Thursday, January 15, 2009

Shopaholics EXCLUSIVE ... The Art of High Heels with Mark Schwartz

Mark Schwartz might sound unfamiliar to most of us, especially in the fashion world. But for art collectors in the United States and some parts of the world, Mark Schwartz needs no further introduction.

This shoemaker and shoe illustrator has been making his mark in the a
rt scene as early as 1985, two years after making his debut as shoemaker for world's most adored shoemaking legend Roger Vivier.

Exclusive to Shopaholics Anonymous Malaysia, I managed to steal some of his time to talk to the blog about his passion in shoe illutsration, design and what
it is like to work with a shoemaking celebrity of our time.

What inspires you to become a shoe designer?
I have always loved th
e look and feel of shoes since I was a young boy. For me it is an internal instinct an internal passion for shoes themselves.

Why do you decided to focus on shoe illustrations rather than designing the real thing?
I still design shoes for select clients in Italy and the USA, I do the shoe paintings because I have always seen the Shoe as art form, and it is such a natural step for me to go from designing shoes to painting them as well.

How long have you been involved in shoe illustrating?
I have been doing my shoe painting since 1985.

How many illustrations can be done in a month and what kind of medium do you use to conceive the drawings?
I can do 5 or 6 or more shoe paintings every month, I also do commissioned pieces for clients who want a special look or colour scheme, I use a lot of watercolours, India inks and some oil as well.

What are the significances of high heels to you that you’ve decided to use them as the subject matter in your artworks?
A lot of the high heels in my paintings are shoes I have designed in the past for clients etc.

Of all kinds of high heeled shoes, such as stilettos, espadrilles and d’orsays, which one do you consider as your favourite subject matter and why?
I love the stiletto, it is plain and simple and it works so well in almost any painting!

Apart from obsessive shoe fans, were there any shoe designers who approached you and sought for your illustration service?
I have not had any shoe designers approach me as of yet, but you never know, I get a lot of my sales from just shoe fans and collectors of fashion art and just shoe lovers! Men and Women!

Lately, what is the most challenging request that you had received from your clients?
As far as challenging requests, I had a client in Los Angeles that has an art deco home and she asked me to do a wall sized piece to match the colours of the interior and then she had changed her mind and we had to change some of the colours and positions of the shoes in the painting! All in a days work!

In your blog, you did mention about working with Roger Vivier. Have you ever meet him in flesh?
I was picked by Roger Vivier back in 1983 and I worked with him side by side for almost 5 years, he is a huge influence on me and he always treated me with respect and kindness.

What about meeting Andy Warhol in person? Was he as eccentric as his works?
Warhol was actually quite shy, but he liked what I was doing and he encouraged me to go forward, it took me years to
get everything he was saying to me, my only regret was that he passed on so soon.

Last but not least, are there any possibilities that you might return to shoemaking world and create a line of shoes that will definitely give Manolos and Choos run off their money?
I still design as I said before and you never know what the future will hold. I love designing and for now I am very happy to do it for other people.

*Photos courtesy of
Mark Schwartz.

Mark Schwartz artworks (featured here) and merchandises can be purchased directly from his website (http://www.highheeledart.blogspot.com/) and price starts from $175.00 onwards.

3 fashionistas wrote ...:

ReaganRay said...

OOOOOOOMG! love the interview darl..

Nuha said...

amazing, the illustrations by mark schwartz are just fantastic.

fashion has always been this whole other fantasy world where we who embrace the beauty of clothes, shoes, bags, belts, etc etc can escape to. just like how the genius of shoemakers ranging from Manolo to Jimmy to this artist who I never had heard of, they've shown us that fashion permits for the unthinkable, the imaginable, like the 2nd and the 3rd pictures you posted from mark schwartz.

it's a fantasy, it's a dream. and this is why I've always been in love with fashion.

luck for the future, shaiful. for the love of fashion.

Nuha

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