Shoe Piles

I’ve been thinking about drawing shoes.  I like how they’re made to fit the human form but also continue holding a variation of that form when they’re not being worn by a person.  So, last night I decided to draw a pile of shoes.  It got me thinking about why my work has developed into these mound shapes I’ve been painting.  Last week I went home to my parents house, which is going through a lot of transition at the moment.  Long story short, both my parents have collected a lot of things over their lifetime and the house is at it’s maximum capacity.  I’ve been thinking of the mounds/piles I’ve been painting as the accumulation of psychological or emotional burdens we take on through living- but I think it’s interesting how that translates into the objects that we actually own and identify with.  Collections, sentimentality, space shrinking due to accumulation, collecting dust/time , holding memories… These things seem relevant to my paintings and are contained in the things we own and become attached to.

I’ve always found it a little hard to buy clothes in thrift stores due to the histories these objects already seem to have, histories that I will never know. I see the pilling of a shirt and start to think about how that formed over time as it brushed up against someone else’s skin.  That seems so personal, even if it’s unnoticed.  I almost feel like I need to erase them to make them my own, which for me, feels kind of hard to do.  Although, I have the same problem with new clothes, just in an opposite way.  New clothes have no personal history and it seems a little burdensome to me to have to give them history and identify with them because they’re foreign objects at first- (and there are a hundred more of the same exact shirt sitting on the shelf- but it’s also nice to have something new).

I’ve also been thinking a lot about identity and am realizing that that is also a part of the paintings. It’s something I’ve always thought about and kind of struggled with- the question, “who am I?” or “who are we?” ultimately these seem like unanswerable questions, so I feel like it’s impossible to define myself, and am left with some abstract, indefinable thing reminiscent of a living being.  I think it’s funny how our social environments almost demand identity of us; we’re constantly forced to define something we can’t entirely define.

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