Tuesday, December 15, 2009

More Than Just Kicks: Clash of the Customizers Exhibition

While I've always thought about shoes as art, I've never really looked at the shoe as being a possible blank canvas where an artist can bring an idea to life.  Whether you're more of a newbie to this world like me or already entrenched in the world of customized sneakers, the collection featured at Clash of the Customizers Exhibition will probably leave you impressed and never looking at shoes in the same way again.  (Left: Goddess Ayra Tara by Yoakustoms)

Running until December 27, 2009, more information, photos, and video about the exhibition after the jump.

I was in attendance at the launch party for the exhibition on Saturday and was able to see these amazing creations from talented customizers across the U.S. and other continents.  The artists' customized kicks were involved in an eight-month competition and now that the competition is over, the shoes are on display for first-hand looks and some are also available for bidding.

From inspiration of current events to cultural references of comic books to Hitchcock and ideas like "walking on water", the exhibition reveals the possibilities are endless when using the shoe as starting point.  Artists can utilize any number of materials to get their vision across, like heat-sensitive paints to synthetic furs (See Video Below: Michael Jackson-inspired color changing shoe by qustomqueen; See Slideshow: Marvel Mash-Ups Vol 1: Adventures on the Planet of the Apes by chrisco-cc).

With examples like the Marvel Mash-up sneakers available for viewing, I asked event organizer Mike Miscannon/Jest3r of 3R Customs about whether or not there was any trouble when customizers were inspired by potentially copyrighted material.  I was happy to hear that most of the time the reception was very welcoming. 
(Right: Mike Miscannon is pictured with me). 

The event also revealed that you never know who might be a fan of customized kicks. JC Chasez (of 'N Sync and America's Best Dance Crew judge fame) showed up to the launch party as well. (Left: JC Chasez with customizer St!zo).

One of the most amazing things about customized shoes is not only the types of materials each customizer might incorporate, but also the level of attention to detail.  Whether the shoe is inspired by Chinese take-out boxes or the Sistine Chapel, there is no doubt the artists took incredible amounts of time and energy to think through how to make an idea come across.  The average observer is forced to think beyond the shoe as a canvas and the ultimate result as a work of art. 

Clash of the Customizers runs until December 27th.  See more information on ExperienceLA.com.  To learn more about the competition, visit the Clash of the Customizers website

Event Tip: In case Google Maps steers you wrong (especially in rare Los Angeles evening rain), the exhibition is located at the corner of La Cienega Blvd/Oakwood.

-Charity Tran
 with photos provided by Ian Wasseluk

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! The lowly sneaker is now an art concept. That sneaker is really gorgeous. Who would wear an object de art on their stinky little feet? These are more like sneakers that should be under lock and key and protected with lasers and security guards. I grew up with Keds and moved on to Nike and ASICS. This is a horse, or rather a shoe of a completely different color. Gosh! They really are pretty art pieces . I’m amazed at seeing silk and tapestry on canvas of a much different sort. I think this is unbelievably creative and it seems that art is going in a much more creative vein. That gallery should have lots of astonished viewers. I thought a sneaker was just a sneaker. How wrong could I be? I swear Experience LA is always on the cutting edge of the fresh and edgy in community and art. Good job; .I’m looking forward to your next interesting blog.