We had the good fortune of connecting with Cassy Karyshyn and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cassy, how do you think about risk?
One risk I can think of is closing my orders for over three months to paint the Art History Air Forces 1s. Since these high-end customs were not commissioned by anyone, it could have been easy to become anxious about making enough money to support myself. I decided to replicate ten of the most well-known works of art on a sneaker purely because I wanted to! I had started to become bored of painting themes that other people had requested. Even though my art business is primarily commission-based, my projects don’t always have to be determined by others. I love creating whatever my mind comes up with. I have struggled to know my art’s worth ever since I started, so raising my prices felt like another huge risk. With the help of more experienced art friends, I have come up with a 3-tier pricing system for custom footwear that I am satisfied with. Fear prevents you from creating to your fullest potential, so I will continue to take wise risks as long as I am alive.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started Cassy Kustoms at age sixteen and I cannot imagine what little-me would think about the career I have invented for myself! Even though it started as a hobby, it is much more than that or a side hustle; It’s like being both the boss and the employee- not to mention the social media manager, shipping department, accountant, creative director, customer service, painter, videographer, editor, and much more! I am beyond thankful to have a job that includes many things that I love to do, but it has not been an easy journey. I have always been intentional about documenting my portfolio as best as I can, so I started sharing my projects and videos about my projects on Instagram in 2020. My business began with family, friends, and word of mouth.

There have been many moments and seasons where I have felt like I am not succeeding or where I want to be. When business seemed to be going downhill for a while last year, it allowed me to create more art for myself. I have learned to not waste the waiting. I have learned that confidence only comes when you have security in who you are- not who anyone else says you are. Comparison leads to insecurity but, celebrating others defeats comparison!

I now have over 102k followers on Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube combined. I am thankful for social media and the internet because I can share my art with anyone willing to watch or look at it. When I post on social media, I am adding to my digital portfolio and posting what makes me happy. I hope that the impacts of my business on the world are only ever positive.

Even though I’m a sneaker artist, I have never been into the sneaker world however, I fell in love with using footwear as my canvas so that people can wear my art wherever they walk, instead of walking by it on a wall. Sneaker art allows me to combine my passion for painting with other’s passion for shoes. I paint because I want some of the never-ending ideas in my head to become a physical reality that can inspire other people.

Currently, I am a sophomore in college working towards my graphic design degree. I do my best to keep Cassy Kustoms running consistently throughout my busy semesters, so time management is crucial. I have often gotten frustrated being forced to sit in classrooms when I would much rather sit in my sunny “shoedio” and paint the days away. Recently, I have begun to see the importance of separating my business-owner life from my personal life from my college student life. A practical way that I do this is by having specific times of the day or week to focus on each. And at college, I prefer to go by my full name, Cassandra, to help with that separation.

What makes you happy? Why?
If I had to answer this question with one word, it would be “art”. Since I don’t have to answer this question in one word, let me elaborate; I enjoy watching myself build upon each stage of the painting process and create a finished artwork I’m happy with. I love swirling paint around to create colors I’ve never mixed before. I love how different colors produce a variety of feelings. I love incorporating the organic flows of nature in my compositions. My trained eye for detail allows me to slow down and pay attention to every spot of a painting that needs another stroke of my paintbrush. Together, all of these carefully handcrafted moments form the final products you see. I love the moments when my jaw drops because I didn’t expect a painting to turn out as well as it did. I love cinematically capturing and sharing the messy behind-the-scenes processes with others. Doing what makes me happy naturally allows me to meet other people who are passionate about what makes them happy. I love becoming friends with other artists. Using my God-given talents makes me happy because I know that is my purpose in this life.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There is not a single thing I’ve accomplished that I can say I’ve done in my own strength. I owe all the growth of my brand to God. It is amazing to think that the Creator of the universe created me and gave me my talents. Therefore, every artwork I create is like a collaboration with God and a continuation of what He has created. Giving everything about my business to God has brought opportunities I could have never imagined being possible.

Many people have been supportive and helped me get to where I am now. I’m thankful for every single person who has ordered from me and followed along on this journey. I’m thankful to the team at Angelus Direct for their support and opportunities to create content. I am so thankful for clients who have shown me grace when I was still figuring out how to professionally run my business.

Website: https://cassykustoms.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cassykustoms/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassy-karyshyn-44a6a2217

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100070032241134

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/@cassykustoms/videos

Other: College art portfolio: https://cassandrasart.com/

Image Credits
Victoria Maxwell Photography (for “paintphotoshoot.jpg” and “painter.jpg”) all the others are by me.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.