CJ art students finalists in Vans custom culture shoe contest

Hand painted shoes in top 50 nationally
CJ art students finalists in Vans custom culture shoe contest

It’s not election time, but Carl Junction high school needs your vote in the Vans Custom Culture shoe contest.

Art students, Theresa Rodriguez and Rachel Jones have
body of work, but recently their canvas took a different shape. The canvas of Vans shoes.

Rachel, a freshman noted the challenges, “Usually you have a flat surface to look at all the proportions and get them all right. But
here you have to account for the curves and stuff.”

Senior Theresa Rodriguez explained her struggles, “The background of the horizon on the sky was really hard to blend the colors together.”

Vans sent shoes to 500 schools that applied for its competition. Teacher Nellie Mitchell said that in itself was a win just to be chosen to compete.
She already had art classes doing designs on paper. And then students voted for their favorites.

The final product didn’t come out like the original sketch for Rachel, but for the both girls creating the art on the shoe was a process.

Rachel said, “I definitely did it in layers. I did like the dude on it first then worked my way up and around. I found I never worked on it more than an hour or two at a time.”

Both designs require the pair of shoes to see the complete image. One the St. Louis arch with clouds around it in the sky and the other a tribute to jazz music with a horn player depicted.
Rachel admitted, “The horn was like, my downfall. I like had to redraw it like five times, repaint it like 3 times, cause it was always wrong, and not in the right spot.” She said there were other fixes, “I t was too dark, so I added highlights to the notes just to make them stand out a more.”

Their submitted designs made the top 50 in the nation. Both girls were surprised. The shoes, too big to wear are going in display case.

The winning school gets 75 thousand dollars. Mitchell would improve equipment and take students to a big city museum. She explained, “I think having an experience like that would really connect them to art in the culture and outside of our community. I think that would be really cool.”

But Theresa who will graduate, said she might not share in that but believes simply doing art in school has benefits. She said, “It’s fun to me. It is relaxing and it just calms me. And to express my creativity.”
Even when it’s on a shoe.

The school needs daily votes to win. You go online and vote once per email through May third. Click here for a link for voting.