Since I can remember I've had Vans on my feet and a yearning desire to see what life is like on the West Coast. Growing up I was obsessed with skateboarding and sub-cultures that didn't really seem to exist at home. Like most punk kids, I believed that traveling to California would easily change my life.
This summer I finally got to live out my dream and travel across the country. My beautiful girlfriend, Marissa invited me to visit her family in Orange County. It was such perfect timing! We were in Huntington Beach during the 2018 Vans US Open of Surfing, the biggest event of the year for the legandary shoe brand.
I'm finally in California, soaking up the scenery and searching for as much inspiration as mentally and spiritually possible. SoCal is slammed with art, music, and independent business. I printed some shirts before going, anticipating an encounter with somebody that works for Vans. I took the classic "Off The Wall" logo and turned it into a parody involving my artwork. I leave my mark "On The Wall".
On our very last day, we went to Van Doren Village to check everything out that we missed. Things got exciting really quick when we heard rumors that Steve Van Doren was wandering around the village. I HAD to find this man. I walked around frantically in search of the big guy with a hawaiian shirt. Iconic. Lo and behold, there he was. Steve Van Doren. Owner of the Van Doren Rubber Co.
I got his attention and politely asked for a picture. During the interaction, Mr. Van Doren complimented me on my custom shirt. I just happened to be wearing it that day! I thanked him and told him how I designed and printed it myself. Intrigued, he asked me for my business card. I couldn't believe what was happening to me. My plan worked out exactly how I wanted, and I didn't even have to try hard. It all just came to me.
It was safe to say that my trip to California was a huge success! I left more inspired and confident than I have ever felt before. I'll be back again someday.