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Behind the Ink: Alicia Smith

Alicia is a true artist who can transform a plain pair of boots or flats into works of art. Alicia, a member of the Nuu-chah-nulth Nation of British Columbia, wanted to see clothing, shoes and accessories of Native design that you could wear every day, and not just on special occasions. Drawing traditional animals on her shoes has started a new trend and small but booming business for Alicia, whose talents are sought after by hundreds across the world.

NATIVE MAX: What’s your tribe? Where are you from?
ALICIA: My tribe is Nuu-chah-nulth Nation, which is on the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia. I was born and raised in Victoria B.C. and have been living in Burnaby for fourteen years.

What are some of the designs you draw onto shoes, clothing and accessories?
The designs I draw are traditional animals such as eagles, bears, wolf, raven, and killer whales.

What inspired you to draw designs onto shoes?
I have been drawing Native art since I was 8 years old and always wanted to be a Native artist. Growing up I always had a passion for Native art but never pursued a career. As a teenager I modeled for fashion shows for First Nations designers and always wanted to see clothing, shoes and accessories that people could wear everyday and not as just formal wear. In 2012 I was unemployed, and took up drawing again. I began drawing on my own shoes and they became popular on Facebook, so I began designing on purses, earrings and wallets.

This story originally appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Native Max Magazine.

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