Meet Tara

A featured Vans artist based out of Portland, Oregon and heritage from Alaska.


I am originally from Alaska, born and raised. My Grandmother is a famous porcelain doll maker and artist in the state, and has taught me much that I know. She is a huge inspiration for me and encourages my art.

Tara is an artist based out of Portland, Oregon but her heritage is from Alaska. She has studied with the University of Alaska Anchorage as well as the Art Institute Online as a graphic design major. Being a part of a family of artists and crafters, she has always had a passion for creating art since she was a girl. Inspired by the natural beauty of Alaska and its wildlife, her artwork has been exhibited at various student art galleries and street fairs within Alaska and Oregon. In 2010, she was commissioned by Vans, Inc. to paint shoes for their in-store displays across nation. The shoes are currently displayed in various stores; including Washington D.C., San Francisco, and Beijing, China.

How It All Started

I have always painted on canvas since I was a little girl, but I never thought to try different surfaces.

A while ago, during the Toms canvas shoe craze, my Husband sent me a link by telling me he wanted to purchase a pair for me. I looked at their site and selected a pair that I liked, but I wished that they had more variety. Upon exploring more of what they offered, I saw a section that was dedicated to hosting a “Style Your Sole” party. This is an event to host in your community to allow people that come to purchase Toms and to customize them with paint, glitter, fabric, glue, etc.

Because of this… I truly became inspired to paint a pair of my own. Being an Alaskan at heart, I decided to design a blank white pair with salmon (see it here: I wore them for awhile, getting compliments and testing them out. Since it seemed that people liked them, I thought I may as well put them on my Etsy shop and see how it goes.

4 weeks later I was contact by the Marketing Director at Vans, Inc. The popular shoe company worldwide for canvas shoes. She had seen my posting on Etsy and asked for me to paint a pair for a display in their store in San Francisco. After sending her my work, she then asked if I would be interested in creating more.

Ever since, I have created several designs that can be found in locations within the US, including Washington DC and San Diego. They also opened a flagship store in Bejing, China and my panda design is there (design here:

The Vans opportunity has increased my exposure to the painting world, as well as to more clients. Etsy has been a great tool for me to share my artwork and I hope you enjoy.

Hand Painted Shoes

It was shaped like a chair and sparkled with gems, as did everything else. In the center of the chair was an enormous Head, without a body to support it or any arms or legs whatever.

  • No products in the cart.