Cardboard Shoes by Mike Leavitt

Seattle-based Michael Leavitt created these cardboard sneakers as part of his 'Cardboard Kicks and Hip Hopjects' in which he replicates modern, urban, everyday objects in cardboard.

"Shoes are the most ubiquitous, intimate design object that we fashion for ourselves. Cars, houses and other material accoutrements are important to our identity, but our clothing is the most intimate. We're stuck with it on our bodies all day long. Shoes even more so because the aesthetics cut across gender roles. Many might hesitate to admit that they really care what their clothes or shoes look like—especially a lot of guys. (I'm one of them.) But, like it or not, our shoes define who we are to the world outside our brains."

"I might dabble in satire of other essentials in a bad economy: eye glasses, winter coats, food items… but shoes are so intimately linked to our visual culture. They’re a necessity that we still get to have fun buying and wearing. I’ve always believed that fine art, high quality craft, and meaningful objects can be affordable. Galleries, museums and artists can find plenty of room for a different, affordable, more commercially sustainable kind of art-for-art’s-sake… that fits in both the museum and living room."

"Canvas and oil paints are pricey; traditional sculpture materials and tools are pricey. Sculpting with garbage is about as cheap as it gets. It allows me to experiment at will."

"It's ironic to use a cheap disposable material like cardboard. Cheap, disposable material makes an expensive product, oddly resembling the manufacturing of boutique footwear. The simple image of the cardboard shoe speaks humorously and clearly on consumerism."

"The trial and error has barely any consequences. I try to create the right shape and form and if a particular piece isn't right, I just trace it out on another piece of cardboard and toss it. Tons of students all over the world casually ask me to teach them how to make a cardboard shoe when confronted with the project in school, and 99% of them get hung up on the fear of failure. This fear cripples the motivation to experiment. Understanding the disposability of a material affords an artist near total freedom."

"Manipulating a material is somewhere between control and experimentation. Cardboard is incredibly easy to experiment with—controlling it is just as hard as any other medium. Painters spend lifetimes learning to control oil paint, sculptors apprentice for decades to learn their craft. Just because cardboard is cheap and available doesn't mean it's readily available to bend at will. I do a lot of "conditioning"—I rub it on a table edge, press wood tools into it, crumple it, crease it with rulers."

"No one taught me how to do any of it. I just keep trying everything I can. I don't quit when something doesn't immediately go my way. If I can't get a form to bend the way I want, I try a different tool. I step away and go for a walk, I think about it, I dream of it. Either I find a solution by trial and error and conjure a solution by sheer will. It's all about desire and motivation. I've got big dreams. I work as hard as I can to not let the material world stand in my way."

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Source: coolhunting; wikipedia


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