Monday, 20 July 2015

The definition of Shoefiti - glossary of Graffiti

Ever see a shoe tree ?

No it’s not this. 

It’s this :


or this

Some people think Shoefiti, known as shoe tossing or Lancer de Chausseurs in French, is  a form of gang communication. See this wikipedia article on Shoe tossing. Holy moly, aren’t we paranoid.

Here is an article I love on shoetrees. Roadside America 

Anyone who loves Street Art, like myself, believes it’s all about the fun, and the exposure. Tossing athlete's foot spores to the wind is not  the exposure I’m talking about.  Street artists want exposure, they force it on you.  In urban environments tagging and Street Art is ubiquitous, so much so, we don’t see it anymore.  It’s nearly as invisible as copy. Like copywriting. 

Though Street Art is about exposure, I think Shoe Tossing is an intimate gest.  You have this pair of shoes you love, which have witnessed great and terrible moments in your life.  You can’t throw them away because they embody your experience like certain songs you play until your family tells you they’ll strangle you.  Those shoes you love so much, that you wore until you felt the tarmac on the ball of your foot.  You have to memorialize them some how.  No one will want them, not with your fungus and that hole the size of a peach stone.  Can’t give them to Goodwill. Can’t toss them in the trash.  It’s like throwing away a slice of your life.  You honor them and toss them over a wire, on a street near home or work, at night when nobody is watching.  At night because, no, those are not your shoes, they just look like a pair you owned.

I threw a pair of shoes off a ferry into the Mediterranean and over the Ponte Vecchio bridge.  No one knew, until now.  I remember one of those pairs.  I remember shopping for them.  One was black roach-killer ankle boots.  Sigh.  The other I can’t remember and now they’re probably in a shark’s belly.

It is believed that Shoe Tossing has folk origins, this article states it has to do with “ancient ceremony or rite in connection with the transfer of property".   

The techniques of Shoefiti often include shoes with laces and a strong arm.  It helps if you aren’t sloshed or if you can free climb.  Lazy souls can throw them off their balconies. Long laces help.  But shoefiti isn't relegated to lace-ups.  Shoetrees someties have themes.

Pump Shoetree from Roadside America

In Paris, Shoefiti is always visible around rue Mouffetard and in Butte aux Cailles.  There is even a Sponge Bob hanging on a wire on rue Monge, but he doesn' count, he's a heel

Where have you tossed your shoes?  Send me your photos and I’ll post them here.