When shoes and art collide

It’s been pretty well established that shoes have international appeal, and not just as items of footwear, but as magnificent works of art. From Malaysia to the US and everywhere in between shoe artists express themselves through the innovative use of shoes. Sometimes fancy footwear serves as inspiration for painters, sculptors and photographers, and at other times the shoes become the canvas, as artists paint them or rework them into various shapes and representations.

Those who have only a cursory interest in shoes, as the items that keep our feet dry in the rain and enable us to look elegant in floor length dresses, will be surprised to learn the extent to which shoes are able to captivate, enthrall and excite others – and not in a weird fetish way either – but like an aged wine pleases a connoisseur and the lines of a building please an architect.

This month, in Mutiara Damansara, Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, youths were encouraged to enter a shoe customising competition at the Cineleisure Mall. According to the Mall’s advertising and promotion manager, Eliza Kow, the competition is designed to be a fun way for young artists to showcase their skills.

An entrant used his brother's stamp collection for inspiration

An entrant used his brother's stamp collection for inspiration

The competition kicked off on the 2nd of August with a 7-hour workshop during which 70 young designers showed off their shoes. The designs were judged on creativity, workmanship, level of difficulty and overall impression. 51 entrants made it to the final phase of the competition for public voting, which closes on the 29th of August.

If you feel that you are perhaps not artistic enough to hand paint and decorate your shoes, but you still want to cause artistic waves in customised shoes, then you should consider paying a visit to Zazzle.com. The company is well-known in the US for creating a range of customisable items, from t-shirts to coffee mugs, and now they have added shoes to their list.

Using Keds sneakers and new technology, Zazzle is now able to print images of digital photographs onto shoes. All you need to do is upload the digital image of your choice and Zazzle will create your very own artistic shoe. The shoes themselves come in three varieties for women (lace-up, slip-on and mini slip-on) and two for kids (lace-up and slip-on). The customised Keds will cost $60 (£32.72) per pair for women and $50 (£27.27) for children.

For those who are interested or just plain curious the Virtual Shoe Museum exhibits a large, often unusual and often breathtaking range of shoes, from futuristic designs to shoes made from recycled tyres and outrageous heels.

An entrant used his brother's stamp collection

By Michel Tcherevkoff

The High Heel Shoe Museum, unsurprisingly, features a wide range of high heels, from extreme high heels to hand painted shoes, as well as a collection of shoe art, shoe furniture and interesting shoe facts.

Impossible ballet slippers

Impossible ballet slippers

For more in shoe art, you can visit the Shoe Art Show, which displays shoe art in various forms, including paintings, sculptures and furniture.

Shoes and glass

Shoes and glass

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