Meet the artist who paints vividly on Toms.
Name: Alia Al Shaer
Occupation: Art Therapist
Medium: Fabric and acrylic paints on shoes.
I had the pleasure of sitting down for a chat with Alia Al Shaer, an art therapist whose hobby is to paint vivid designs on Toms. While speaking with Al Shaer, I kept getting distracted by her shoes, which featured the adorable design of dabbing Drake bears. A warm and graceful young woman, Alia Al Shaer’s art is as stylish as it is imaginative.
You mentioned you’re an art therapist.
Yes, I help people overcome whatever they are going through, and I help them in their self-exploration through the use of art. I encourage my clients to create art so they can de-stress, and I guess I’m also taking my own advice. That’s also why I create art.
How did you start painting on Toms?
I love painting and doing artistic things. While I was living in Florida during my higher education, I was walking around Disney World and came across painted shoes and I loved the concept. So when I came back here and I had time on my hands, I decided to take this up as a hobby. I started with painting on Toms and now I’ve ventured into painting bags and jackets and anything I can get my hands on.
So, how do you come up with ideas?
Usually, I look for ways to make my things look better, if there’s a worn patch on my bag; I cover it up with a design. When I work with customers, I ask them what they want, whether they have a specific image in mind. I don’t like mainstream designs; I like the designs that represent a person and their uniqueness.
What’s the process usually like?
The customer usually contacts me and we go back and forth with the ideas. I sketch the idea they like and wait for their O.K. on the design. Then I begin; I buy the shoe from the actual Toms stores, sketch the final design on the shoe and start painting. Each layer of paint requires a few hours of drying. It can take from 4 days to a week to complete, depending on how intricate the design is.
I like the idea behind it. I love the fact that when I create these designs on Toms, someone else is also benefitting from them. When you do purchase a shoe from me, you’re not only encouraging me but you’re also helping somebody else in need.