2018 Lil Feet Boot Auction & Luau
“One More Light” Boot Project
Lil Feet of SLC Charity Event, 2018
Boot donated SLC Firefighters
While I was volunteering for Art Mundo I heard about the SLC Lil Feet event, but it wasn’t something widely advertised, talked about or even shared with other artists at the time. I felt as if the event was exclusive to a small niche group of artists in our city, so I never inquired about it even though the cause and the challenge were of interest to me.
That was probably about two or three years ago, and it hadn’t crossed my mind since.
Then one day I got an email from a woman named Sue Dannahower, inviting me to participate in Lil Feet. My very first thought… “I made it”! I was finally a part of the artist community enough to be invited to participate in some obscure, exclusive event – well, mind you that’s in my mind and of my opinion.
A little bit about Lil Feet, from their Facebook:
The Lil Feet MISSION is to provide new shoes to children in need so that they can run, play, and learn in comfort and with dignity; allowing them to focus on performing, rather than their circumstances.
They do this through fundraising. Donating de-commissioned firefighting equipment that is transformed into art by local artists then auctioned off at a gala-dinner.
I’m all about supporting great causes in my community with my own two hands, so I couldn’t turn down the challenge. But then to my surprise I found a very personal reason why I ought to be part of this particular event.
In the communications back and forth, it was revealed to me that someone whom deeply affected my life was also involved, somewhat indirectly, with this event. 15-years ago a very close friend and I split paths because of one irreconcilable difference: I was gay, and he was not. Despite proof of friendship over years in everything we shared common views, goals, and hopes for, the bond we had achieved was unrequitedly broken, and I have never been the same since.
Realizing that he may be a part of this scared me, maybe even pushed me to reconsider, but ultimately emboldened my spirit. 15-years-ago to today I am still a human being of immeasurable and ever-enduring love; something I am destined to prove through sheer existence.
Initially, I had a concept of attempting stained glass inlays in the side of the boot with a sunset Hawaiian design to follow this years Flip-flops and Luau theme, but once I learned about who else may be present, my psyche immediately took a downward turn and thus the piece became flooded with meaning to me.
I drew inspiration from one of my favorite bands, Linkin Park, which I discovered 15-years-ago following the death of that friendship. Sadly, Linkin Park also experienced a death last year in 2017, when lead singer, song-writer Chester Bennington committed suicide following the suicide of his dear friend, Chris Cornell. I had not listened to their latest album, One More Light, maybe as a way of not accepting that someone that gave me hope had completely lost his own. I finally listened to the album and the song, and it ignited a visual within me, just as it did tears outside of me.
I saw a hand reaching out from the universe, coveting a small, seemingly insignificant flame. Amongst all the stars and the grandeur of space, that one flame – so fragile, so precious, so meaningful – was important to someone. It didn’t have to be a person, I thought, it could be a relationship, an idea, or even hope as it seems to always be flickering in the wind.
I stretched myself to make something outside of my comfort zone while still trying to let it exist within the artistic style that is Nolli. I maybe didn’t accomplish it in the way that I had hoped, and I maybe didn’t keep it within the artistic style of my own brand, but that’s where art and reality separate. A brand is expected to have uniformity amongst its designs. There are expectations created and brands perform based on them. As an artist, I am developing a brand, but even my art sometimes dictates freedom from what I’m building. To cage it up would be to imprison the most unique extensions of myself, so I let it evolve on its own. I let each inspiring detail come about and play a role – this piece was no exception.
Riddled with meaning, I think is how I could best describe it. The exterior of the boot took inspiration from the Universal Orlando’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s Wiseacre’s Wizarding Equipment shoppe. Whew, that’s a mouthful. I loved the texture of the building, the use of a dull navy with a subdued gold, and the playful celestial designs found uniquely patterned on the walls, inside and out of the shoppe. Although I loved the muted color palette, I decided to go with a saturated color palette for the boots exterior. This is meant to increase attraction to the boot, but also to speak on the nature of childhood and one’s inner child. The discovery of new things, the freshness of the world, and superficial lens we view the world through before our first heartbreak.
Then comes a split, and the need for a quote to inspire hope.
“The wound is the place where the light enters you.” – Rumi
The split shows us the depth of love and hate that can exist within us, around us, and how we are both separate and yet apart of it simply by having existed.
Consciousness is like a cloud. Thoughts appear and disappear as strangers passing us in a thick fog. So soon and unexpected they enter, so soon and unexpected they leave. We are left with shadows of them, memories.
There are so many of us that exist, taken for granted and feeling lost, separated from love because of whatever history has made of us. We seek love, understanding, belonging, shelter. Some find that, some don’t. Not all of us are fortunate enough to know love from another human being, but even they that aren’t sometimes take solace in the fact that a greater creator shaped us to serve some purpose. Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
Whatever circumstances we find ourselves in, however dark our surroundings – there is always hope to be found, and in-time, someone to connect to.