Chicago is a historically talented city and youth are carrying the torch. Far and wide, the re-emergence of artistic expression has taken the city by storm as a way for youth to express their ideas. Lorenz King, a 17-year-old shoe artist, is a trailblazer of this creative movement.
Lorenz King is an artist who customizes shoes in different designs using paint in pursuit of expression. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month in 2018, King customized a pair of shoes showcasing the breast cancer ribbon and posted it on social media. He captioned his picture “Empower Women” and used hashtags #domesticviolenceawareness #stopdomesticviolence #curecancer in order to promote his viewpoint.
King has been working toward the mastery of his craft for years.
“In June 2017, I had a pair of old white Huaraches that were dirty, and I prepared to throw them away. I then came up with the idea of painting them because I wasn’t ready to let them go,” King explained to the Chicago Defender. “I then ordered a couple colors, cleaned the shoes, then painted them. Once I finished, I posted them on my Instagram and people started to like them.”
King has made many moves since his initial pair of Huaraches. His social media — his top marketing tool — has grown to more than three thousand followers on Instagram and sixty-three thousand views on YouTube. It’s what his younger self always imagined.
“I have always been doing some form of art since I was young,” the Southside native recalled. “Art has always been a passion of mine, and I have always loved to create.”
King knows the sky is the limit for his talent and that its implementation can be used broadly. Thus, Lorenz is building his art portfolio for something greater: a career.
“I plan on using my art in architectural engineering,” the rising senior at St. Rita of Cascia explained. “If I were to accomplish a different career in the art field, I would just use my prior creative skills and knowledge to excel.”
Although his cards are stacked high in the present, Lorenz has tunnel vision to see them to fruition. In the future, the artist visualizes himself studying at a historically black college and jump-starting his career after graduation.
“I plan on having a well–established business and reputation — in art and among other people.”
Lorenz already has a reputation. Just last year, King’s painting titled “Lil Chano from 79th” was displayed in the Museum of Science and Industry as part of the 2018 Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition. Reportedly, the painting of Chance the Rapper was created to symbolize how Chance carries Chicago and to shed light on the amount of awareness he has for the city. King represented Chicago by creating a silhouette of the city’s skyline behind the rapper’s face. To create this piece, King used thick and thin Sharpie markers, an oil-based marker, pencils and an assortment of watercolors.
Aside from his accomplishments, however, Lorenz keeps a close eye on his brand.
“I stick to a brand that makes it easier for people to remember me and my variety of works,” King told the Defender. “Even if my medium of work changes, my branding does not.”
Lorenz wants other teens to know that their dreams are not impossible.
“Never give up,” the teenager explained. “I still haven’t reached all of my goals. I live by the phrase ‘Trust the process,’ because everything isn’t going to look clear all the time, and that’s okay.”