When a young artist needed a confidence boost, internet strangers had her back.
Last week, Emely Cifuentes shared a photo of a pair of hand-painted Vans on Twitter. The 17-year-old had asked her little sister Marely, who wants to be an artist, to paint the turquoise pair of sneakers. But instead of coming back as a finished product, Emely’s shoes were returned unfinished.
I asked my little sister if she could paint my shoes because she wants to be an artist before I left to go out and when I got home this was on my bed and now I’m literally crying because I love them so much and it sucks how much your parents affect u when they’re not supportive pic.twitter.com/IBZxjiBrfD
— emely (@em333ly) February 16, 2018
Attached to the sneakers was an explanation as to why the painting was left half done. “Mom said she didn’t like them and that broke my heart. I don’t need you to break it more.” Even worse, she then started to doubt her own talent. “Now that I see it I agree with her you shouldn’t have let me do that. [I’m] soo sorry.”
After reading the note, Emely tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she “immediately started bawling” because her sister “put effort into them, and it made me so sad that she felt like she did a bad job.”
As the teen noted on Twitter, “it sucks how much your parents affect u when they’re not supportive,” and Emely made sure to give her sister positive encouragement. “I absolutely loved them because they’re original! Then I wrote her a note telling her what a great job she did, and I taped it to her bed so she could see it when she woke up for school,” Emely says.
Then Emely had a little chat with her mom. Turns out this was just a bit of a misunderstanding. “Of course the first thing I did was ask my mom why she made her feel like that or what she actually said to her and my mom said she thought that she took my shoes without my permission, which is why her reaction was a little negative,” Emely explains. “My mom always tries to support us in what we do, but of course sometimes it feels otherwise. Since her opinion is the one that matters most to us, it’s easier to get us feeling down.”
Luckily, the internet helped Marely feel better; the story has gone viral, with more than 85,000 retweets, 292,000 likes, and thousands of uplifting comments. YouTuber and designer Connor Franta commented that she’d like to buy some of Marely’s art.
hey emely! would love to support marely and buy a pair of her art if possible. she's so talented!!
— connor (@connorfranta) February 17, 2018
Another Marely fan tried to recreate the shoes and said that she hoped she got it right.
I hope I got the technique right. These are some DOPE shoes! Keep up the good work!
❤️ Hannah pic.twitter.com/DKBge5pFPE
— han (@hannahb_helms) February 17, 2018
Others are commissioning Marely for their own sneakers. “Omg tell her I think they are so cute and I want to send out a pair of shoes to you guys so she can paint them what’s your address,” one follower wrote. That response got 79 replies, all echoing the original commenters interest, from “me too” to “me 81.”
— joanie (@johnapishko) February 17, 2018
Luckily, the whole debacle had a very happy ending. “The next morning after I saw how much attention the post was getting I ran to Marely’s room and said so many people love your shoes!!! And I showed her all of the positive comments and you could tell how happy she was, she couldn’t believe that people want shoes painted by her and especially that someone recreated her look,” Emely says. “I couldn’t believe it either but overall I was so happy that everyone was encouraging my little sister’s artwork. She said that it encourages her to make more art.” The proud sister hasn’t worn the shoes yet, but only because she has to let the artist complete her masterpiece. “I have not worn them out yet, because she’s trying to finish painting all of them, but once she’s done, you bet I will.”
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