Nothing about Charlie Malta is subtle. From the wild orange hair to the “Guice Mann” moniker, he’s meant to stand out in a crowd. So it’s logical that his artwork is a reflection of that. By day Charlie is a student at the Columbus College of Art and Design and by night he’s Guice Mann, a customized shoe creating machine — armed with dozens of blank canvas sneakers filling his dorm room.
We recently conducted a Q&A with Charlie to find out more about his fashion sense, his artwork, and his business plans for the future.
Q: Tell us first about your background as an artist.
A: I have been drawing all my life. My brother Johnny got me into art when I was in the 8th grade and from then on I loved it. I love to paint and do really detailed drawings. I’m originally from Willowick, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland, but I now reside in Columbus and attend CCAD.
Q: So how did you get into making custom shoes?
A: I’ve been a shoe collector since grade school. I played basketball and I bought all the new styles that were on the shelves. I spent all of my money on new kicks. After awhile I got bored of all the shoes I had and wanted my own personal pair. So I snagged a pair of all-white canvas shoes from Wal-Mart and put my pen right to them. I wore them to school and BOOM… my company began.
Q: So tell us a little bit about your process.
A: Canvas slip-on shoes are my favorite to use. I do heels, boots and hi-tops as well. I use fabric paint, pens and markers.
Q: I’ve noticed that you’ve got an extremely active YouTube channel with over 500 videos uploaded. What draws you toward producing so much video content?
A: My Dad used to film everything when I was a kid and my cousin Nick went to film school and is now in California pursuing his dream of becoming a Filmmaker. The combination of my Dad and cousin inspired me to start filming things. I got my first camera in 9th grade and I wanted to get everything on film that I possibly could. I enjoy it, and it was mainly just for fun at first. I always have my camera on me, just in case I see something I want to capture on film. One day when I’m old I’ll be able to look back and see how crazy I was at a young age. I just love filming things and capturing the moment. I love being on camera.
Q: Where do you find artistic inspiration?
A: I find inspiration in other artists, such as my brother Johnny. Daniel Johnston and Alex Grey also inspire me. 90′s Hip Hop, different bands, movies and my other family members also inspire me. My favorite rappers are Machine Gun Kelly, K-Von The Great, Notorious B.I.G. and Wiz Khalifa. My favorite bands are Japanther and Neon Indian.
Q: Do you have any thoughts on other types of clothing you’d like to produce or any thoughts on creating a full time fashion business out of your artwork?
A: For sure! I want to eventually have my own line of apparel. I’ll probably start to do jeans and pants. So far I do shoes, shirts, bags and bracelets. Back home I painted my entire room and hallway with all of my crazy designs. I’d love to draw on an all-white car!
Q: Where can people find your shoes, either for display in art shows or for sale?
Q: Anything else you’d like to add?
A: My favorite beverages are Energy Drinks, Orange Juice and hot tea. My favorite food is Pizza. I also enjoy cheeseburgers and oranges. The nickname “Guice Mann” came about in 8th grade because of my orange hair and all the orange juice I drank. I was originally called “Orange Guice”, but over the years “Guice Mann” grew on me. I spell it differently because that’s just how I do it. I also have “Guice Mann” tattooed across my back. I want to thank God for all the talent he has given me.
More info can be found online at guicemann.com.