First and foremost, Chris Dillon aka American Patina is a great guy. I met him 5 years ago at my first US trunk show at Leffot in NYC. He was a big supporter of The Shoe Snob Blog and while he didn’t come to buy shoes, he did come to show his support and meet me in person. What I will never forget is him asking me if I liked Sub sandwiches. I said ‘of course!’ and he said, ‘okay great, I am going to bring you something special.’ And what he brought me was a Super Sub bigger than an American Football and that could have fed like 5 people. I ate about a 1/4 of it. It was good, but way too much food. But that sums up Chris. A very kind and generous person with a lot of passion and since then we have kept in touch as he carried on with his journey of finding his niche in the shoe industry.
Fast forward to present day and we find that Chris has undertaken a long journey of growth and schooling in the art of patina. He started a company and service and is now one of the few Patina Artists the US has to offer. Here I ask him a few question to help paint a picture of his abilities and background.
1. How long have you been doing Patina? What got you interested in it?
It started back in 2013 when I was looking for some creative expression. I had just been through an unhealthy break-up with a girl I wanted to marry and I needed to put my energy into something salubrious and productive. I always had a passion for shoes and it was at that time I came across the work of Alexander Nurulaeff of Dandy Shoe Care and my world changed; I never knew you could create art like that. That’s when my whole passion and drive became obsessed with learning the art of patina.
2. What training have you had in it?
Initially, I am self-taught with no prior art experience at all. I spent about 3 years practicing almost every day on old shoes that I would find at your local thrift stores. I try researching as much information on the Internet and surprisingly at that time there was there very little to no information on how to create patinas. I reached out to Alexander of Dandy Shoe Care asking if he would teach me but he rightfully declined, for obvious reasons, as he wanted to keep his trade skills a secret. Fast-forward to 2017, I went to Belgium to train under Landry LaCour of Bespoke Patina, which was a great experience to understand patina and learning about shoes in general. He helped push me to really fine-tune my eye to details. Then the opportunity to go to Italy to finally study under Alexander at Dandy Shoe Care came in 2018 for his Master Program. This was a life-changing experience as Alexander taught me the true art of patina. I’ve learned more in one hour than the year’s prior to practicing my skills. He is truly a master artist but also a patient and humble teacher. As of now, I am the only person who has been trained under both Landry and Alexander.
3. What are your starting prices?
My starting prices for a basic patina starts at $125.00 and on up. I offer full shoe upper restoration, coloring and artisanal patinas with custom design colors that are unique to each customer’s request.
4. What do you not do? i.e. suede etc
I usually will work on most leather items, even suede (depending on the condition). If I feel that the shoes or leather items are beyond repair or not the best quality to work on, I will just decline to work on them or refer them to someone else who might be able to assist them. I am constantly researching and learning to fine-tune my craft.
5. What are your aspirations as a patina artist??
There are so many things to aspire towards in this craft. I love to restore old shoes and leather goods to bring them back to life for my customers. I also want to continue collaborating with other companies providing my patina services for them. I had created artisanal patinas for Taft?https://taftclothing.com/, Gustin https://www.weargustin.com/
****As you can tell by the post, Chris and I did a few things together as a test and I really liked the results so expect to soon a collaboration between him and my brand J.FitzPatrick Footwear****
I’m in the process of releasing my own private artisanal patina line this year called?“American Patina by Chris Dillon”.?Items include men’s footwear, women’s luxury bags and other high-end leather items from factories around Spain and Italy.
6. How do customers contact you, do business with you etc?
They can contact me directly via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or go to my Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/american__patina/
7. Anything else you want to add or for me to say?
YEAH, YOU’RE AN AWESOME DUDE!
**** Very kind words Chris, thank you****
To all of those that have been yearning for an American Patina option, well look no further as Chris is your man!
A beautiful week to all