Exhibition

From Concept to Creation: Inspired Shoe Design by Chris Francis
Jan. 23 – April 23, 2023

“From Concept to Creation: Inspired Shoe Design by Chris Francis” showcases the colorful and imaginative footwear created by the Los Angeles-based shoe designer. The exhibition runs Jan. 23 through April 23 at the UC Davis Design Museum.

Shoemaker and designer Francis combines global shoemaking traditions and techniques with references to high fashion, 20th-century art movements, and punk rock. His hand-constructed, one-of-a-kind shoes are equal parts contemporary art object, wearable shoe, and narrative device.

A self-taught shoe designer, Francis began creating wearable art in 2011 after seeing a guest shoemaker hand stitch shoes at a Louis Vuitton event in Los Angeles. Without a proper leather sewing machine he did all the work by hand. In the beginning he did not have proper shoe lasts, so he carved them himself in a park and picked up shoe making tools from other shoemakers in the Hollywood area. He cites architects Walter Gropius,  Mies van der Rohe, Terry de Havilland, and artist Josef Albers as the inspiration for his creations. 

Francis began his career as an artist and carpenter, who eventually started creating leather wear worn by Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, and former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford.  

For insight into Francis’ creative process and work, view this short KQED film.

The exhibition has been co-curated by Professor Susan Taber Avila and graduate student Christina Gomez. 

The Design Museum, part of the College of Letters and Science and free to the public, is in Cruess Hall, Room 124. It is open weekdays from noon to 4 p.m.

For more information about this exhibition, visit arts.ucdavis.edu/design.

Click Visit the Design Museum for map and parking information.

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