Altered shoes — alter ego?

Sherry Bezanson introduces us to mixed-media artist Chantelle Spicer in her Community Art Showcase column.

Ladysmith Arts Council artist Chantelle Spicer creates beautiful altered shoes that are artistic but also practical.

At first glance, these shoes were indeed made for more than walking — they were made for having fun with your fashion.

Take a pair of shoes, add some embellishments and sparkle, and you have a pair of shoes worthy of Gypsy Rose Lee. And that is exactly what LAC member Chantelle Spicer is doing with her art. She’s taking it to the street. And these shoes are making heads turn.

Spicer is a mixed-media artist who works primarily in acrylic and collage. She is inspired by nature, curving lines, flow, whimsical images and women and loves seeing the beauty in something that others might overlook, something that might not be so beautiful. Like a pair of old shoes. Spicer’s vision of wonder and delight becomes enshrined in a pair of shoes. The shoes, although decorative, can be worn — that’s the whole idea.

Spicer’s altered shoes were inspired by wanting to combine the practical with artistic flair. She found an online tutorial, and she uses finishes that are weather-resistant and hardy. The shoes, once painted, decorated and trimmed, are sealed with varnish and can be wiped down.

The shoes come in a variety of styles: high heels, flats, boots and pumps. Spicer’s shoes can be found at the LAC Gallery and will be part of the Drift Christmas Extravaganza from Dec. 14-16 in Nanaimo.

Spicer is also involved in Free-Art Friday, an international movement to make art accessible to everyone. It’s a simple idea that got the imagination of creative people around the globe. In 32 countries around the world, every Friday, artists leave art in public places for people to take. There are no conditions, no sales necessary!

“I’m into the ephemeral quality of art, the beauty in the moment. Most artists strive for permanence, but by taking it to the street, you capture the ephemeral and public aspect of art,” Spicer advised.

She notes that Free Art Friday takes the elitism out of art. She is joining in with this creative movement to get art out to anyone. Nearly every Friday, Spicer leaves several pieces of artwork in random places; sometimes inside, sometimes outside. Attached to the art is her contact information and a letter congratulating the finder on their new piece of art.

So whether you are into finding a pair of new altered shoes or tracking down some free art, Chantelle Spicer is the person to follow!

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