs of shoes. I’ve painted other people’s shoes; have lots of customers. I’ve painted leather, patent leather, and suede shoes. Shoes I’ve painted: Vans, Nike Air Force 1, Dunks, Timberlands, Converse, Pumas and Adidas. For my birthday, my lovely aunt Selena, bought me lots of equipment; paint, plenty of brushes, rhinestones, glue gun, fabric, apron, etc."