Turning Sneakers Into Artworks


Vrinda Chauhan, Staff Writer

Leave it to Diamond Bar High School’s art department to take a simple, white Vans shoe and transform it into one decked with beads, bright laces, and pink, orange and yellow patterns of fluorescent hues.

Last month, students in Jon Haprov’s Graphic Design class had the opportunity to participate in Vans’ Custom Culture Contest, a contest that allows students to submit designs of their own Vans shoe for a chance to win $50,000 and a trip to New York. In addition, the winner will have his own design sold as a limited edition at Vans stores.

To enter, art teachers had to sign their school up to participate. Only the first 2000 schools were selected, including DBHS. By February, four different styles of Vans’ shoes were sent to the school, consisting of Vans’ 106, Sk8 Hi, Slip On and Authentic. Students then had the option of working on the shoes alone or in groups to design shoes that aligned with the one of the given themes: art, music, action sports (referencing sports such as skateboarding, BMX, surfing, etc.), or local flavor. Judges will then select the group of shoes that make it to national level.

DBHS, which will be participating for the fifth time this year, has seniors Janice Kim, Brett Su, Benson Rong, Samantha Kim, Nancy Kim, Angela Lee, Melina Rudianto, and Hannah Li participating. If their designs qualify among the top 50 finalists, they will go into voting for the overall winner this Friday.

Some students opted for brighter, more eye catching designs, such as one designed by Andrew Pacheco with fiery background with a mustard yellow in the front, and urban, rustic designs, such as eagles and dream catchers. The shoe included vibrant blue shoelaces with red and white beads to add a finishing touch. Other student designs incorperated the more muted tones of brown, grey, and black—one even with a motorcycle to represent more street life.

“Its something that gives us a chance to express our creativity every year. It’s a lot of fun ,” Kim said.

Students used paint, spray paint, stencil, and even graphic printing to embellish the once white shoes.

 Though Diamond Bar has not won this contest in the past, Class of 2012 alumnus won third place in 2012, winning $4000 and a trip to New York. The shoe featured a vivacious neon orange hibiscus in a sea blue background to create a beachy theme, while other year’s winner’s shoes were hippie-themed, with peace and love written and represented throughout the multi-colored shoe.

“I feel that this [contest] gives students a great opportunity to showcase their skills on a national level,” Haprov said.

To vote on your favorite shoe and support Diamond Bar, visit the Vans Custom Culture website this Friday.