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Hammer Toes


I know where and when shoes became such a big deal to me. Growing up I recall cramming my feet into a certain pair of Buster Brown’s long after they were outgrown. I had eight brothers and sisters. Including Mom and Dad, that’s twenty-two feet to shod. The budget didn’t keep pace.  In this photo, you can see my hammer toes. So when I said I was a “shoe freak,” I mean, my toes are literally kinky.

It was my intention with this snapshot to infer that they honor feet at Goler, and good shoes are capable of offering so much more than mere protection. They’re symbols of identity, indicators of relative security. Silly as it may sound, evolution is what makes shoes and feet sexy. It’s a primal thing. It’s another explanation for the saying, “the shoes make the man/woman.”

Combining art and technology for ambulating the body has an universally authentic ring.

This photo also makes light of a rather serious situation, but I did not intend it to trivialize the plight of street people. My pose mimics those unfortunate ones asking for hand-outs with those cardboard signs on curb sides and street corners everywhere you look now days.

Someone told me they caught a cardboard sign holder making so much money the IRS went after him. I think that’s an isolated case.  The facts are, most people probably only do it out of desperation. Some do it out of habit, of course, others have made a total racket out of it, no doubt. There’s a lot of panhandling that blurs the line. One could even argue that buskers and street performers of all kinds of  are doing just that. Is it alright if a  doing it. More power to them as long as they’re offering something of value back. They’re still begging, perhaps, but at least they’re trying to make it enjoyable for everyone involved.

For my part, I needed to work fast on this, for practical reasons. There are actually, lot’s of priorities, in real life more important than my next pair of shoes. I don’t have time to just sit around. So, when the idea came for the sign, I just grabbed a random piece of cardboard in my studio. It happened to be dotted with Christmas colored polka-dots and originally purposed for shipping presents through the USPS.

That’s fun, now how can we make the letters pop?

Black tape is one of my favorite line making methods for sketching out big, bold figures in the most direct fashion and the least amount of time. You can’t always make it do what you want, but if you let it do what it can, it’s full of surprises. So much depends on how you use the torn edge of the tape to shape the font.

Then it was just a matter of deciding where exactly on the curb to sit in front of that big colorful window display, which I wrote about in the last post already. The time of day was another decision. Santa Fe has so many moods depending on what the desert sky is doing. Finally, throwing on the sport coat and tie I hoped would eliminate any inclination to read it pitifully. I have money in my pocket, most likely, I’m just making a play for your attention which, in turn, should refocus eventually on the Goler sign.

I had some lean times growing up. I thought I might have to go the homeless route more than once. Thankfully, I never have, so far. So the photograph is a sort of celebration of that fact. Even if you didn’t know that about me, I hoped you’d get a laugh out of some dude in the tie with his priorities skewed. If I ever do have to ask for charity, I’ll be grateful for times like these.

Art has many lives. My art is constantly reincarnating and redefining its purpose. There are so many ways I’d like to reach out and connect to others with mine that I haven’t even tried yet. It’s about time.


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