In “Nature Sneakers,” paper mache and masking tape molded around used sneakers and redesigned in paper pulp and set in an open frame, is an artwork inspired by the ritual of shoe tossing onto high electricity cables, connoting cultural variations from a right of passage like a student graduation to a request for rain. For me, these sneakers are a symbol of passing through nature, being able to walk through the rough ground yet leave it untouched. Walking for me is both a symbol of moving forward and a need to keep moving in general. It is about trekking through dense forest undergrowth, bushwhacking, and coming out of the experience strengthened. These sneakers got a second life after having been through a rough walking patch. The artwork is a piece about any owner of such sneakers.
Part of my inspiration for this artwork comes from the idea of spring festivals and the change of season from winter to spring. What I mean by spring festivals is the celebration of the beginning of spring after winter. The change in weather during this time also inspired me to create my artwork with a warm color palette that echoes a sense of renewal and longer days.
I chose green because I wanted this pair to be closely related to the greenery found in nature. Green is the color of growth, grass, and in this case, a symbol of nature.
The idea of shoe hanging began many years ago when I received a pair of miniature sneakers as a good luck charm. I hang the miniature sneakers next to my home’s entrance door. I’ve been playing with the shoe hanging idea in my mind for many years and have finally brought it to fruition. The miniature sneakers also prompted me to research shoe tossing, which then led me to rituals with foot wear.
The name of the artwork came to me with the first sketch I made of the pair of sneakers. I wanted to reiterate mankind’s connection to nature.