“why doesn’t everybody paint their own shoes?”

The bold and many-faceted Howard Rheingold, who we blogged about yesterday, once did a little internet art piece that asked: “Why doesn’t everybody paint their own shoes?” Yeah, why doesn’t everybody? we wondered. Shoes are basically a blank palette; it would be easy enough to do. Then you could look down and see…

Rheingold has been painting his shoes since 1994:

” I wasn’t quite sure why I was doing it. Over the years that have passed since then, it has become clear that I was preparing my travelling shoes. I’ve been around the world in them a dozen times.”

We love that he did it not knowing why, and gradually the answer was revealed. There’s a man who listens to himself and the signs around him…

Rheingold published a great How To of his technique which he learned from Jessica “the mother-goddess of the paint your shoe anarchult”. He gives the thinking behind shoe-painting, which is helpful when improvising, and also gives suggestions for How To Paint If You Can’t Draw, which we appreciate. For inspiration, check out his Gallery of Painted Shoes and his Flickr series of his painted shoes in venues all over the world…


Johnny Shoepainter via Flickr*


Johnny Shoepainter via Flickr*


Johnny Shoepainter via Flickr*


Johnny Shoepainter via Flickr*

Johnny Shoepainter via Flickr*

Johnny Shoepainter via Flickr*

We need shoes like that to navigate Rheingold’s life on the internet, the many ideas and projects he’s fostered. We wondered how an amazing guy like him got started, how he found a calling that hadn’t been invented before. So we emailed him and got on the trail of the story which we will save it for another post. Stay tuned!

Photos by Johnny Shoepainter (guess who?)  via Flickr and Creative Commons License

Related post: Howard Rheingold: On Becoming (“Life…Forks Every day, In Every Moment)

3 Responses to “why doesn’t everybody paint their own shoes?”

  1. Jane 02.02.2012 at 8:52am #

    “Why doesn’t everybody paint his or her own shoes?”

  2. Sally 02.02.2012 at 8:58am #

    Why not INDEED?!!!!!

  3. Jamie 11.30.2017 at 11:17pm #

    I would say because when a design is painted on instead of printed on, the paint will eventually crease and crack

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