If “Creativity” Needs Ads These are Them

Vans highlights the work of artists to express creativity in its truest form

Why create an ad campaign for creativity, when you can simply use creativity as the ad campaign? Vans’ thoughts exactly. The skate company is known for emphasizing and supporting expression of creativity, tying into their slogan “Off the wall”—which started out with a quite literal meaning—encouraging being an unapologetic individual. In their latest brand campaign, Vans asked artists from around the world to create and express themselves, no matter the medium, celebrating the diversity in creativity. It’s quite the display of creative baddassery: painters, sculptors, woodworkers, designers, and, yes, skaters. All making connections between skating, diversity, creativity and the power of being yourself.

Some very talented women express themselves in this “campaign” for creativity. London native Eloise Dӧrr is just one of them. But she ties the connection between skating and creativity pretty damn tight—skateboards are her canvas. Inspired by the escapism coming from skating through the streets of London, she paints characters and scenes of skaters much like herself and her friends right on the boards. She loves the process that goes behind it, too. Taking old boards, removing all the stickers, sanding, priming, painting. It’s almost therapeutic. She created a three-board piece for Vans.

Painting on Three Skateboards for Vans | Eloise Dӧrr | @eloweeese

A conversation about creativity with artist Eloise Dӧrr

We asked Eloise a few questions to better understand her creative process, passions and motives, and of course, skateboarding. 

Whalebone: What advice would you give an emerging female artist?

Eloise Dӧrr: The most valuable thing I have is a network and foundation of other women artists and skateboarders who I can reach out to if I’m ever in a pickle. If I ever have an issue with a client, trouble pricing a job, or I’m just a bit stressed out I can reach out to these friends who are in a similar boat and have that support, and they can do the same back to me. Take up space and know your worth, we need you. 

Eloise creating in her studio

Whalebone: One thing you would want to scream to the world? 

Eloise: Support your local! Whether it’s your local skate shop, greengrocers or artists, support them in any way you can. The world would be so grey without them. Also, therapy is great and everyone can benefit from it because being human in itself is very very strange. Let’s just all hash it out.

Whalebone: How does your creative process enable you to express yourself? 

Eloise: Painting and drawing are things I love and enjoy the process of, and have always felt comfortable with, so for those reasons alone I have passion for it, but it also acts as an escape. Around 8 years ago I created these characters and their little universes as an escape because the world was a little scary to me at that time. So, I made these microcosms of curiosity and playfulness as a way to express what I needed at that point in my life. Things are very different now compared to then, I’m much more settled in myself and the world is a bit less scary, but I can still express myself through the process of creating these characters and a world around them—whatever world I feel they, and I, need that day. 

Whalebone: What’s your interpretation of Off the Wall? 

Eloise: The importance and value of counterculture, celebrating our differences, and mad airs. 

Whalebone: Is skateboarding a source of inspiration to you, or another way to express your creativity? 

Eloise: Probably both. I get so much inspiration from skateboarding, it’s the central theme of my art and has been ever since I started skating 9 years ago. But it’s also another creative outlet for me. It’s similar to art in that one day you want to create something silly and just have fun with it, or other times you want to get a bit more serious with it. Both serve a similar purpose to me. When I started skating, the reason I connected with it so much is because it did feel so similar to when I’m putting pen or brush to paper. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t, but it’s all about the process and trying again. And they’re both just very fun.  

Photo courtesy of Rafal Wojnowski | @rafski

Eloise Dorr and many other artists from around the world will continue to be highlighted as a part of this campaign throughout the end of the year, bringing a diverse collection of humans and pieces of art to the Vans community. Celebrating the diversity of creativity, the freedom to express yourself and encouraging you to live off the wall.