Nooksack tribal member turns
shoes into canvas for art
Condensed by Native Village
Northwest native art on shoes
has turned into a business
opportunity for Louie Gong. The
Nooksack tribal member recently launched a
website for Mockups.
resemble white Vans-style shoes
on which customers paint
intricate designs. The
do-it-yourself pieces are
artwork and not meant to be
Gong believes Mockups have the
potential to become popular for
school projects. He says shoes
have played an important part in
our culture, such as Dorothy's
ruby slippers in "The Wizard of
Oz" or Air Jordans. Art on
shoes can have broad appeal and
become iconic cross-cultural
"Shoes are the perfect platform
for talking about a wide range
of topics in a way that can
really engage with kids," Gong
Gong got the idea for Mockups
about three years ago after
buying a plain pair of Vans
decorated with a Coast
Salish design. The many compliments
he received made him think it
could be a popular business
work is garnering attention.
He's on the
10 Most Inspirational Natives"
Native Max magazine, and is
popular in social media. His Facebook page,
Salish/Northwest style shoes by
Louie Gong has nearly 55,000
Along with the online
presence, Mockups are sold at a
few gift shops, including at the
Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.
Along with his artistic work, Gong
is a well-known figure in the world of
multiracial culture and
advocacy. His mixed-race
heritage includes Chinese,
French, Scottish, Nooksack and
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