Getting into Shoe Business

Posted by Stephanie Piro on May 17th, 2009

A few months ago, I joined an art group in Rochester, NH, called Art Esprit
which is based in artstream Gallery (small “a” in artstream!), a very classy gallery.
The members of Art Esprit are artists and poets. Here’s a link, so you can see for yourselves: 

This one’s to Art Esprit:

This one is to artstream:

Rochester used to be famous for shoe manufacturing and artstream
 wanted to celebrate this history with giant shoe sculptures. The shoes would be
sponsored by local businesses and then installed around town for the
And every sculpture would have its own poem created by an Art Esprit poet member.
 A great idea, right? My husband, John, the editor of the paper based in Rochester,
the famous Rochester Times (particularly famous for John’s Police Log: )
showed his support in his unique way :

 So, I happened to attend a meeting at artstream and said “wouldn’t it be fun if one
of the sculptures was a giant stiletto ?” They said, “will you paint it?” and I said “Of course”.
 Plus, I would get my very own poet, Matt Jasper, brilliant poet and renaissance man
who is also one of my favorite people.

The shoes were created by Adam Pearson, sculptor par excellence , who single- handedly 
sculpted 11 giant shoes from recycled materials. Not any of those cookie cutter fiber glass sculptures you see everywhere. These are one of a kind works of art!

Most of the artists worked on their shoes in a big empty room belonging to a local bank,
 but as my time is limited,  a giant stiletto was delivered to  our house.

 The sight of this enormous high heel taking up the whole living room
was pretty daunting. What to do? I had done some sketches.

But normally I work within an 8 x 10 size.

After staring at it from all angles, I started sketching in paint. I didn’t want to do
 the background first, as I needed to think about what I was doing on white space:
Here’s the front:


and the back:

It was very intimidating. Mistakes were wiped off many, many times.
The beauty of acrylic paint! This took hours and hours.
Then, the next step, painting the figures.  


This all took several days. Then, I had to paint in the background.
My original concept was a red background, but after more walking round it and staring,
I decided on a cerulean blue with yellow inside the base and underneath:


and here are some more views:



 Finally, I was finished:


(ignore messy house due to great excuse of giant shoe in living room!)

In conjunction with the shoes, all the Art Esprit artists created shoe art that is exhibited in the Rochester Library:

Then, the shoe had to be picked up to be exhibited at artstream for the special sponsor’s
sneak preview. All the artists and poets had to paint a pair of shoes to wear to the event.
These are mine:


It was sad to let go after our month or so of bonding.
Adam and Matt arrived to pick it up. Here they debated as to the best way to take it out.
One of the shoe’s component’s is concrete.


 A decision is reached:

Cut to the Sponsor’s Preview. Many yummy snacks were served.
Here, shoe and I are reunited:


June 6th, all the shoes will be finished and in their special places around town.
There will be a brochure with a map of all the locales.
I’ll post a follow up with photos of all the shoes in June.

And remember, they ARE for sale. The money raised by the sales will go to art student scholarships.
So, if you’d love a giant shoe of your very own, contact Susan or Mary Jo at artstream!