© 2019 by Natalie Wong

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'100 PAPER SNEAKERS' CONCEPT

The sneaker represents one of the most complex contemporary clothing items known today. Shoes function as metonyms for individuality and as markers of identity both by choice and unconscious coercion. They are a rich source of information of a person’s age and gender, occupation, economic and social status, religious and idealogical position, as well as a host of personal characteristics.

Today, people buy the meaning of an object rather than the object itself. What we choose to wear is a non-verbal communication to society about how we want to be perceived by the people around us.

Sneaker culture has made the sneaker into an art form. Sneaker fans buy sneakers but do not wear them. Instead they collect them and display them at home - just like art collectors. The rich cultural history, mutli - layered meanings and worldwide popularity of the sneaker inspired the artist to make the sneaker into a literal work of art.

The artwork consists of 100 individual sneaker sculptures made from thickly textured paper and card. Each sculpture is a re-interpretation of Nike's Air Jordan 1, the sneaker that many believe launched sneaker culture in the mid 1980s.

Each sculpture is made from 23 individual parts. A technical feature specifically designed to pay homage to the number Jordan wore during his time with the Chicago Bulls.

Within the 100 sculptures, there are five sub-sets of individual collections consisting of 44 sculptures in total. For example, there is a set sculptures which are all one colour. There is another set which have a coloured logo, swoosh and base only.

The reason for making 100 sculptures is to reflect a 'collection of sneakers' - similar to what sneaker collectors would do. On a conceptual pop art level, influenced by Andy Warhol's Campbell Soup Can series, Wong also uses repetition as an applied technique. Warhol has his 32 soup cans. Wong has her 100 paper sneakers. Within the 100 sculptures, the majority of the sculptures follow colourways actually released by the Jordan brand. There are a select number of colourways chosen by the artist. Additionally, colourways released only for women are included within the 100.

The artwork should be displayed with all 100 individual sneaker sculptures together. 20 sneakers displayed on one row, with 5 steps in total. The size of the artwork measures approx. 210 x 80 x 43cm when fully displayed.