Annual Vans graphic arts contest

Teacher Jon Haprov’s students made it to their region’s top ten in the yearly Custom Culture contest.

The participants created a variety of Vans shoe designs to fit the contest’s four major categories: art, music, action sports, and local flavor.

Photos courtesy of DBHS.ORG

The participants created a variety of Vans shoe designs to fit the contest’s four major categories: art, music, action sports, and local flavor.

Gaby Dinh, Web Editor

After being presented with a pair of plain white shoes, thousands of students across the nation created designs on the shoes for the annual Vans Custom Culture art contest. Once again, five Diamond Bar High School students from Jon Haprov’s Graphic Arts class made it as a team to the Top Ten in the regional portion of the Vans Custom Culture contest.

Students Sophia Arnold, Connie Mach, Star Vasquez, Mary Zhou, and William Chen were all involved in making the designs for the shoes.

The Vans Custom Culture contest is a national high school competition in which each high school has to customize four pairs of blank Vans shoes around four themes: Art, Music, Action Sports, and Local Flavor.

The contest was originally created to encourage students’ creativity through art and design, and to raise awareness about the dwindling funds for arts education due to large budget cuts. The grand prize winner will receive $50,000 for its high school’s art program and a possible chance to sell their designs in Vans’ stores.

The DBHS students did not advance to the top 5 finalists, however.

“I’m not sad or anything. It was a good experience and […] knowing that we still made it to top 50 is an accomplishment in its self to me,” Arnold said via Facebook. “I plan to be a part of this competition again next year now that I know what to expect.”

Haprov’s students entered the contest as a part of a class assignment. Each student was given a blank template and came up with two or three designs. Once the templates were turned in, Haprov selected a group of students to attend a meeting where they narrowed down the entries.

“After that [the students chosen] just put sticky notes on the ones we did like and left it up for the students in each period to vote for as well,” Mach said via Facebook.
One of the four designs chosen was modeled after the Day of the Dead holiday, created using a warm brown and orange color scheme. Another design picked had a military theme, centered on the raising of the American flag.

The sports’ shoe revolved around surfing, and it had colors such as yellow, green, and red to decorate the sides.

Then for music, the design focused on utilizing the piano and the gramophone, with music notes floating around the two objects. It also had a blue background, whereas the other three designs picked focused more on using their scenes for a backdrop.

The students’ designs made it to the top 50 finalists of the contest, where they competed against other schools’ designs from the California region. There were five regions in that round, and each region had 10 schools to choose from.

In this round, the top finalists were chosen based off public votes, so the high school with the most votes in each region was named one of the Top 5 finalists in determining the grand prize winner.

“The fact that we got this far is quite an achievement. The shoes came out amazing but I was still surprised that we made it to top 10 in the region,” Chen, who helped design the Day of the Dead shoes, said via Facebook.

In order to help gain the students votes, the contest was posted on the main DBHS webpage and was also advertised on Facebook to garner votes.

Public voting ended on May 11 and the Top 5 finalists were announced the day after.

The Top 5 finalist groups were invited to fly out to NYC for the final event in the second week of June, where the winner will be announced.

Although they did not advance to the final round, the graphic students are now participating in a skateboard design competition.