Art has the power to start conversations and form connections. In 2008 I began working on a series of oil paintings that has done just that and it has profoundly impacted my life both personally and professionally.
The series began unexpectedly when I decided to paint an old pair of my PF Flyers that were lying on my studio floor. I wore them nearly every day and their worn soles and weathered edges told a story of my life. I became intrigued with the concept of capturing the story and character of other artist who’s work I love.
I see these paintings as unconventional and non judgemental portraits.
Shoes speak volumes about who we are. After time they develop a character all their own.
This series is about paying homage to a variety of contemporary artists worldwide and being able to connect with them personally. Creating art is my greatest purpose, yet it can become isolating. This series gives me the opportunity to connect with other artists all over the world. To date I have painted over 100 shoe portraits of both world renowned and obscure artists, including: Jamie Wyeth, John Baldessari, Ed Ruscha, Jenny Holzer and Annie Sprinkle……. and the list keeps growing.
I personally contacted artists and asked them to send the pair of shoes that best represents them. The number of positive responses that I’ve received so far pleasantly surprises me. Most of the artist have allowed me to keep their shoes. I now have a wire in my studio with over 50 pairs of shoes strung above my easel. The growing number of correspondence, ephemera and photos that I’ve collected has become an additional point of interest. Every day I look forward to going to the mailbox to see who has responded. This book chronicles the portraits, correspondence and contributing artists as a way for people to discover these great artists on their own. I plan on developing this series the rest of my life.
KJ Shows was born in Seabrook, Texas in 1965.
In 1983 Shows enrolled at the Art Institute of Houston to study Visual Communications. After graduating in 1985 she worked for a silkscreen company in Houston, Texas. After four years Shows relocated to Sacramento, CA and worked for Anne Bruce Inc. Advertising as their Assistant Art Director. Shows was drawn to the creative environment and contemporary art scene in San Francisco so in 1989 she relocated there and worked for David Neuman Enterprises as a silk screener.
In 1990 Shows took a job with American Airlines as a Ramper so she would have flexible hours allowing her to devote more time to her painting. The job with American also had the added benefit of allowing her to travel the world to experience different cultures and draw inspiration from international art shows and galleries. During her time living in San Francisco, Shows participated in a number of group and solo exhibits, immersing herself in the cities art scene.
In 2001 Shows moved to Kennebunk, ME, located just over an hour north of Boston. Her new environment, home studio space and proximity to Boston invigorated her creative exploration. Shows began devoting more time to painting and participating in solo and group exhibits across the country. In 2012 Shows retired from American Airlines and now pursues her art full time.