A popular Native Keynote speaker, Louie is proud to have represented his family and community through presentations around the world, such as the National Indian Education Association (NIEA) the National and the Critical Mixed Race Studies conference. He has also appeared in media such as NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, MSNBC.com, and BBC.
When speaking, Louie enjoys tailoring his content to the interests and needs of his audience. He often shows images of his art work to engage his audience, then weaves together humorous personal stories, empirical information and his own analysis to inspire them. Common speaking topics include identity, entrepreneurship, cultural appropriation, contemporary Native social issues and - of course - art.
Louie has been working in the education field since he was 18, starting with kids from his own tribal community in the public school system. He then became a school counselor before moving into higher education. When putting together workshops, Louie draws on his professional experience as a school counselor, child and family therapist, and college instructor to create content that is engaging and relevant to the broader social or educational goals of the programs that he is visiting. His ultimate goal is to create a positive gateway experience that will lead participants to more self-guided exploration of their identity. Check out pictures. Check out a video.
Louie has been a resource for the U.S. State Department's International Visitors Program and participated in cultural exchanges with groups from France, Germany, Iraq, and Mexico. A veteran of over 80 custom shoe or Mockups art toy workshops, Gong has already shared his work in China, Germany, Canada, and all over the United States. In August 2012, Louie did a workshop with Mexican high school students visiting the United States as guests of the U.S. State Department. This workshop was the first to incorporate Mockups – Louie’s DIY art toy over three years in the making.
Frequent Design Yourself workshop activities include Identity Doodles, Mockups, and Custom Shoes.
With 20 years experience in education, Louie understands that serving a diverse student or client population requires that professionals understand and accept their own framework for viewing the world - their cultural identity.
In the spirit of the trickster, Louie uses his artwork and personal story as a light-hearted and engaging lead into sensitive conversations about "race," "cultural identity" and "white privilege." Remarkably, this is accomplished without hardly any mention of those buzz words.
Whenever possible, interactive and hands-on activities such as Identity Doodles are used to reinforce themes and empirical information provided during the workshop. His goal when working with adult professionals is to provide a unique experience that touches the heart as well as the brain.
Over the course of the last 7 years, Louie has grown from a beginner artist doodling on a pair of shoes to the owner of one of the most recognizable and influential Native-owned brands. He accomplished this without start up capital, industry connections or by taking on silent partners. He did do it with creativity, elbow grease and courage - something that we all have access to.
He has always been committed to sharing this knowledge and experience with emerging arts entrepreneurs, but giving away the driving force behind your business just isn't very good business. So Louie recently created the Inspired Natives Project as a way to continue the pattern of supporting other arts entrepreneurs in a way that is sustainable for Eighth Generation. Beyond this structured initiative, Louie is also available for individual consultation and coaching.
Bring your small group straight to the place where most of Louie's projects have been conceived and developed- Louie's humble but vibrant studio in Seattle's historic International District. With instant access to completed and incomplete artwork, tools of the trade, and product samples and prototypes, you'll get a rare glimpse into Louie's unique artistic and entrepreneurial process.
If you're interested in booking Louie, start by reviewing his Schedule and the Speaking and Workshops FAQ pages before sending an email to email@example.com. Please be sure to note your name/title, organizational affiliation, type of speaking engagement(s) and some general information about your target audience.