When I was in 8th grade, I had to get plain white athletic sneakers for a dance class. Boring, un-colorful shoes, for someone who often wore two different colored Chucks? The horror.

After my dance recital was over, I thought about what to do with these brand new tennis shoes. They probably shouldn't go to waste. They were fine shoes; it wasn't their fault they were so mundane.

Then I realized. They weren't just plain, they were blank. Like a canvas.

I got out my markers and went to work. I drew little icons of things I loved - bands, movies, bright colors. They were almost like stickers, placed randomly all over the shoes.

The gears of my mind started whirring as they worked overtime. I was ecstatic with my personalized kicks, but I could do more. I bet other people would love to have shoes that expressed their personalities, too!

After that I remember spending an afternoon at my aunt's house drawing different categories of doodles in a regular school notebook. People would be able to flip through the catalog and pick out the designs they liked, and I would draw them on their shoes. I named my venture Walking Depictions, a bad wordplay on the Green Day song Walking Contradiction, since they were my beloved favorite band at the time.

a teenager happily holding a pair of sneakers decorated with colorful doodles

And then… nothing else happened. Sure, I have the excuse that I was busy starting high school, but to be honest with you, I’ve had countless unfinished projects over the years. I am the kind of person who gets really, really excited about a new idea, and will throw all of my energy into it until I get worn out a few weeks, days, or hours later. (Also known as an Aries.)

More than a decade later, Visual Splat, nee Splat Stickers, came along in a moment where I was feeling particularly worn out and uninspired. I was doing some online shopping at a job I hated, and I saw some cute illustrated stickers on Etsy. That was all the spark I needed. With my usual obsessive mindset, I did some research online, got my materials, drew some designs on my tablet, and made my own stickers. I was thrilled.

a dozen different illustrated stickers on a black background

It’s easy to look back and distinguish a special moment in your life, but I do really feel that I knew at the time that Splat Stickers was a turning point for me. Visual Splat is a project that will never be finished, and I’m happy with that! It is forever a work in progress, just like me, you, our lives, and our communities.

I've learned with time that self-expression can go so much further than I realized as a teenager. I still rep my favorite teams and shows, but I like to consider all the amazing little traits and aspects that make a person exactly who they are. 

Just like Walking Depictions, I want Visual Splat to celebrate what people love and what makes them feel special. That is something that will never change. My artwork can help you personalize your space, spread kindness, or even just tell the world that you really like flamingos and roller skating.

I’m so excited and grateful to share this journey with you, and I’m always here to help you decorate the metaphorical blank sneakers in your life.