Artist Tracey Neuls is known for her innovative spins on shoe design and artistry. Her newest piece in collaboration with Dan Miller is on exhibition at the Museum of Everything come 2nd September in Selfridges. Here, she tells us of her creative process and the root of her shoe fetish…
Explain your design process.
My creative process is very insular. I try to capture that child like imagination and innocence that you have when you are young and not influenced by the world around you. I think footwear should be original and not what fashion dictates. In a world of so many people, it is important to be individual. My starting point is often my finger tips. When it comes to sculpting a new shape, I use plasticine as I did when I was a kid. The smell of plasticine alone is enough to get the creative juices flowing. My hands are as important as my eyes.
What attracts you to shoes?
I think shoes were flowing through my blood from the start. I used to walk around in these cardboard shoes that I made for myself as a child. Toilet roll heels of course. I was quite prolific actually – sometimes robbing the good roll of its core so I could continue to make, make, make. The sculptural quality of footwear is still exciting. I also think their position as the foundation or pedestal for all other fashion is key.
What is the shape of shoe you like to work with most?
I describe my shoes as shadows. Since the beginning over 10 years ago, I started to cover the heel with leather all in one piece. Like a shadow, the line of the shoe is all about the perimeter and this is the shape I like to deal with – the upper and the heel in one.
Describe your style in 5 words.
The thinking woman’s luxury shoe.
Tell us how this collaboration with Dan Miller came about.
When James Brett from Museum of Everything approached me to do a shoe it was of course yes. I love what James has started and his Artists work is incredible – however Dan Miller’s work stood out to me. At first glance it was his child like repetitive marks which I always find so pleasing. Then it was the way the drawings dragged you into them to try and find a message or meaning. Good design is very much like this for me. There is a lot to discover in the details
How do your shoe designs work into the aesthetic of Miller’s work?
Millers work is very graphic. When split between a left and a right foot, the print becomes asymmetrical which I think is so underused in design. The juxtaposition of his wall hanging versus a moving horizontal piece of footwear is also fitting to our joint need to question the norm.
Interview by Eunice Jera Lee