Shoe Illustrations – move over Andy Warhol?

by Alden Cole on June 9, 2014 · 0 comments

Slow-Motion Memoir: An Illustrated History, installment #40

5illosWP1972? Among the anomalies in my fashion files are a group of 5 men’s-shoe illustrations. Client: forgotten, but there’s a vague memory of a connection to the Wig & Millinery Research rag featured yesterday. Time period: late 1972 by deduction, looking at the drawing style. Evaluation: some of my less inspired, more rigid drawing, obviously fulfilling a commissioned free-lance job to draw shoes including vignettes, two of which featured photographs of old Hollywood stars Flynn and Valentino instead of illustrations. The project was not a particular forte of mine, but I considered it was always worth trying a new challenge. Since there are no more proofs in the files, I’m assuming this was the “one and only” time I attempted such a project, with no encores.

Time has brought to my attention the fact that Andy Warhol, early in his career, specialized in shoe illustration, a career he had left behind already by the time I hit the Big Apple. He had moved on from being an ‘illustrator’ to being an ‘artiste’: to creating the ‘serious’ unserious art that he became famous for: Campbell Soup cans, faces of Jackie-O, Marllyn Monroe, et al repeated ad nauseam, newspaper photos of deadly car accidents grossly enlarged, and other blighted visions; and in the process, becoming a founding father of PopArt. Andy’s art rocked my world, another indication that ‘beauty’ was definitely in the eye of the beholder… and I was obviously out of step with my times, and marching to a Different Drummer.

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