Melanie Zhgenti makes wearable art

Emily Bassett, Staff Writer

We’ve all seen them: those pictures on Instagram of fabulously decorated shoes, looking more like pieces of artwork than actual clothing. Marvelling at how the artists create these stunning pieces, we try to get some for ourselves, maybe to keep in a shadow box. Sadly, there’s usually a long wait list, or the prices are so exorberant that no student could possibly afford them.
But now, there’s a student at Liberty selling them.
Last year, sophomore Melanie Zhgenti took it upon herself to start making them for her friends and family. She began painting them after being inspired by an Instagram account, and was shortly thereafter asked by a close family friend who wanted to buy a pair. She paints them with different Disney themes, like The Little Mermaid, Toy Story or Cinderella.
“Disney, oh my word, it’s my life. I love all things Disney. My favorite movie is the Princess and the Frog, and Walt Disney was one of my biggest inspirations to possibly start a career in art, ” Zhgenti said.
And as for her future plans, she is continuing her art career through high school by taking lessons and art classes and wants to major in art in college. Her current dream job is becoming an animator for Disney. She wants to experiment with many other canvases, and digital art.
“I started drawing in 2012, and I wanted to get actual professionals to teach me. I now take lessons at an art school in Bellevue…I’m also working with digital drawings but I haven’t really worked with moving art,” Zhgenti said. “It’s an area I’m really excited to explore.”
For now though, she’s still going strong selling shoes, in between choir, advanced classes, and gymnastics. She doesn’t have much free time, but whatever time she does have, she uses it to continue fulfilling orders and painting more shoes for friends and family.
“If you want shoes, hit me up!” Zhgenti said.