They say a key to life is making your passion your work, but really, who's going to pay you to tickle penguins dressed as Mary Poppins? For custom gear from a man whose passions run to kicks, check out The Ave.
The Ave's a small Venice shop focused around a 9 by 6-foot printer used to customize black or white Chuck Taylors in any manner you can possibly conceive, all from a former advertising guy who's been obsessed with Converse since he was 12, but unlike you, Converse isn't his code word for masturbation. To ensure options are sweet, he's hired a graphic designer from Seattle to create a tattoo-parlor-esque book with over 100 styles; options range from joints w/ photos of famous people (Benjamin Franklin; Bob Marley) to surrealist art (a low-top pair called "The Graffiti Galaxies") to odes to different LA locales, like a sunny number called "The Hollywoods" and a silhouetted cityscape named "The Green Downtowns", which is weird since A.C. was really more of a post-up threat. Since they've got computerized templates for each size of adult Chucks, they can also do all-out custom numbers, including scans of customers' art, custom illustrations working right with the designer, and even, weirdly enough, reprints of photos of people's pets or kids, or both, if your pet is a young goat.
Each shoe takes about 30 min to print, and they've also got their own line of tees, w/ locally-relevant prints including the Golden State bear, a smattering of Venice street signs, and a young Governor Schwarzenegger holding a topless woman on his back, who proves there can be little distinction between passion and work when you're coming all the time.