Paul LaMantia

Shoe Shine, 1971

American, 1938

Shoe Shine represents a city environment with a bizarre cast of characters. LaMantia says his characters represent real people in our world—some of whom are nice and some of whom are not, but all are hidden so you don’t know them. Some creatures have claws or spikes while others display unsavory habits such as an unshaven tongue or a dripping faucet for a nose. Prominent in the piece is the highly amusing figure of a shoe wearing shoes.

Utilizing tools he found in the industrial shop where he worked at the time, LaMantia selected a carpenter’s pencil to create the powerful lines and large shapes of thickly applied graphite. He chose a piece of discarded wood, previously used for testing drill bits, to develop the areas of frottage (rubbing).

Gift of the the artist, 2011