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Kokomo Artist designs shoes for celebrities, full exhibit stops at Purdue

If you’re a shoe lover, this story is a perfect fit.

Posted: Oct 30, 2019 6:13 AM
Updated: Oct 30, 2019 8:06 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)—If you’re a shoe lover, this story is a perfect fit. There’s a new exhibit at Purdue University Galleries. The ‘sole’ purpose is for the love of shoes.

The artist behind it all is Chris Francis.

Francis grew up in Kokomo before attending the Maryland Institute College of Art. Francis eventually found his way to L.A., where he lives and works now. 

Francis is an artist and a shoe designer. So he combined those two skill sets to come up with his new exhibit titled, “To-the-Last: 21st Century Shoe Designs.”

A lot of the shoes in the exhibit are just for show, but some are actually functional fashion.

Along with shoe art, Francis has created many pairs of shoes for the runway and for celebrities to wear. Some big-names include Lady Gaga, the members of Kiss and The Sex Pistols.

Erika Kvam, Interim Director at Purdue Galleries, explained how Francis’ work speaks to a lot of the different art departments at Purdue University.

“There is a fine line between fashion and art and sometimes they merge quite nicely," she said. "And Chris’ work is incredible because it’s imaginative, it draws on several different types of art and art movements.”

Some of the shoes are meant to be displayed together. For example, three pairs of Francis' shoes make up an office setting. There’s a pair of shoes that each represents a chair, a desk and a carpet.

Kvam told News 18 Francis is mostly self-taught.

“Not only does he do small batch shoes, but he keeps it small, creative, sculptural, and does his designs and his production entirely out of his studio in L.A. ”

The exhibit is free and open to the public. It runs until November 15th in the Roof Gallery at Pao Hall.

The galleries hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

If you want to hear from the artist himself, Francis will be giving a talk and holding a reception at the gallery on Thursday, November 7th at 5:30 p.m.

“We were quite lucky that this exhibition and Chris Francis’ visit was fully funded by the Dr. Barbara Walker visiting artists program," Kvam said. "This is very rare for us, that we get a fully funded exhibition, so we’re very, very grateful to Dr. Barbara Walker.”

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