"What Happened to love" (some social commentary through art)

Probably the most personal art I've done thus far. Usually just about every pair of shoes I make nowadays has some kind of meaning or story behind them (and it's been that way for the past 2 years with at least 90% of my work) but this pair, while they do have a meaning behind them, are also kind of a social commentary from me regarding a topic that's been on my mind as of late..love and relationships.

Here's a little story of what inspired my latest work (kinda lengthy so please bear with me):

Recently my sister graduated from college (congrats again Sis!) and while we were at her party/celebration/shindig, we were talking, just catching up and shooting the breeze about this and that, when later the conversation somehow shifted to relationships and she was telling me about some frustration she had over a past relationship situation (relatively minor but still frustrating). So after telling her what I thought about the situation I then related it to something similar that I had experienced in the past and how it made me feel. My situation had to do with the other person not being honest with her feelings (aka "playing games"..the #1 pet peeve for me when it comes to dealing with a woman) and how i've had girls send me mixed signals instead of just being straight up with her feelings (I appreciate straightforwardness in a woman..guys do appreciate that ladies!). I brought that up because she was telling me about the guy she dealt with and how he seemed as though he wasn't straight up with her and gave her mixed signals..basically seeming to be one way one moment and a different person the next..basically running 'hot & cold' depending on what day/time it is. A few weeks before our conversation I had a conversation with some friends online (guys and girls) and we talked about the games people play when it comes to getting to know each other & being together. These two convos along with my own past experiences really made me wonder (and still makes me wonder)..does true love even exist anymore? Or am I destined to spend life alone like Bruce Wayne in the Batman Beyond series (my fellow comic heads know what I mean ;)..)

So during that time I got the idea to put together a shoe in which I would ask the question..What Happened To Love?

When I set out to do this project, I wanted to express what I felt were the main things that causes relationships to fall apart or even causes potential relationships from forming in the first place. Some of these things can also apply to basic friendships and business relationships as well.

As you see the shoe seems to have a graffiti-esque look to it, and although that's not what I originally aimed for I still feel it conveys the message that I was aiming to get across.

Each color on the shoe, from the laces to the soles, represents all the different aspects of the topic. Sometimes love can be ruined by one or more of these things..sometime unfortunately a combo of all of them.

The lavender on the shoe represents ego. Many of us have it whether we like to admit it or not...call it being cocky, call it "swag" if you want..but however you look at it as it all boils down to one thing..ego. I feel like there may be a situation or two where a little ego or cockiness may not be all that bad, but the problem with it is that most people don't realize that there are times where you have to 'turn it off' so to speak, and check the ego at the door..especially in relationships. Some people turn the ego on and leave it on 24-7, which in some cases can get you in trouble. What happens if you turn on a light and leave it on all the time, non-stop? Your electric bill goes up and/or your light bulb blows out. Same with ego..if people think you're full of yourself you'll get looked at in a bad light & eventually be outcasted. Some people can be egotistical when dealing with their partner, making their partner feel unimportant like they don't care about them (even if they really do) and that sends out the wrong message. Nobody wants to be with someone who comes off self-centered and selfish (which unfortunately is rampant in society these days). Ego also causes people to put on fronts even if they truly love that person. It's like people are too worried about looking 'weak' in another person's eyes, when in reality in a relationship you're supposed to be able to let your guard down around your partner & allow each other to see your vulnerable side. Sometimes it can be insecurity I guess, but I know if a woman gives the "I don't care" vibe (even if she does) then i'm gonna think she really doesn't and end up moving on with life. What ever happened to two people dropping the fronts & the egos and actually communicating with each other about what's on their minds? In the words of Lauryn Hill.."Miscommunication leads to complication".

The turquoise (which overlaps the blue) represents pride. Sometimes pride can be a good thing but like with egos, you have to know when to turn it on and off. I can bet you there have been plenty of situations where a friendship or relationship failed or dissolved but could have been saved with a simple "I'm sorry" or "I apologize", but people tend to let their pride get in the way because you have people who seem to act like they're never wrong and want to put the blame on everyone else instead of taking the time to acknowledge their own faults (these usually end up being the same people who continue doing this & wonder why certain things never go right in their lives). These type of people continue acting like they're above mistakes and go on making the same mistakes in life without even realizing it...all because of foolish pride. Because of that they continue being in the same situation forever. Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

The green on the swoosh & the sole represent Greed & Selfishness. Too often you have people who only want to be with you, whether it's a relationship situation or a friendship situation, strictly because they feel like there's something in it for them and aren't really concerned about your feelings...basically having a hidden agenda. It's like that person who comes into a lot of money and all of a sudden they have a bunch of new friends and get calls from people they haven't heard from since kindergarten (sometimes relatives can be famous for that too!). People are way too selfish nowadays (believe me..i've experienced and STILL experience my share of selfish people!). As a result I constantly have to keep cutting certain people out of my life.

The aqua blue represents Lies & Deceit. I'm not ashamed to say that people have come & gone in and out of my life for years and probably will continue to since sincere people are hard to come by nowadays. I feel like I can count all my true friends on one hand & don't even have to use every finger to do it. If you're part of that group of real friends or have the qualities to be a part of that group then that's an alliance that i'll cherish forever. Unfortunately some people will tell you what they think you wanna hear just to get what they wanna get. It happens all the time in business..which in that regard I can understand to an extent..but a true relationship (or friendship) can't be built off of lies and deceit. Think about it..it takes more energy to keep up a lie than it does to just be yourself. Could you imagine getting into a relationship with someone, lying to them, and keeping up that lie for years, and then when the truth comes out (it ALWAYS does), that person is looking at you like "who are you?"...now imagine being on the receiving end of that kind of behavior! Imagine feeling like you wasted years of your life dealing with someone who turned out not to be what you thought they were. Imagine how it would affect you long term...would you be okay with that?

Didn't think so.

The black represents Heartbreak (hence the black on the side panel behind the breaking heart). Any and all of the previously mentioned aspects can and usually do lead to this. For the most part it's pretty self explanatory.

The white highlights (scattered throughout the aqua blue areas) represent the pain/tears felt from the heartbreak that was brought about from the previously mentioned aspects.

And last but not least...the yellow. What does the yellow represent you ask? The yellow represents Hope & Optimism. If you notice, the yellow is kinda nestled under the black, which says that underneath all the heartbreak and frustration there's still that little bit of hope that real love is out there. Despite the fact that I get frustrated with the negative aspects I mentioned earlier (which I feel like has made it to where the dating scene isn't as fun anymore..especially with all of the playing games that goes on with people) and the fact that I sometimes lose faith in love, underneath all the heartbreak there's still some hope that true love still exists.

Now although this shoe was done as a 1-of-1 design (meaning I didn't plan on producing any more of them), I may consider making it a for sale item if people show any interest in purchasing a pair for themselves....the only thing is that if that's the case then I might make a newer version of it. In fact, the design may or may not be on the same shoe...either way the design may be altered somewhat as I would like to improve it if I end up doing it again.

I would really love to hear any feedback regarding the shoes or even if you've had a similar situation of your own you'd like to share. There will be a link to this on the Facebook page as well so you can share your comments/feedback there as well.

All comments welcome!!