Creatives Tyris Winter and Mich Miller talk about self-acceptance – Footwear News

For Pride Month, FN is spotlighting LGBTQIA + leaders, entrepreneurs and designers as part of its ongoing commitment to champion diversity in all areas of the footwear business.

While the celebration of Pride Month each year is a joyous occasion, this year’s festivities seem bigger, more impactful, and more meaningful.

“It’s more festive than ever,” Mich Miller, a Los Angeles-based painter, printmaker and muralist told FN. “I think there’s a lot of thread running through time going on – an example of COVID-19 was really a mirror of AIDS, and for a lot of young people, they really have no way of connecting or connecting. relate to how it was. Millions of people have died, mostly homosexuals and [now] Coming out of a very difficult time and having suffered great loss as a nation, I think the resilience and celebration that comes with it and being back after isolation builds pride for me and for us.

Another artist and also a dancer and fashion enthusiast, Tyris Winter, echoed similar sentiments, expressing, “Pride month is definitely a celebration of where we’ve come from and where we’re going to go… especially coming out of. the pandemic. ”

Miller and Winter both starred in the Vans 2021 Pride Campaign, which spotlights creatives from the LGBTQIA + community, who use their art to embrace their most authentic selves – be it ethnicity, identity. gender or sexual orientation.

As for Winter, this ability to be comfortable in his own skin – let alone express himself publicly through art was born out of adversity, which he says is true of most queer artists. .

“A lot of people choose art after going through something very tragic. I think it’s a direct correlation that a lot of artists happen to be queer because to be queer is going through this inner turmoil of knowing. if the world will accept me, so much of my art is focused on finding the self-acceptance that I can have in myself and find in the world and in my community. The way I intertwine that in my art is just to really express what i never could… what i want to be and what i wanted to be, ”said Winter.

Winter’s expression is realized through poetry and his sense of style. “I pay homage to the black beauty of the 70s and the disco era… and I didn’t have the opportunity to do so growing up. So for me fashion is an art form in itself where I use my body as a muse.

While Winter uses fashion in the form of sparkly jumpsuits and platform boots, Miller expresses herself through abstract art and also pays homage to the queer pioneers who led the way. “I started doing art in high school as a way to connect with other people and eventually I stuck with it because it was a way, you know, to really have control over my time to. be expressive and creative and as a way to make art a life and be sustainable, ”they said.

“I always use a lot of colors and [I] stay really playful and present. But I also watch queer stories a lot for inspiration. For example, my most recent work is disco related and really inspired by the disco movement, which of course is really tied to a queer story in the history of HIV and a lot of resilience like that. So I think it’s kind of like visually through color, but also inspiration through queer history, ”Miller added.

Winter explains that in addition to his own evolution, he is happy to see the company progressing. Speaking of Lil Nas X’s 2021 BET performance in particular, he said: “[It] was so iconic and so legendary… seeing ourselves slowly becoming able to live our lives the way we have for centuries is truly amazing and impactful.

However, Winter says there is so much more to be done. “I think there is still a long way to go to make the homosexual body an everyday thing. I want [society] getting to a point where I’m walking around in a sparkly dress isn’t a spectacle. I just want it to be a normal thing.

As he reflected on his own personal growth, Winter said, “I would say to my [younger] sell so as not to be afraid. Never minimize yourself or your voice. I would definitely tell my young self to live every moment to the fullest because life is so short to worry about what other people think.

Miller also makes their young people proud and gives LGBTQIA + young people opportunities they wish they had growing up. In 2018, Miller co-founded The Print Shop LA, a collaborative print studio in Los Angeles that offers internship opportunities, access to a collaborative studio, and artist-in-residence programs.

“I always wanted to myself as a queer person or a younger queer person who didn’t quite fit into certain boxes that made it harder to get certain jobs. I just saw that printmaking was such an easy access for a lot of artists who are just starting their own shop or maybe just starting out. So it seemed really crucial to share with the queer community, but also fair with artists in general, ”Miller explained.

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