Vans Showcases the Creative’s behind Regional LGBTQIA+ Ambassadors for Pride 2021
Vans highlights LGBTQIA+ creatives in a different way this Pride season
When June rolls around, more and more businesses are celebrating Pride as well with collections and more, but Vans is taking Pride month more personally. Having strived to inspire and highlight creativity amongst all communities since its inception in 1966, Vans are sharing the stories of four regional ambassadors and their art that showcases the intersection of queer identity and creative expression.
The four regional ambassadors are painter, designer, and printmaker Mich Miller; skateboarder, photographer, and creative director Sam McGuire; Get Lit poet and social media curator Tyris Winter; and singer-songwriter Serena Isioma. Through their diverse creative outlets, they are able to communicate their lived experiences to others. In a short film, each of the four ambassadors touch upon how they express their identity through their art with Isioma smashing drums, Miller spray painting, Winter posing by an art piece, and McGuire riding his skateboard.
Mich Miller is a Los-Angeles based painter, printmaker, muralist, and installation artist who earned their BFA from the School of the Artist Institute of Chicago in 2015 and is a current MFA candidate in Painting & Printmaking at Yale University. Mitch explores and investigates the queer experience through abstraction, using saturated color, gradients, forms, and symbols referential to scientific, environmental, and cultural metaphors. Their practice focuses on the commitment to abstraction and investment in printmaking, painting, design, queer history, and queer theory. In 2018, they co-founded The Print Shop LA and has exhibited work in both solo and group shows nationally, including New Image Art Gallery, Super Chief Gallery, All-Star Press Chicago, Facebook AIR, and an upcoming show at Lyle’s & King in NYC this summer.
“Art in general has been a way for people to communicate things that they feel like language hasn’t caught up to yet.” – Mich Miller
Sam McGuire grew up skateboarding in his barn in Waterloo, Iowa and got his first camera at the age of 14 to document an abandoned warehouse his group of friends converted into a skatepark. McGuire’s dream of traveling the world shooting skateboard photos for his favorite magazines came true in 2008 when he moved to Los Angeles where he has spent 10 years shooting for magazines and brands all over the world. He came out in 2014 and since then has worked as a Queer advocate for the skateboarding community and one of his goals is to help brand and productions become more inclusive. His bigger mission is to elevate unheard voices and more specifically having trans models and having trans artists behind or in front of the camera. McGuire has said that his art is described as “a good memory,” remembering good times and certain details just from looking at a photo.
“I was so scared to be who I was for so long and so to meet all these younger kids that are unapologetically themselves I find it so inspiring.” – Sam McGuire
Tyris Winter is a multifaceted artist who blurs the lines between poetry, fashion, and dancing. Having grown up in the middle of nowhere and found the arts as a means of exploration, Winter is passionate about not only uplifting himself through his artistic expression, but the many queer youth who have been confined by binaries. Tyris Winter also makes ‘70s inspired clothes and posts on social media about his children/pets Piggie Smalls and Giraffeca. He’s described his art as his personal safe haven, having turned to many forms of expression in times of healing. Winter wants to create art with a full heart and capture moments of his life and piece them into a product.
“I grew up not really seeing my representation so I thought if I can’t see it why don’t I be it.” – Tyris Winter
Serena Isioma is a 20 year old, first-generation Nigerian-American artist based out of Chicago. Isioma combines elements of alternative, indie, hip-hop, and R&B into a genre-bending sound and caught the music industry’s attention. Having risen in popularity quickie after releasing their first two EPs in 2020, Isioma is being played on the global radio and massive streaming support and has received press from outlets such as Nylon, Pigeon and Planes, Rolling Stone, them, Wonderland, and more.
“My music changes with my style and my style flows with my identity.” – Serena Isioma
Throughout the month of June, Vans will also be broadcasting digital live streams on Channel 66 with curated shows hosted by LGBTQIA+ musicians, DJs and more. There will be a DJ set by Chav on 6/7 at 6pmPST, Dance Show: Travestia on 6/11 at 4pm PST, a DJ set by Laura Jane Grace on 6/16 at 12pm PST, Drag City Radio on 6/25 at 12pm PST, and Laura Jane Grace will also be hosting a panel and performing live on 6/25 at 2pm PST. You can learn more about these at Vans.com/Pride.