Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Twilight Lexicon

We just finished this pair of chucks for Laura Byrne-Cristiano (A.K.A. Pelirroja or Pel) ~ Co-Owner, News Writer, & On Air Personality of the longest running Twilight site on the web:

Laura is the chief content writer for much of the Lexicon’s daily news. She notably debunked the Vanessa Hudgens casting, and Stephenie Meyer lawsuit rumors ahead of major media. She evaluates items of interest to the fans of the Twilight world on a daily basis. She routinely connects with representatives from EW, Access Hollywood, and EXTRA to name a few.

Back in 2003 Laura “met” Lori on a Harry Potter site devoted to the character of Remus Lupin. Lori, with whom shares her Remus Lupin and Jane Austin obsessions, got her into Twilight by nagging, begging, and pleading for someone else to read it. Lori, in case no one has noticed, is persistent. Laura is still stunned that she bought the book, since she has been terrified by vampires as long as she can remember.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Twilight Custom Converse

The Twilight Saga is the biggest deal since Lord of the Rings, and I have to admit, I am a Twifan!
How did Punk Your Chucks get involved with this phenomenon?

Well, I first heard about Twilight from my oldest daughter. I would call her and she would not have time to talk because she was reading this unbelievable book called Twilight. She read every book (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse first), one after another, sometimes staying up all night. Then she raced to Barnes & Noble when Breaking Dawn came out.

I had no interest at first. That was until we received a request to paint custom sneakers for the producers of the movies, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey.

MAG was hired to paint two pairs of Twilight Converse for Marty and Wyck so they could wear them to the New Moon premiere. It was then that I started to think that we should probably buy the movie. I thought it would be embarrassing if we have this deal and yet don't know anything about the stories or movie.

So we went out and bought the Twilight dvd movie, as well as all four Twilight Saga books.
First we watched the movie together. Then we watched it a second time, then a third...
Both MAG and I fell in love with the movie. I would never have imagined that MAG would love such a story, but he does. He has since watched it more than I have!
About a week or so after first seeing the movie I started to read the books. Needless to say I couldn't put them down. I read all four books (Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse and Breaking Dawn) within a few days.
After Mary Bowen and Wyck Godfrey became clients, many others followed.
We have since painted custom Converse sneakers for Peter Facinelli (who plays Dr. Carlisle Cullen), Jackson Rathbone (he plays Jasper Hale), as well as Jackson's bandmates from his group 100 Monkeys.

We have also painted Twilight Converse for:

And we are currently painting chucks for:

MAG - The Man Behind the Art

MAG was born in New York City (Washington Heights). His mom was a very gifted artist too. She was a kindergarten teacher for the NYC school system. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 63.

MAG's father was estranged from his family when MAG was very young. His father has also since passed away (cancer).

When MAG turned 18 he joined the United States Air Force. He served in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s during Desert Shield. He lived in a tent for four months and still talks about it! Funny fact: He loves animals. He tried to bring a camel back to the states to keep as a pet. But the quarantine was too long and expensive so he backed out. He served his country for about 8 years before receiving an honorable discharge (and several awards from the service).

MAG has worked as a welder, machinist, etc., but his heart has always belonged to art. It has always been his dream to earn a living doing what he loves.

MAG's talent is not limited to just sneakers either. He is a very gifted sculptor and he loves to paint vinyl toys.

MAG and I have been married for 16 years. We were married in Charleston, SC.

We have four children: Nicole, age 21; Joey, age 18; Gabrielle, age 14; and Matthew Jr., age 11.

Our children are also very talented. Like they say, it runs in the family. Our daughter Nicole is a gifted artist and writer. Our daughter Gabrielle is also very talented at drawing and writing. Nicole is pursuing a career in writing while Gabrielle is working on building a portfolio to work for Pixar one day.

I know MAG is called a "celebrity" artist all the time, but honestly, he is just a regular guy who loves to paint. He is extremely hands on with the kids and is more domestic and I am!

MAG also loves making his customers happy. He gets so excited when he receives feedback from happy clients.

If you want to contact MAG you can email him directly at
He reads all his emails and will answer you!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Our Celebrity Clientele - Tommy Lee

Out of all the celebrities we have painted for, Tommy Lee is by far the most interesting story!

We received an email from "Tommy Lee". Well, I did not believe it at all. I thought it had to be a joke and I made it clear how I felt.

Despite my doubts MAG emailed this "Tommy Lee" back. Of course, he did ask if someone was pulling his leg.

A day or so later another email..."Yo dude, trust me, it's me."

Well, now we're intrigued. So MAG writes him back. He emails back saying he would love a pair of our sneakers with his tattoos on them.

At the time he was in the group Supernova (Rock Band Supernova TV show). They were getting ready to go on tour (we already had tickets). MAG asked him for backstage passes and got this response...

"Hell yeah dude!
Just email me a few days before
the show and I'll hook ya'll up!!!
I'm a size 10 1/2 - 11"
"I do my own stunts,
Tommy Lee"

This was too good to be true. There's no way Tommy Lee was emailing my husband back and forth! But MAG was convinced and proceeded to paint the most awesome chucks for him.

Then the day of the concert (in Buffalo, NY) was here. MAG and I, chucks in tow, went to the venue and checked the front desk for backstage passes. No passes were left for us...

Oh no I thought. I see MAG standing there and I just knew it was a cruel joke. But MAG refused to believe it. He asked them to please contact Tommy's assistant and they said they would.

About one hour later an envelope is left for us at the front desk. Inside are two backstage VIP passes, and two more tickets for the concert! I can assure you all, I got an "I told you so" that night.

We watched the concert and had a blast (we were big fans of Supernova at the time).

After the concert we proceeded to go to where everyone was waiting for the meet and greets. People paid over $750.00 each just to meet them!

We're sitting there and down comes Tony Sullivan, Tommy's personal assistant. Well, he grabs us and personally takes us upstairs.

We get upstairs and walk down this hallway. First we meet Lukas Rossi (winner of the Rock Star Supernova television reality show). We're talking to him and then out comes Tommy Lee!

MAG's first reaction was ****** (you can imagine what he said). Tommy laughed and hugged him.

MAG handed Tommy his sneakers and he freaked out. He started calling everyone over to see them. Then Lukas said he wanted a pair too (we painted for Lukas too which I'll talk about in another post).

MAG and Lukas Rossi

We hung out with Tommy for a while, took photos, laughed, had a blast. And I have to tell you, he was a gentlemen to me. I was very impressed with him. You read about him in the tabloids and his bad behavior, but truly he was a sweetheart in person. He was real and didn't make you feel like he was above you because of his celebrity.

MAG, Lukas Rossi, Tommy Lee, Dilana
and me (the odd one out)

Before we left, MAG, Tommy Lee and Lukas made plans to meet up again at the next show in Toronto, which was about 2 days after.

MAG and his friend Steve went to the Toronto show and this is a very funny story...

Before the show MAG and Steve were standing in front of the stage (left), in front of everyone who paid for front row seats (that's where Tony Sullivan told them to go). The head of security came over and asked to see their tickets. MAG said, "I don't have any, but I'm a friend of Tommy Lee."

At that point the guard called over about four more security guards (between MAG and his friend they must have looked threatening). Then he said, "I've heard it all before."

By this time, the lights were still on and everyone in the first three or four rows were staring at them like they were insane. MAG said, "Well, do you want me to call Tommy?" and he goes, "you better do something."

So MAG called and Tony said, "I'll be down in a second."

Two minutes later Tony shows up, slaps a VIP pass on MAG and his friend, and says, "See you after the show."

Right then, the first four rows broke out into applause. The security guard then says, "Well, that's a first." and MAG tells him, "I told you I was telling you the truth."

Massey Hall in Toronto
Jan. 2007
MAG hanging out with "ax king" Gilby Clarke, originally from
Guns & Roses (Illusion era)!

Our Celebrity Clientele - Will Smith

Anyone who has visited our website knows that MAG has painted sneakers for many celebrities. So I'm going to give you the inside scoop right now...

When you think of Will Smith what comes to mind? The Fresh Prince? Or just that he's the biggest star in the universe! I loved him in Independence Day. And I'm always impressed when a rapper crosses over into acting and does it successfully like he did.

Well, our first celebrity client was the one and only Will Smith.

We received a call from Akiva Goldsman's (Director) assistant while they were filming I Am Legend. It was Will's birthday and they wanted to give him a cool gift that was one of a kind, so they commissioned us to paint a custom pair of low top chuck taylor converse sneakers for him.

We couldn't believe it. This was the most exciting thing that happened to us so far.

The I Am Legend crew surprised him on the set with our sneakers, his birthday gift. We were so excited. Celebrities can hire anyone and yet they hired us! That defintely got us thinking...if they want our shoes, then who else would?

How we began

My name is Gina and this is my first blog post. I'm going to start from the beginning, the birth of Punk Your Chucks.

First, if you're wondering who I am, I am MAG's wife and co-founder of Punk Your Chucks.

How did we begin?

It was several years ago. I saw a pair of Converse online with Green Day painted on them. I could not believe it. I thought they were so cool!

I knew my husband was an artist, so I asked him if he could do the same type of art. He said he would try. So I bought our first pair of Converse. They were green.

He painted another design of Green Day and I put them on ebay. Well, they sold for over $150.00! And that's how it all began.

We then needed a name for our new company. I came up with the name Punk Your Chucks myself. I thought, well we're not just painting chucks, we're punking them out. So the name Punk Your Chucks was born!

For a few years we only sold our sneakers on ebay. We did very well, but we wanted to take our business to the next level. So we decided to have our website

We paid a lot of money for the design of our site (I could never do it myself). I still love it. It's easy to navigate and hopefully enjoyable to visit.

So that's how we started, next blog: the start of our celebrity clientele!

This is the first pair of Converse MAG ever painted. When I saw these years ago I flipped out!