Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m almost always wearing boots. I have an extensive boot collection covering a wide array of styles from my grungy Doc Martens to my ’60s-inspired Beatle boots. There’s one pair of boots that has sat in my closet, unused, for 10 years. I’ve never had the heart to part with them. They’re not expensive or high quality (I bought them for $12 at Ross), but they’re more special than any other pair I own. They are my paint boots.
In my sophomore year of college, I joined the work-study program as the scenic charge artist for the theater department. Soon, my signature look became what I can only describe as “Jackson Pollock Chic,” as I was forever covered in paint. After destroying several articles of clothing in this process, I finally designated one set of shoes to be worn while painting. So I baptized my $12 Ross boots in the set paint of Trojan Women.
Any time I wore those boots out of the scene shop, I would inevitably be stopped by someone asking where I got them and did I paint them myself? The beauty of them was that I hadn’t intentionally done anything to them. They just saw the wear and tear of my life as a scenic artist. When I decided to leave the theater world, I put those shoes on a shelf with a bittersweet feeling that I’d probably never need them again. If I kept painting, it wouldn’t be huge backdrops or stage floors. But I couldn’t bear to part with them.
Enter the TOWN Art & Fashion issue.
This issue is full of beautiful crossovers of art and style, from artwork carefully curated for the aesthetic of Fork and Plough to scarves from Custard that could be hung on the wall (if they weren’t so stylish to wear). But our feature story is the one that brought my paint boots out of retirement. With beautiful gowns from Bloom Bridal and Fabulous Frocks brought to life by dancers from the Carolina Ballet Theatre, it was easy to get inspired and back into my groove of painting backdrops.
However, the task may have been my beloved paint boots’ swan song. As I worked, I noticed how they were starting to fall apart at the seams. These boots have followed me across four states, three different theaters, and countless shows. I’m glad I got to add one more project to their lifetime before I retire them back to the shelf . . . or who knows? Maybe I’ll just wear them out anyway. They’re pretty stylish.