text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation


#BIKESHOEART From Our Friends

The #bikeshoeart movement has continued to grow, and we’ve seen more and more artists use the Giro Empire shoe collection as canvases for amazing artwork. But we were curious what an artist might do with a blank canvas. We created a limited quantity of solid white Empire VR90’s, and sent them to some of our most creative friends—artists, frame builders, and craftsmen—to see how they might transform them. There were no rules, no guidance. Just a chance to do something special with a special pair of shoes. Some did the artwork themselves, and others collaborated with yet another artist friend. Here are the results.

THE ARTIST | Alec: “I didn't do the shoes myself because the best thing I can draw is a stick figure and it still isn't pretty. So I knew right from the beginning I would need to find someone to help me out. After a quick chat with Chris Wells I knew we had our guy. He has been a friend of mine and White Industries for quite some time now. So having someone who knows the product and the people here just really made sense. Being that I'm not much of an artist I wanted him to do what felt right and we were very stoked with what he came up with.”

THE INSPIRATION | Chris: “White Industries anodized quality US made bike components.”

THE PROCESS | Chris: “It took a week of procrastination and about 5 hours split between two nights of painting to complete these shoes. I just went for it. I added a fabric medium to the acrylics to thin them out and maybe add a little durability. I've been doing a lot of these small watercolor drawings and thought some those ideas would transfer over to the shoes well.”

Follow Alec/White Industries on Instagram: @whiteind
See more of his work: www.whiteind.com
Follow Chris Wells on Instagram: @crizzlewells
THE ARTIST | Robert: “My dear friend, Blue Collar Team rider, and all around amazing person Stace Cooper of MISFIT METAL did all the artwork on the shoes for me. I chose her because she customizes EVERYTHING she owns and has always wanted to paint some Giro shoes. She fabs, stripes and paints great Hot Rod, bike & animal themed art so she was the natural choice for me. During the course of our 20+ year friendship she has created and customized trophies & raffle prizes for many local events and fundraisers for me as well as done custom pin striping on several BC frames.”

THE INSPIRATION | Robert: “Stace has a lot of influence from the Hot Rod art genre so that is where the flames and striping came in to play. We both share a great love for animals so we utilized the bike shoe art opportunity to highlight rescue dogs as well. I volunteer several hours a week at the local shelter with PB SOC (Pit Bull Socialization & Obedience Crew) and our Meet Your Maker Tour event here in Sacramento every summer is a fundraiser for them and another local pittie rescue. I try to promote the "Adopt Don't Shop" mantra as much as I can, not just for pitties but for all shelter animals. I see amazing dogs come through the system and I would love it if I could get more people to consider adopting a shelter animal versus buying one from a breeder.”

THE PROCESS | Robert: “Stace spent about 10 hours painting the shoes. She gave them a quick wipe with acetone to degloss them then applied One Shot sign paint by hand on the stripes, outlines and lettering. No real strict layout was done, Stace does most of her work freehand. Reduced One Shot was used to airbrush the flames. It was all finished off and sealed with rattle can clear coat.”

Follow Stace on Instagram: @misfitmetal
Follow Robert/Blue Collar Bikes Instagram: @bluecollarbikes916
THE ARTIST | Campbell: “Much of my work pays homage to the machine from which much inspiration manifests—the bicycle. Or the places that my bike takes me—California landscapes. Or the feeling my bike gives me—a sensation that when I am in motion I am at my best. Printmaking is the medium I am most passionate about, and like the bicycle, it offers me a repetitive expression that is very meditative; when my legs are spinning bicycle pedals or hands are rolling ink over a woodblock, my thoughts clarify and everything makes sense.”

THE INSPIRATION | Campbell: “One way I like to spend my sunrises and sunsets in Santa Cruz is by fishing for perch at the beach. I love casting out into the warm colored sky and being chased by the breaking surf, and observing the ecology along the Santa Cruz beaches—watching the herons and egrets, and occasionally getting to pull a perch out of the ocean and feel its slimy scales.”

THE PROCESS | Campbell: “I spent a couple of weeks staring at those blank white shoes. They were quite intimidating, staring me down from the corner of my desk while I mused over different themes. I really didn't want to do something bike related, rather something light-hearted and different. Then one day I went fishing and thought, that's it! Then I carved the fish stamp and printed them in one afternoon.

Printmaking is my main artistic passion, and so I really wanted to push myself to try printing on the shoes. Printing on a three-dimensional surface is always an exciting experiment! I carved the fish and heron stamps out of a rubbery linoleum that I knew would bend around the contours of the shoes, and I rolled ink over the stamp and pressed them to the shoe by hand. As much as I planned and sketched out my design ahead of time, when I sat down to print, I let it take on a life of its own. You have to let that happen with art sometimes.”

Follow Campbell on Instagram: @supersteers
See more of her work: www.hightopstudio.com
THE ARTIST | Chris: “I am an illustrator, designer and printmaker from Colorado, currently living and working in San Francisco. My watercolor and ink drawings take influence from urban culture and the natural world. Today, my client list ranges from fashion to the outdoor industry and includes the likes of Ibis, Blackburn Design, ESPN, Levi's, Unionmade. I enjoy drawing, music, full- suspension, and the occasional wizard staff party.”

THE INSPIRATION | Chris: “This camo is inspired by a pattern I developed for the dfL team in San Francisco. Every year for the past 21 years they have held an unsanctioned, outlaw race series, usually in cutty back lots or forgotten corners of parks. One classic spot is the western most edge of Golden Gate Park, where a healthy crop of poison oak grows covering cigarette butts, hypodermic needles and soiled prophylactics. You don't want to fall off your bike on this course.”

THE PROCESS: Chris: “It took 35 years of devoting myself to drawing in preparation for the 1 day to paint on the shoes... I set up an intensive testing process of my painting medium, looking for durability and adherence. After spending a couple hundred dollars on specialty pigments and binders I found that a sharpie worked the best for the job. I had drawn the pattern many times before hand, so I just went to town without much thought or layout.”

Follow Chris on Instagram: @the.scorps
See more of his work: www.chrismcnally.com
THE ARTIST | Jeff: “I am a painter/sculptor living and working in Oakland. I’ve made wood decks and fenders for several of Curtis’ show bikes - and was thrilled when he asked if I wanted to paint the shoes for Grinduro.”

THE INSPIRATION | Jeff: “I worked on the shoes, the same way I do on paper or wood and turned immediately to mediums, processes and aesthetics that I’m familiar with e.g., masking of areas to preserve layers, splatter/spraying of paint, drawing and Xerox transfers.”

THE PROCESS | Jeff: “It took about 9 hours to finish the artwork on the shoes. I had a general idea of what I wanted to paint, and didn’t do any specific layout before painting the Empires. However, I did buy a pair of white leather orthopedic shoes from Goodwill to practice on, and after 2-3 hours I was ready to start on the Empire’s. First, I masked the Giro logos, and other random drips/splatters on the shoes with Liquitex masking fluid. I would later remove the masking fluid revealing layers once hidden by paint. Next, I drew the structure on the right shoe with ball point pen and quickly realized it’s not easy to draw a structure in perspective on an object that is not flat. From here I just went back and forth - I’d work on the left shoe, while the right was drying and vice versa. I painted with Angelus acrylic leather shoe paint, ballpoint pen, lacquer thinner, and masking fluid to build layers. I mostly kept things loose, but had to plan for the areas with the Retrotec logo, Inglis logos and Max (Curtis’ dog). These were Xerox transferred to gel medium which allowed me to apply color behind the Inglis logo, and Max’s ears and nose.”

Follow Jeff on Instagram: @jeffhantman
See more of his work: www.jeffhantman.com
THE ARTIST | Garrett: “We to work with Vince Waring who happens sew and design bags for Strawfoot. He studied printmaking at UC Santa Cruz and is an incredibly talented artist with various mediums.”

THE INSPIRATION | Vince: “These shoes depict views from different environments. One is a view along a trail in Garrapata State Park in California. The other is a view from a trail in the Kachina Peaks Wilderness in the Coconino National Forest in Arizona. I wanted to honor the natural world that inspires and provides so much for us.”

THE PROCESS | Vince: “Both shoes took about 6 hours for completion. I used Deco oil based pens to draw directly on the surface of the shoe. I used two different photographs from the same trip a couple years ago to use as a reference for the imagery. On both shoes I worked from one side of the heel and continued around to meet the other side. Without using a layout, I wanted to see how far I could depict the view before reaching the other side of the shoe.”

Follow Vince on Instagram: @vinwaring
See more of his work: www.vinwaring.com
Follow Garrett/Strawfoot on Instagram: @strawfoot
See more of his work: www.strawfoothandmade.com
THE ARTIST | Cameron: “I did this myself, I'm not much of an artist but I like being creative.”

THE INSPIRATION | Cameron: “I started thinking about greasy, dirty hands, as someone who makes things for a living I leave my fingerprints on my work and around the house. The shoes are meant as a small push back against the often precious perception of frame building, bikes are wonderful, beautiful things but in the end making them is metal fab work, its dirty and somewhat toxic. I also wanted to work with materials I had, the shoes are done with Sharpie ink and denatured alcohol. I use these things every day in the shop. I was surprised how much the ink and alcohol ended up looking like water color which I liked. If they had been my size I would have ridden them a bunch first, I like things that get used.”

THE PROCESS | Cameron: “I spent a few hours on them, things went sideways a couple times but the mistakes ended up showing me the way I wanted to go. I did a couple tests on other items then went for it, no layout, just a lot of thumb prints and a couple of my decals as masking.”

Follow Cameron on Instagram: @coffeeandeggs
See more of his work: www.falconercycles.com
THE ARTIST | Stevil: “For three decades I’ve been working to complete a body of art that focuses on the underbelly of personal emotional dialog, primarily addressing questions regarding my own physical abilities (or lack thereof) and intellectual shortcomings. Coupled with an intense interest in the extremes to which people go to toward achieving satisfaction, be it physical, spiritual, emotional, or sexual. Like the Austrian and German Expressionists before me, I’ve attempted to open doors to a world that may be uncomfortable for some to step into. A glaring reality that uses humor to convey scenarios, which the viewer is attracted to, though generally left with a sense of shamed arousal.

That's the fancy pants art-speak version.

The short version is I make stuff because I think making stuff is pretty kick ass. Second to that, I don't really know any other way.”

THE INSPIRATION | Stevil: “In general, I tend to look at life through a fairly extreme set of goggles. Instead of ruminating about/contemplating on anything, I’ll instead look for an absolute end. Where there might be a more graceful approach to solving a problem, I’d rather burn it down. Nowhere has this been more pertinent than in the days since the election. Where I see nothing but frustration, and despair, my wife has repeatedly provided a proverbial lifeboat. As cliché as it might sound, my family (my wife, cat, and friends—as symbolized by the character in the jumpsuit) have offered me solace and solutions more times than I can count. It was this that was at the forefront of my brain when the blank set of shoes arrived at my door.”

THE PROCESS | Stevil: “The shoes took six hours to complete, minus one twenty-minute sandwich break. I bought a set of paint pens, and began drawing. All successes were completely unintentional. Likewise, all mistakes were totally planned.”

Follow Stevil on Instagram: @allhailtheblackmarket
See more of his work: www.allhailtheblackmarket.com / www.drunkingham.com
THE ARTIST | Paul: “I did the 'artwork' myself with a variety of sharpies. The project was not quite finished as some slogans were not on the shoes at the time I had to deliver the project. One slogan that missed the cutoff date was: ‘Reasons happen for a reason.’ Sorry that it was not on the shoes... I had some help with the slogans over the years but nobody helped with the actual writing on the shoes.”

THE INSPIRATION | Paul: “The overall theme is irony and the idea that a lot of common sayings are extremely stupid and useless, but they can take on a new life if they are in effect turned inside out.”

THE PROCESS | Paul: “I did a little bit on the shoes over the course of several days so it is hard to know how much time I spent. Most likely under an hour. The Sharpie was applied directly to the shoe. There was no preliminary drawing—I just winged it. I waited for inspired moments to write down the slogans, that way I felt that the work would be more of an expression than an exercise.”

Follow Paul/Rock Lobster on Instagram: @teamrocklobstercx
See more of his work: www.rocklobstercycles.com
THE ARTIST | Todd: “I did the artwork myself—me and my vinyl die cutter.”

THE INSPIRATION | Todd: “Not much of a theme or inspiration. Just dots. I seem to go through phases, and I guess the phase is dots.”

THE PROCESS | Todd: “Took longer to mask off the rubber soles than anything else. Getting the tape to stick was a challenge. Short of that, I just stuck on some masking circles and let the rattle-cans loose. Pretty easy, really. Shoes get pretty beat up in my life, so I didn’t want to get too hung up on making it perfect. They’re about 5 feet from your eyeballs anyway…”

Follow Todd/Black Cat Bicycles on Instagram: @blackcatbicycles
See more of his work: www.blackcatbicycles.com