KJ SHOWS: SOLE OF THE ARTIST
"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 judgmental 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, and the list keeps growing.
I personally contact artists and ask 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 artists 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. I plan on developing this series the rest of my life."
- KJ Shows
Bill Barminski is best know for work in several mediums that include cardboard sculpture, advertising derived paintings and video animation. His cardboard sculptures of everyday objects such as shoes, spray cans and furniture are usually painted white and outlined in dark brown paint that capture a sense of 3 dimensional drawings. The best example of this style was the interactive Security Theater that served as the entrance to Banksy’s Dismaland in 2015.
Before turning his attention to sculpture in the early 2000s, Barminski was well known for his paintings that explored themes surrounding consumerism and advertising. His two-mouth image of a happy consumer became part of the Hollywood skyline in 1998 as a featured Absolut Artist billboard series. This mechanically animated and neon billboard was reportedly the most expensive Absolut Artist billboard created and graced the Sunset Strip for over 2 years. Barminski has also worked creating animated music videos for artists such as Gnarls Barkley, Kid Cudi and Death Cab for Cutie. His earliest animated video was for director Baz Lurhman's Sunscreen Song.
In 2014 he and his directing partner, Chris Louie created the artwork, set design and character animation for a new media production of the opera The Cunning Little Vixen. Directed by Yuval Sharon, this ground breaking production incorporates projection mapping and animation to bring this opera to life in orchestral halls not equipped to accommodate traditional operas. Multiple productions of Vixen have been mounted since the year 2014 including 2 historic performances at the Musikverein, Vienna, Austria. Barminski, who is a primarily self taught artist, has had over 20 solo shows since 1986. He lives in Los Angeles, California, works in a garage studio and has been teaching digital media in the Department of Film and Television at UCLA since 1998.