skip to main content
Van Taylor Monroe
Van Taylor Monroe

Van Taylor Monroe

Cleveland, OH USA

"When things got tough, I didn't just give up. I was going to be a success story."

Career Roadmap

Van Taylor's work combines: Art, Fashion, and Teaching / Mentoring

See more careers and stories that connect to your interests.

Take Roadmap Quiz

Day In The Life

Shoe Artist

I'm an artist known for painting the Obama shoe and other customized sneakers.

Skills & Education

Here's the path I took:

  • High School

  • Bachelor's Degree

    Graphic Design

    Miami University-Oxford

Life & Career Milestones

My path in life has been direct

  • 1.

    He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, in a family of nontraditional artists, and he's been painting since he was two years old.

  • 2.

    After college, he knew he wanted to do something with business, and he figured he'd keep painting on the side.

  • 3.

    He admits that he never felt an interest in business or finance, but he knew that's where the money was.

  • 4.

    Eventually, after he kept hearing, "Follow your dreams," he knew he had to drop his brokerage job and focus on painting.

  • 5.

    After painting for months, nothing was selling; he got to the point where he was about to be evicted from his home.

  • 6.

    While the eviction notice was on still his door, he started listening to President Obama's speeches and feeling inspired.

  • 7.

    A vision for a painted shoe came to him in a dream; the next day, he finished it, took a picture of it, and went about his day.

  • 8.

    Suddenly, the shoe went viral; Will I. Am wore the "Obama shoe" to the BET Awards, it was displayed at the DNC, and now it's in the Smithsonian.