Old Shoes Reborn with Living Faces


Gwen Murphy is an artist who really has taken to heart the idea that shoes reveal their wearer’s personality. Or, more precisely, she loves bringing out a shoe’s personality. She takes the old shoes of friends, family and strangers and turns them into soleful artworks. Mostly using pairs (why separate old companions?), she gives each shoe the face she feels inspired to create.

She explains her beginnings: “Since I was a very young child, I have looked at shoes and found them looking back at me, each pair with its particular personality and facial expression. When shoes are lined up near a door or in a closet, they are trusty steeds, waiting to serve. Mouths yawning open, they sometimes look sleepy, grouchy or fierce; sometimes they look like they are singing. They are like a species of beings made entirely of pairs of identical twins. [The Foot Fetish] series of sculptures is my way of bringing forth the presence I see in each pair of shoes.” It really is an amazing way to repurpose unwanted old shoes.

Analysis: This article shows how an artist brings out the beauty in worn out old shoes. Instead of seeing them as junk she sees them as an opportunity to express a personality and an emotion.