Well this is one way to walk all over your exes: use them as inspiration for a shoe collection. Artist Sebastian Errazuriz did just that, turning 12 ex-lovers into one wildly imaginative shoe collection.
Errazuriz worked together with Melissa, a shoe company famous for working together with other high-profile designers like Vivienne Westwood and Karl Lagerfeld. While they surely kicked ass, let’s not forget that this probably wouldn’t have been executed to such a degree if it were not for the use of 3D printing. It’s always superb to see art make use of trending technology, there are few relationships I find so symbiotic. The pairing testifies the tech, while also breathes new life into the art. A reminder that sometimes inspiration and ideation can be born out of simply looking to what’s modern (and how that can be exploited).
Each pair is named for one of Errazuriz’s former flames, from “Ice Queen Sophie” to “Heart Breaker Laura” to the “Gold Digger Alison,” and all personify each woman through Errazuriz’s eyes. To add one more emotional layer, the artist wrote small yet-detailed stories about each relationship (note they are NSFW) and how it inevitably ended. Some of the descriptions are beautiful and flattering, while others are not quite as nice. However, they seem like an act of deliberate public self-exposure and sincerity, and I like how this sincerity makes him extremely vulnerable to these women from his past and to judgement, which gives the project a great deal of power.
To me, what makes this project really shine is the writing, the stories or the names that accompany every design. Those tiny tales are little slices of Errazuriz’s life, and without them, I feel the project wouldn’t have been so captivating. There’s a degree of relatability that results in an invitation to the viewer. Rather than search for meaning in every shoe, he hands it to us, neatly wrapped in colloquial regard. It’s a refreshing offering, especially in contrast to all the other art usually on exhibit; sure, the shoes look nice, but it’s the accompanying writing and pictures that deliver the charm and make this project so appealing.
There’s much more to 12 Shoes for 12 Lovers than just the shoes; I believe it could have just as easily been titled “12 Stories for 12 Lovers.” And there’s something for everyone in this offering—whether it be the fashion, the design, the tech, the writing, or the photography. If none of that, Errazuriz manages to at least captivate with something we can all relate to: love and heartbreak. Bear with my pessimism (there’s a light at the end of it), but to me, the project prompts the assumption that life generally goes badly, which in turn aids in the realization of a good relationship being unusual. Errazuriz’s offering is a message to be more appreciative of when things do go your way. People who look at you like maybe you’re magic are rare and hard to find. So when you find one, make sure you’ll protect and take care of her/him the best you can.