behind the sneaks: van.

you've seen these around, i'm sure. maybe on will.i.am or fat joe. i spotted these on a website during the peak of my obama high months ago. i immediately wanted to learn about the artist. van is a pretty humble, spiritual and cool dude. and he was nice enough to grant me an interview because i knew so many readers would be interested in his story. here we go:

1. so i learned of you last spring when i spotted your infamous obama air force ones on a website. was that your claim to fame or were you making noise with your artwork before the obama sneaks? I was making noise in the customizing world as a decent shoe designer. but the Obama shoes put me on a new platform worldwide and actually introduced many people to the sub culture of shoe design.

2.did you expect such an embrace? i never thought it would be received in the manner that it was. i made the shoe for myself as a reminder to follow my dreams and that anything is possible. i read many emails about people being inspired by the shoe and each email comes as a surprise to me. this was not what i had in mind, but it was God's plan.

3.what celebs have contacted you for sneaks? or did you reach out to them? i saw will. i. am in a pair that look very similar to your own design. i have had the privilege to make shoes for Gayle King, P. Diddy, Bridget Moynahan, Amerie, Music Soulchild, TI, Bryan Michael Cox, Fat Joe, Fabolous, Nelly and Slim Thug to name a few.

4.you say you didn't choose art it chose you. explain what you mean? yes, art chose me because its came to me as a gift from God. This is something i was born with, all I did was pursue my purpose by working hard. this ability was handed to me the least i can do is share it with the world.

5.i see you were a psychology major, when and how did you start desiging? i have been drawing since i was two years old. it has always been my passion to create. i went to college as a graphic design major but was quickly turned off by the program's attempt to conform me. so i had to pick another major and i went with Psych. throughout college i continued to explore as an artist regardless of my curriculum at the time. this is where i stared painting shoes, because a teammate of mine wanted to refurbish a pair of old sneakers. so i painted a dirty white pair of shoes black.

6. taylor and craig is the design company, right? how did you come up with the name? well i'm actually in the process of changing the name to V20! read as H20 (water) is read. Well V20 is representing a new era/element of art (custom shoes) that i have the honor to help usher in. Taylor and Craig was my old t-shirt airbrushing company. the name comes from my middle name (Taylor) and my best friend's middle name (Craig). we came up with the name in high school after we went around asking people if they have heard of the new clothing line taylor&craig. to our surprise many people said yes, when we just made it up. so when i started painting shirts i remembered that day and decided to roll with it.

7.who and/or what inspires you? spiritually, Jesus inspires me to become a better man of God. artistically i'm influenced by musicians and composers. they motivated me because they paint pictures with words or musical notes. President Elect Barack Obama inspires me to pursue my dreams and reminds me we can achieve the impossible.

8.what's on the horizon for you and your craft? where do you want to be in 5 years? i want to work on starting my own sneaker brand. i want to one day rub elbows with the major companies Nike, Reebok, etc. I dream big!

9.i stalked your myspace photos and saw that obama gave you dap at one of his rallies. does he know you designed sneaks in his honor? Hmm i'm not sure. they were auctioned off at the DNC, i hope the word got around that there were a pair of shoes there bearing his likeness. but i'm sure one day he will if he doesn't know already. i say that because they have been requested by the Smithsonian Museum in DC. so it's a very good chance he may get word of them.

10.i'm so motivated when i see the young and fabulous, like yourself, doing their thing and making a name for themselves. it truly keeps me going in my own aspirations. i think you're talented and an inspiration to others as well. what advice would you lend to anyone who's using their craft, whether it's designing or something else, who are trying to make a name for themselves? the advice i would give is to continue to work hard and pursue your dreams. don't be discouraged by those who don't see your vision. also do not measure your success by someone else's yard stick. you determine your own goals. do not let others live through you vicariously. my last bit of advice is to spend the precious time you have to perfect your craft or skills. i call it hand eye coordination of your dreams. if i look at your hands i should be able to see your vision. coordinate your efforts and time with your goals.

11.how can people reach you if they're interested in your artwork? http://www.myspace.com/van20 my email address is taylorandcraig@hotmail.com for personal customize work. for other ordering inquiries taylorandcraig@hotmail.com.

now for a few, fun random questions:12. if you could have a beer with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be? well i don't drink so it would be a milkshake or something but i would like to sit down with my ancestors. the ones that died as slaves and just let them know how much i appreciate their blood sweat and tears. also to show them i'm working hard everyday striving to advance myself artistically, economically and intellectually.things they were deprived of.

13. if you could travel anywhere in this world where would it be? i would love to see the pyramids in Egypt.

14. if you had to pick a theme song what would it be? "One Mic" by Nas, all i need is one brush to share my gift to the world.

15.what's in your cd player, or ipod nowadays, right now? listening to T.D Jakes right now. a couple of audio books, Hill Harpers "Letters to a Young Brother" and Paulo Coelho's life changing book, " The Alchemist".

one word answer only, first thing that comes to your mind:

16.obama - president

17.van - blessed

18.art - love

the brother is focused and going places! check him out at his contact info above.

1 comment:

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