Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Vans shoe design finalists include two Northside Christian students

Jacqueline Thomas and Gabrielle Rudolph spent the last month transforming shoe tongues into waves, sneakers into sharks and footwear into flavorful art.

Both students at Northside Christian School, the girls have had their project selected as one of 50 semifinalists in the Vans Custom Culture shoe customization competition. Each year, high schools across the country paint and sculpt shoes to reflect four categories: action sports, art, music and local flavor.

"For local flavor I thought fishing because everyone does that in Florida," said Thomas, 17, a senior.

She designed one shoe to look like her grandfather's fishing boat, and another to look like a black tip shark. Gluing real shark teeth to the shark shoe proved to be the most challenging part of the project, she said.

Thomas also turned a pair of high tops into a surf scene for the action sports category and another pair of sneakers into a dread-shaking reggae dance scene for the music category.

For the art category, Rudolph, a 15-year-old sophomore, painted the Dalí Museum, beach scenes and the 727 area code.

"I definitely had the natural and the artificial in the back of my mind," she said. The shoes reflected Rudolph's personal connection to the Dalí, where her brother was married and her artistic style.

As for painting the waves, she said: "I like doing things that don't have structure but that have a lot of contrast."

The first 1,500 schools to register are sent four pairs of Vans sneakers to decorate and submit for consideration. Vans chooses 50 submissions — five from each region — for the public to vote on. Northside Christian is the only school in the final 50 from Central Florida.

"This was a cool opportunity for something different," said Bethany Sweeney, the school's art teacher. "They got so creative with (the shoes), and they look awesome."

Sweeney registered for the competition online, thinking it would be a good opportunity to promote her students' work.

The competition comes with significant cash prizes. The winner will collect $50,000 for the school's art program. The first-place school for each region could win at least $4,000, and the best local flavor design out of the top five contestants will get $10,000.

Sweeney said she hopes to spend any prize money on art supplies and equipment, including a dark room for photography, a kiln for 3-D projects, and tablets and computers for digital design.

The winners also will have their designs printed on Vans shoes.

"If we won, I would just have all four pairs and wear them every day," Sweeney said.

The designs also drew interest from St. Petersburg residents.

"I went around downtown and people said they'd wear (the shoes) because they were very Florida-y," Thomas said.

The top 50 contestants also have the opportunity to compete in a followup competition. Vans partnered with Truth, a group critical of the tobacco industry's marketing practices. The group sent each of the 50 schools a skateboard deck to paint based on an "ugly truth" about the industry.

The winner of the Custom Culture skate deck competition will win $10,000 for their school's art program and expenses for one teacher and three students to fly to New York for Vans' final event June 10-12. Thomas is painting a skate deck for submission on May 17.

To vote for Thomas and Rudolph's shoes, go to vans.com/customculture/vote. The vote closes Monday at midnight.

Jessica Floum can be reached at jfloum@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8340.

Vans shoe design finalists include two Northside Christian students 05/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 1:26pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Review: Arcade Fire open hearts, play with passion at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa

    Blogs

    Gloves off, hearts open and disco balls glittering, Arcade Fire scaled the stage for the first time ever in Tampa, pouncing and flailing and performing with all the passion that’s made them one of the world’s most celebrated rock bands this century.

    Arcade Fire performed at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa on Sept. 22, 2017.
  2. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — The wait felt like forever for Lightning captain Steven Stamkos, having gone 10 months without playing in a game.

    A scramble in front of the Lightning goal has Matthew Peca, far left, and Erik Cernak, middle, helping out goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy during the third period of a 3-1 win against the Predators. Vasilevskiy, who made 29 saves, was “exceptional,” coach Jon Cooper says.
  3. Rays journal: Alex Cobb may have pitched last game in Rays uniform (w/video)

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — RHP Alex Cobb pitched well enough to lead the Rays to an 8-3 win over the Orioles on Friday.

    Wilson Ramos gives thanks after hitting a grand slam during the second inning, putting the Rays up 4-0.
  4. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  5. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.