It is no secret that I am obsessed with shoes. To me, each shoe design is a work of high heeled art. I have collected my shoes for years and even though some are unwearable now due to wear and tear on my feet in a desire to feel sexy, I still hold on to them even if it’s just to admire their sex appeal.
I recently had the pleasure of becoming friends on Facebook with an amazing shoe designer, Mark Schwartz. I was simply amazed at his talent to create such sexy shoes that I couldn’t resist looking at his website. What I found was not only a great shoe designer but an incredibly talented artist that also paints high heeled art! I couldn’t wait to interview him for Dig This Design and share his thoughts with my friends.
What came first, painting high heeled art or designing shoes?
MS: Designing shoes came first and like a lot of artist of any medium I expanded my talent to the canvas.
I completely understand that because I am an interior designer but I have a tendency to love many of the arts which is the reason I created Dig This Design, a blog about ALL things design.
I love shoes and I think your designs are amazing! When I look at your shoe designs I see classic with a twist. Tell me what inspires your shoe designs.
MS: My design motto has always been classic with a twist. I have a ritual, I start with a blank piece of paper, a pencil, and an eraser. It is a simple as that, as soon as I begin to create a new design it flows.
I have had a love affair with high heeled shoes since I was 12 years old. My desire to be tall and sexy has created big problems for my feet and it breaks my heart. I can no longer wear high heels except for putting them on and walking into an event to be seen, then sitting down the rest of the night. What advice do you have for shoe lovers for the long haul?
MS: This is an issue for 90% of women who reach a certain point in life. I recommend kitten heels, they look sexy. It is really how you carry yourself that creates the sexiness.
Thanks for that valuable advice. I think it’s just psychological for me, I feel a high heel makes me feel complete. Can you give me your thought about high heels and women’s attachment to them?
MS: High heels are an extension of a woman’s personality. They change her mood, her walk, and the talk!
I can still get away with a high heel wedge or platform design comfortably but have the hardest time finding dressy ones. I don’t know why the designers can’t take the benefit of the less severe pitched design that the wedge brings to develop a hybrid type of sexy/wedge design. Can you give me your opinion about that?
MS: The high heel rules for designers because of the sexy edge it projects. Every designer gets lost in the high heel world it’s the canvas preferred!
Where do your inspirations come from to design a new line of shoes for a particular season?
MS: For me, it’s auto-pilot. Some designers need to find a mood. I prefer to create it on paper. I go inside my mind and create.
High Heeled Art
Your high heeled art paintings of ladies shoes really touch on the relationship that women have with shoes. Why does that matter to you enough to be the focus of your artwork?
MS: My paintings are a great extension of my artsy side. I love the playful and frivolous side that shoes play in society. It’s a natural to me to show a woman and a shoe painting, it’s a perfect balance.
What is your medium of choice?
MS: I use watercolor, India ink, and Arches paper.
I really dig the colors you use in your artwork against the white canvas background. It is exactly how I feel when I see a sexy pair of shoes, HAPPY! Tell me about your thought behind it.
MS: I have always liked the emptiness of the white background, it’s been my trademark forever. I like how it makes the subject matter “POP”!
There is a picture of a Martini glass with shoes submerged that I loved when I saw it in your portfolio. There is something about a Martini glass that is sexy. I like getting dressed up, going out and having one, it’s the whole experience so I totally get it. Talk to me about your Martini glass painting and the message you intended.
MS: The shoe in the Martini glass to is about a SEXY message of a time gone by. It represents the 1950’s and 60’s a time of elegance and playfulness.
I see an influence of Andy Warhol in some of your work, can you please elaborate on that?
MS: I was very fortunate to know Mr. Warhol the last four years of his life, he was a friend of Roger Vivier who I worked for early in my career. Andy had a great influence on me in such a short time. He pushed me to paint and the results are what you see in my work today.
Mark Schwartz is a true artist and a designer. It was a treat to get to interview him and share with my readers what inspires him. For a list of where to buy his gorgeous designer shoes click here and to purchase his amazing art click here.
Footwear Design School
Mark will be holding a footwear design school, January 2017 in Parabiago, Italy. It is a hands-on approach to learning shoe design. For more information on this 6-day course click here.