Van Taylor's Open Road


    Team Poor, Lazy Overachievers


Shoe Artist
Obama Shoe

“When things got tough, I didn't just give up. I was going to be a success story.”


Art Fashion


Fulfillment Individualism Instincts Values Courage Passion Inspiration Perseverance Success Risk Experience Goals Hard Work


Teaching / Mentoring


  • He was raised in Cleveland, Ohio, in a family of nontraditional artists, and he's been painting since he was two years old.
  • After college, he knew he wanted to do something with business, and he figured he'd keep painting on the side.
  • He admits that he never felt an interest in business or finance, but he knew that's where the money was.
  • Eventually, after he kept hearing, "Follow your dreams," he knew he had to drop his brokerage job and focus on painting.
  • After painting for months, nothing was selling; he got to the point where he was about to be evicted from his home.
  • While the eviction notice was on still his door, he started listening to President Obama's speeches and feeling inspired.
  • A vision for a painted shoe came to him in a dream; the next day, he finished it, took a picture of it, and went about his day.
  • Suddenly, the shoe went viral; Will I. Am wore the "Obama shoe" to the BET Awards, it was displayed at the DNC, and now it's in the Smithsonian.

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