Monthly Archives: August 2014

Artist Spotlight: Blanca Yanez


Blanca Yanez, 19

Are you hyped up for the weekend yet? We sure are! Buy a pair of TOMS shoes and Blanca Yanez will be there to use her artistic talents to personalize them.

Where are you from, Blanca?
I am from San Diego, California born and raised.

Where did you get your art skills?
I’ve been painting and drawing since I was a kid. I learned basic drawing principles at a young age solely through observation and experimentation. I would use pictures as references and go on from there. With that said, I am mostly self-taught, though I took studio art classes throughout my high school years. 

What inspires you?
As an artist, anything can inspire me. The majority of my pieces have started from spontaneous thoughts, regarding anything. For example, one time I was sitting in a restaurant and I noticed an old woman walk in. The composition of the wrinkles on her face aside her melancholy eyes and the detail in them, I knew would make for a great ebony pencil drawing. That old woman then inspired me to focus on a specific facial feature for my next project, which was skin. This led to the creation of “Nostalgia”, an ebony pencil drawing of the old woman I saw, with some exaggerated features. 


Nostalgia by Blanca Yanez, Ebony Pencil

How would you describe your artistic style?
First off, I’m a big fan of acrylic paint. Ever since high school, I’ve been experimenting with everything from realistic to abstract works using acrylic. I prefer to paint on framed canvasses; the sizes can literally range anywhere from the size of a sticky note to the height of someone’s waist. When it comes to my style, I’m very detail-oriented and I love to use bright colors in my works. The subjects, however, can literally range from still-life pieces to surrealistic scenes resulting from random thoughts or dreams.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Besides painting, drawing, and doing anything art related, I’m a very big fitness person. I love to workout on the daily and I love participating in all kinds of sports. I was a big track and field fan back in high school and those experiences/payoffs have inspired me to continue this healthy lifestyle. Not only does fitness aid my appearance, but it also makes me feel great. Like painting, it is a great stress reliever and it allows me to just get into my own zone and focus on myself. 

What are your goals as an artist?
The only goal I have is to continue making art throughout my life and inspire those around me with it.

Who are your heroes? 
My parents, teachers, friends, and family.

Tell us about one of your favorite art pieces that you have created. 
One of my favorite pieces is a painting I made of an old school car—a Jaguar E-type. I’m most proud of this painting since it demonstrates the strength of my realism technique. I managed to capture the reflection and detail in the chrome of the car very well. This piece also takes on a different angle to change up the point of view from typical car pictures. It was part of concentration portfolio which was focused on old school cars. 


Jaguar E-Type by Blanca Yanez, Acrylic Paint


Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite art piece? 
This is a tough question. I don’t have a particular favorite artist. However, an artist that has influenced my ideas and whom I respect very much is Salvador Dali. I’m a fan of his work because he masters surrealism, depicting realistic objects in unrealistic scenes. His pieces are also very thought provoking.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?
– Keep your creative juices flowing. Whenever you have an idea, write it down or make a quick sketch.


Blanca Yanez in action!

– Get to know your professors and become friends with your art teacher, if applicable. Ask about after-school studio hours. My art teacher, Cindy Bravo, would make time to open the art studio after school hours on certain days for students to come in and work.

– Ask if you can borrow supplies! Besides saving you a lot of money, it’ll give you the opportunity to experiment, create, and learn more about different mediums and techniques.

– Find out what works for you. I tend to listen to music while I paint; it’s very relaxing and soothing. Sometimes my strokes go along with the rhythm of a song.

– Don’t be afraid to mess up. I’ve had to paint over multiple canvasses because the piece I was creating wasn’t what I had originally imagined. Take the time to occasionally step away from your pieces to see you’re progress.

– If you’re stuck on something, don’t be afraid to stop working on it and begin working on a new project. Come back to that other piece when your mind is refreshed. 


Want to know who else is painting at our TOMS event? Check out Alex Minch, Timberleanne Ardent, and Ben Gianas.

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Artist Spotlight: Ben Gianas


Ben Gianas, 27

Are you getting hyped up for out TOMS event on August 9-10? We sure are! Make sure to come by and meet the talented artist, Ben Gianas. He’ll be there to paint your new shoes!

Where are you from, Ben?
I am originally from Atascadero, California. Sunshine and good vibes brought me down to San Diego.

Where did you get your art skills?
I have been making art since the first time my parents handed me a crayon and I haven’t really stopped since. I have my Bachelor’s in Fine Art from Cal State University Channel Islands which I received in 2009. I continue to learn with every line I pull and every paint brush stroke.

What are your hobbies and interests?
I love art, the ocean, and the never-ending journey for knowledge and wisdom. Oh yeah, and a really good craft beer.



Happy Place by Ben Gianas, 3 ft. x 4 ft. Oil and Gold Leaf Painting

How would you describe your artistic style?
I would describe my style as illustrative with a hint of beautiful tension. I love using bold, heavy colors and juxtaposing them with highly rendered black and white imagery. More than anything my style is a reflection of me just trying to have some fun.

What inspires you?
My biggest inspiration lies in the creative nature of mankind.

What’s your favorite art piece that you’ve created?
My favorite piece I’ve created was a combination of six canvasses framed all together for a show in Ventura. Each was a black and white oil portrait of an individual in history whom had either killed, or saved hundreds of lives. By reducing all of the portraits to black and white and juxtaposing them together, the viewer is left to determine who saved, and who killed. It was an interesting experiment on individual, and group judgment based only on a black and white portrait.

What are your goals as an artist?
My goals as an artist are to inspire young people to be more creative. I want people to enjoy not just my art, but all art. As a society, we have become complacent with our creativity, relying on others to do it for us. MY goal is to inspire others to embrace their ideas and create whatever it is that makes them feel good.

Who are your heroes?
My heroes? Easy, my parents. I have been incredibly blessed to have superheroes for parents. They truly meant it when they told me, “If you work hard, you can be anything you want to be.” To inspire someone to be what they want, or embrace who they are is a heroic thing if you ask me.


Orchids painted on a pair of canvas shoes by Ben Gianas


Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite art piece?
My favorite artist is Dan Witz. I love the beautiful tension he creates with the photo-realistic style that he hides across ugly metropolitan areas around the world. Look him up, you wont be disappointed.


Ben Gianas and some of his art pieces

Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?

Work hard. Nothing of quality or substance ever came easy. Create as much as possible, whenever possible. Doodle on your lunch, draw or paint on anything you can, ask questions, and explore work from other artists. You would be very surprised how much subliminal inspiration can be gathered from gallery hopping. Last, but not least, DO NOT LET YOUR CAREER DEFINE YOU. It is difficult to be a full-time artist these days and make a living at it, but don’t let your source of income suffocate your creativity. Remember you are an artist, create your own beautiful world.


Want to know more about Ben and his work? Meet him at our TOMS event or follow him on Instagram @bengianasart or #bengianasart.

Wondering who else will be there? Check out the artists Alex MinchTimberleanne Ardent, and Blanca Yanez.


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Artist Spotlight: Timberleanne Ardent


Timberleanne Ardent, 22

Just a few more days till our TOMS event! We’re going to be having local artists customizing freshly purchased TOMS shoes. Come by and meet the creative Timberleanne Ardent.

Where are you from, Timberleanne?
I am from Lancaster, California born and raised. I recently moved to San Diego within the last year and what brought me here was the unique opportunity to utilize my artistic talents and abilities.

Where did you get your art skills?
As far as training goes, for the most part, I am self trained. I have been an artist my whole life and received training from my father, who is a very talented artist. I inherited his artistic talent.  I have not attended any art schools, but have taken art classes in both high school and the local college to enhance my technique.

What inspires you?
What inspires me most is my family and friends, whom I love and owe everything to. Love is powerful inspiration and most of my art actually is gifted to them most of the time. My portfolio mostly consists of photographs of my artwork because I have given them to family and friends to cherish. I also find inspiration in certain aspects of my life that hold the most meaning, not just family and friends, but also my spiritual beliefs of nature and connection. Also, that little hint of dark side that includes my most favorite holiday, Samhain, or for those who don’t know its original name, Halloween.

How would you describe your artistic style?
My artistic style involves an array of different mediums. Sketching, painting with watercolor, or acrylic, even sculpting. My original works include a lot of dark and demented form of art. The things I pull out of my mind are similar to things one may find in a Halloween store. The style that I have is unusual at best, but I like the frightening things that come out of my head. My artistic style also includes a lot of duplicated works. I can visually duplicate just about anything, characters, animals, landscapes, and logos, anything that I can see. I can scale and resize these works of art just by looking at them and not using graphs. I mainly use this type of duplicate work with my family who always want a favorite Disney character painted, or I use their favorite animal on birthday cards that I make.


A photo of Timberleanne Ardent in the making of Marilyn Monroe


Marilyn Monroe by Timberleanne Ardent, Acrylic on Canvas













What are your hobbies and interests?

My main hobby is art. In any form or medium, not only sketching or painting but, sculpting, special effects with makeup, costumes, lighting, and decorating. Any type of craft project is my hobby. My interests include Halloween, and other holidays that I like decorating for…  I like scary things.  Monsters, myths, and magic.

Tell us about one of your favorite art pieces that you have created.
One of my favorite pieces, (I have many) is the first involved painting that I have ever done. It was in high school, and up until that point, I found painting very difficult. It was the first painting that I discovered how to use light values with acrylic paint. I call the piece “My Leopard Painting.” It is an acrylic painting of a leopard in the jungle, by a river. It was a photo off of a calendar that I had to duplicate, and It is the first painting that I was ever proud of. I received the highest grade on it and It has remained one of my favorite paintings that I’ve ever done.

What are your goals as an artist?
My goals as an artist include using my artistic talent throughout my life. I would like to work at a job where I am able to use my art skills in an everyday manner. I have always wanted to be an “artist,” in the sense that I could make a piece of artwork and sell it. In this day and age, there is a wide range of occupations in which I can use my talents: special effects makeup, interior design, architecture, advertisement, product distribution, and my goal as an artist is to obtain at least one of those jobs in my life.


Flower Skull by Timberleanne Ardent, Acrylic on Canvas

Who are your heroes?
One of my heroes is my dad. He taught me all that I know in art and that is what makes me who I am.

Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite art piece?
My favorite artist is Leonardo Da Vinci. I love his work and not just his art, but his spirit and inventions.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?
The best advice I can give is practice. Like with anything in life, practice is most important, it allows you to better yourself and keep you going. Also, to follow your heart.  Instinct is important in life and should be used more often.

From flower skulls to cartoon characters, Timberleanne will have you covered. This weekend, stop by our store and get your TOMS painted by her! Other artists at the event include Alex MinchBen Gianas, and Blanca Yanez.

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Artist Spotlight: Alex Minch


Alex Minch, 29

Our TOMS event is happening on August 9-10! Whether you want to show your team spirit, make a personal gift, or get original artwork, we’ll have local artists ready to customize your freshly purchased TOMS shoes. Stop by our tables and meet Alex Minch: surfer, outdoorsman, and artist.

Where are you from, Alex?
From Portland, Oregon.

Where did you get your art skills?

What inspires you?
I’m inspired by nature, the ocean, graffiti, and other art.


fish net

Ocean’s Bounty by Alex Minch. 6 ft. x 4 ft. Acrylic on Canvas


How would you describe your artistic style?
If I had to describe my artistic style, I would describe it as all over the place or A.D.D.  I have so many different styles in my past and so many to come in my future.

Tell us about one of your favorite art pieces that you have created.
One on my favorite art pieces is a drawing of a boy, who appears to be half machine. It was an accidental portrait of myself and my past injuries.

What are your goals as an artist?
My only goal as an artist is to improve and evoke interest



Alex surfing in Encinitas


OSCAR copy

Oscar by Alex Minch. 4 ft. x 4 ft. Acrylic on Wood

 Who are your heroes?
Duke, who brought surfing over to the main land. Dr. Seuss, my parents, Todd Minch and so many more.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Surfing, art, outdoors, fishing, camping, travel.

Who is your favorite artist or what is your favorite art piece?
Ed Pachke.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring artists?
Keep creating art and nothing else matters.

Stop by this weekend, buy a pair of TOMS shoes, and he may just paint you something for you! Other artists at the event includes Timberleanne Ardent, Blanca Yanez, and Ben Gianas.

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