Elijah Rutland is a 2022 Florida A&M University (FAMU) graduate in Tallahassee, FL, with a B.S. degree in Graphic Design. Rutland, a native of Macon, GA, founded and created the rapidly emerging Fix My Sole brand (www.fixmysole.com). The brand specializes in the artistic customization of sneakers and the conceptualization and execution of unique digital illustrations. Rutland has also become recognized as a significant influencer of popular culture on all social media channels.
Rutland started sketching shoe designs on paper in elementary school because his parents would not buy him the expensive brand-name sneakers he coveted. Rutland recounts how his father told him he would “buy shares of NIKE stock rather than NIKE sneakers.”
Eventually, after Rutland reached high school, he convinced his father to buy him a $3 pair of sneakers from the local Goodwill and $10 worth of paint. He customized his first pair of shoes and posted them on social media, and his business boomed. According to Rutland, he has been drawing his whole life and uses his art “to say those things that I wouldn’t necessarily want to say out loud. I create a visual representation of my thoughts”.
Besides his sneaker art, Rutland has enjoyed renown as a digital illustrator. In 2018, he created the Black Rolf meme that went viral around the globe. As a result, Warner Bros. featured Rutland and Black Rolf at ComicCon 2019 in San Diego. Rutland has also worked on the animation team for projects like Netflix’s Green Eggs and Ham, Warner Bros.’ Scooby-Doo on HBOMax’s Aquaman: King of Atlantis Series, and Disney’s Big City Greens. While at FAMU, Rutland displayed the breadth of his artistic skills by playing trumpet in the world-famous Incomparable Marching 100.
Rutland and his work have been featured prominently in GQ.com, solecollector.com, and Airbrush Action magazine, among others. He has done custom design work for such notable clients as Cartoon Network, Beats by Dre, the NBA, and the NFL. Rutland was commissioned to do a piece for a #NFL Artist Replay project featured at Super Bowl LV in Tampa in February 2021. In March of 2022, Mercedes Benz featured him as a content creator on all its global social media channels.
Rutland was recently featured on NIKE’s social media channels sporting the company’s custom-designed LeBron James shoes and apparel. Rutland won the FANG Award as Student Entrepreneur of the Year at FAMU, and the U. S. Small Business Administration honored him with its “Outside The Box” business award. Rutland has also been featured as a guest speaker/lecturer at dozens of events, most notably as a keynote speaker at Minnesota’s 2019 MLK Holiday Celebration at the invitation of Governor Mark Dayton’s administration.
Most recently, he was featured in June 2022 as a national spokesperson and influencer for the inaugural Juneteenth federal holiday in collaboration with BET and Wal-Mart across all social media channels.
Since he graduated from FAMU, Rutland has become the full-time proprietor of Fix My Sole, LLC.
His motto is “You don’t have to worry about fitting in when you’re custom made.”