Black voices, artists, thinkers and trailblazers shape every generation. This Black History Month, we celebrate Black artists who are pushing the culture forward today through their voices and creativity, paving the way for generations to follow.

We partnered with four Black artists to uplift their creative work and donated to Black Art Futures Fund. Design your own Customs with exclusive artwork from Rewina Beshue, Chris Martin, Sydney James and Tony Whlgn.

Vans Black History Month Tony WHLGNVans Black History Month Tony WHLGN


Tony Whlgn is a visual artist based in Detroit. Tony describes his art as an imitation of his life and those he’s encountered. Along with close friends, Tony created the Whlgn® – an unorthodox art and design firm out of Detroit.

How does your Blackness shape and inform your creative vision?
My Blackness is shaped through the Power of Ancestor and knowledge that comes from knowing who I am. My environment doesn't hinder my ability to succeed in my passionate desires. Knowing where I come from allows me to access and research my history and others' history through unlearning and self-education. When I find something from a culture that inspires me, it triggers a chain reaction that leads me to understand how everything is connected — sparking my creative vision for Oneness.

In what way do you use your art for activism?
I've used my art and opportunities to draw attention to the minimal representation of artists of color in museums and galleries. I empower my community through my platform by addressing issues in youth education access, income inequality in the arts, and financial literacy in business. Most recently, I've had the opportunity to partner with the ACLU to spread a message for voters’ rights and the importance of local politics and those responsible for our communities' upkeep.

What do you hope viewers get out of your work?
My hope is for people to unlearn what they've been taught, to do the work of the inner and outer self, and receive the intergenerational messages of Love, Peace, & Happiness. To be fully self-expressed and non-conforming, I believe, is the true nature of an Artist.

Vans Black History Month REWINA BESHUE


Vans Black History Month REWINA BESHUE

Rewina Beshue is a contemporary artist based in San Francisco. Her art focuses on multimedia, painting, printmaking and graphic design, representing themes of experimentation and optical illusions.

Vans Black History Month Chris Martin

Chris Martin

Vans Black History Month Chris Martin

Christopher Martin is a multidisciplinary artist based in North Carolina. Chris explores the African Diaspora and is driven by a desire to push southern history and confront aesthetic perceptions of contemporary injustice.

Vans Black History Month Sydney G. James

Sydney G. James

Vans Black History Month Sydney G. James

Sydney G. James is a fine artist and muralist based in Detroit. She has become one of the newest leading creative voices in southeast Michigan exploring themes of the racial and gender positioning of the Black woman in America.

We are donating $40,000 USD to Black Art Futures Fund whose focus is on amplifying and strengthening the future of Black art. This donation will fund granting efforts to small and community-based Black arts organizations across the country.

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Thank you, Vans Family Members!

In celebration of Black History Month, we asked Vans Family members to donate their points to the Black Art Futures Fund. Thanks to our members, we quickly reached our goal of 5 million points and donated an additional $25,000!

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Design your own Customs with exclusive artwork from Rewina Beshue, Chris Martin, Sydney James and Tony Whlgn.