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Beauty for the Geek

14 Hand-Painted Geeky Shoe Designs

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Beauty for the Geek

While plenty of people have geeky tee shirts, nerdy shoes are far less common—but shoes are great because, unlike tees, you can wear them day in and day out if you so please. If you’re ready to put your best geek foot forward, here are a few great shoe designs to get you started.

1. The Doctor and The TARDIS

Can’t get enough of The Doctor and his beloved TARDIS? Then head to Etsy seller TooCrazyGirl’s shop and grab a pair of these great Doctor Who sneakers. You can choose between a bow tie and suspenders with the quote "Trust me, I'm the Doctor" or a neck tie and a pinstriped jacket with the phrase "Allons-y!"

2. Silence

Do you forget where you left your shoes the second you take them off? Well, forget about ever remembering where you put these Silence shoes by Etsy seller Scrapcrafter. After all, they’re designed just to make you forget.

3. Dalek

The Dalek “To Victory” poster has proven to be one of the most popular designs ever released by the BBC. If you don’t really dig posters and would rather share this design on your feet, head over to Etsy seller TheWhitelicorice and grab a pair of these sneakers.

4. Star Wars

Toms are great for the charitable nature of the company. If you love the idea of a person in need receiving a free pair of shoes for the pair you bought, then grab a pair of Etsy seller EastBayCalifornia’s awesomely detailed Star Wars shoes.

5. Yoda

When it comes to amazing custom shoe paintings, it’s hard to beat What’s Shop. As these amazing Yoda Converse prove, the artists at What’s Shop might just be some of the most amazing shoe painters in the world. Of course, that talent comes at a price: Their shoes sell for $150 and up. Fortunately, if you can’t afford a pair, you can always enjoy looking at their magnificent paintings on their Tumblr.

6. Angry Birds Avengers

If you’re wondering how high What’s Shop’s prices reach, look no further than these one-of-a-kind Angry Birds Avengers Converse. Since this is the only pair the company will ever make, they’ll set you back a cool $850.

7. Amazing Spider-Man

Of course, many of What’s Shop’s designs are one-off designs made for customer special orders. Some of the designs will never even appear in their shop, like these Amazing Spider-Man Converse that are, in fact, amazing.

8. Marvel Heroes

Etsy seller BBEE is also well known and extremely talented when it comes to custom shoe creations, which is why the shop is able to charge $250 for this pair of Marvel Vans.

9. Batman and Joker

If you can’t afford to have a professional make you a custom pair of shoes, you can always see if someone you know might be willing to do it for you. Redditor Zacch asked his mother to make him a pair of Batman shoes and the results were impressive enough to get him over 2600 upvotes.

10. Batman

Sometimes it’s hard to be a fashionable geek girl. While there are plenty of geek sneakers out there, it’s much harder to express yourself with shoes that will match your favorite dress. Fortunately, these sparkly Batman flats by Etsy seller strollingcanvases look great with all kinds of fashion ensembles.

11. Paper Mario

Of the entire Mario series, Paper Mario is perhaps the cutest, with the characters bearing such adorably juvenile faces. That’s why it was such a good decision on the part of Etsy seller blacknorns to choose that incarnation for these fantastic stiletto heels.

12. Bubble Bobble

These two adorable dinosaurs make a basic pair of blue flats into something infinitely more fun and fashionable. In fact, even if people aren’t familiar with the classic game, they’ll most likely still appreciate the cute characters painted on these shoes by Etsy seller MagicBeanBuyer.

13. Rebel Alliance

Sparkly, pink, and nerdy! Now that’s a super girly geek’s dream shoe, and can you blame them when these pink Rebel Alliance flats by Etsy seller aishavoya are so darn cute?

14. Darth Maul

Beauty For the Geek specializes in making custom, hand-painted geek heels. While all the designs in their photo gallery are impressive, their Darth Maul designs are particularly fantastic because they not only feature a special paint job, but the spikes in the back make them truly fit the inspiration.

Of course, if you don’t like any of these designs, but love the idea of having your own custom geek shoes, then you can always try making your own. Geek With Curves has a great article on how to organize a shoe decorating party, and even if you prefer to work solo, the piece has plenty of useful ideas and inspiration to get you started on your own special shoe designs.

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Watch an Artist Build a Secret Studio Beneath an Overpass
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Lebrel

Artists can be very particular about the spaces where they choose to do their work. Furniture designer Fernando Abellanas’s desk may not boast the quietest or most convenient location on Earth, but it definitely wins points for seclusion. According to Co.Design, the artist covertly constructed his studio beneath a bridge in Valencia, Spain.

To make his vision a reality, Abellanas had to build a metal and plywood apparatus and attach it to the top of an underpass. After climbing inside, he uses a crank to wheel the box to the top of the opposite wall. There, the contents of his studio, including his desk, chair, and wall art, are waiting for him.

The art nook was installed without permission from the city, so Abellanas admits that it’s only a matter of time before the authorities dismantle it or it's raided by someone else. While this space may not be permanent, he plans to build others like it around the city in secret. You can get a look at his construction process in the video below.

[h/t Co.Design]

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15 Facts About Franz Marc's Yellow Cow
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Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

To gaze upon German Expressionist Franz Marc's Yellow Cow is to take in a surreal and spirited painting, alive with color. But within its bold brush strokes and envelope-pushing aesthetic lies the unexpected story of a complicated love between two artists, and the path that led them together.

1. YELLOW COW IS WILDLY DIFFERENT FROM FRANZ MARC'S EARLY WORKS.

Philosophy student-turned-painter Franz Marc attended the Munich Academy of Art during the turn of the 20th century. There, he studied natural realism, striving to capture his subjects in portraits true to dimension, gesture, and color. In 1902, he created Portrait of the Artist's Mother, which immortalized homemaker and devout Calvinist Sophie Marc. Sitting in profile, she leans over a book, reading by the light of an unseen lantern. Though Marc would become known for his vibrant color choices, here he favored darker shades that gave the painting a flat appearance, and a somber mood.

2. YELLOW COW'S CREATION WAS INSPIRED BY GERMAN NUDISTS.

In the early 20th century, Germany was in the midst of a back-to-nature movement, which saw several new artist collectives and nudist colonies pop up around the country. This celebration of the glory of the land and its natural inhabitants spoke to Marc, who later explained, "People with their lack of piety, especially men, never touched my true feelings. But animals with their virginal sense of life awakened all that was good in me."

3. HE VIEWED ANIMALS AS GOD-LIKE CREATURES.

Like the naturalists, Marc came to value the rural wonders of the country. He abandoned the bustle and urban intellectualism of Munich, and sought the spirituality and peace he believed could be found in living simply, as animals do. He began to think of them as having a "god-like presence and power." In a 1908 letter, Marc attempted to detail how this belief was informing his work, writing, "I am trying to intensify my ability to sense the organic rhythm that beats in all things, to develop a pantheistic sympathy for the trembling flow of blood in nature, in trees, in animals, in air—I am trying to make a picture of it … with colors which make a mockery of the old kind of studio picture."

4. ANIMALS BECAME A SIGNATURE MOTIF FOR MARC.

This is an image of Dog Lying in the Snow by Franz Marc
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

By 1907, Marc was focusing his work on capturing the spiritualism found in animals. Other notable works in the vein include The Fox, Dog Lying In The Snow, The Little Blue Horses, The Red Bull, Little Monkey, Monkey Frieze, Wild Boars in the Water, and The Tiger.

5. YELLOW COW IS A VERY LARGE PAINTING.

Measuring 55 3/8 by 74 1/2 inches, it's nearly 5 by 6 feet wide.

6. MARC DEVELOPED HIS OWN COLOR SYMBOLISM.

This is an image of Self-portrait by August Macke.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Colors would recur in Marc's work and speak to different emotions or themes. In 1910, he explained his use of color in a letter to friend and colleague, artist August Macke. Marc wrote, "Blue is the male principle, astringent and spiritual. Yellow is the female principle, gentle, gay, and spiritual. Red is matter, brutal and heavy and always the color to be opposed and overcome by the other two."

7. YELLOW COW MIGHT BE AN UNCONVENTIONAL WEDDING PORTRAIT.

Exploring the painter's works and statements on his use of color, art historian Mark Rosenthal declared that the frolicking cow is actually a veiled depiction of Marc's second wife Maria Franck, while the distant blue mountains are meant to represent the painter himself. Painted the same year the couple were married, it times out to potentially be representative of their nuptials. The blending of the blue into the cow's spots suggests the joining of masculine and feminine.

8. FRANCK WAS A RECURRING MUSE FOR HER LOVER.

In 1906, before they were married, Marc had sketched a more traditional portrait of his wife-to-be, titled simply Mädchenkopf, which translates—rather unsentimentally—to "girl's head." That same year, he captured Franck in the abstract painting Two Women on the Hillside. Later, he created Maria Franck in a White Cap.

9. MARC AND FRANCK HAD A COMPLICATED ROMANCE.

An artist in her own right, Franck met Marc at a costume ball in Schwabing, Germany. The pair hit it off, and also befriended illustrator Marie Schnür, resulting in a shared Bavarian summer of creativity (and rumored three-way trysts). Schnür was the other woman who modeled for Two Women on the Hillside, as well as the other woman captured in a NSFW photo from their formative season in the sun. Marc ended up marrying both women, starting with Schnür.

Theirs was a marriage of convenience, meant to aid her in securing custody of her bastard baby boy, whom she had with another man. Details on this marriage are scant beyond that it was brief, lasting from 1907 to 1908. However, because Schnür accused Marc of infidelity, he was barred from remarrying until a special dispensation was granted, which took years. So while Marc and Franck had tried to wed in 1911, their official "I do" didn't come until June 3, 1913, in Munich.

10. TWO WOMEN ON THE HILLSIDE WAS A SIGN OF MARC'S TRANSITION TO HIS SIGNATURE STYLE.

This is an image of Two Women on the Hillside by Franz Marc.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Looking back on 1906's Two Women on the Hillside, it seems to foretell Yellow Cow. Depicting the two women who, in their own ways, would inspire Yellow Cow, Marc moved away from the German realist art he studied in college. Instead, looser brush strokes speak to Post-Impressionist interests, and the willful abstractness of its subjects predicts the evolving German expressionism movement of which he would become a part. It also shows repetition in the lines—of the woman's hip to the hill beyond—that would be revisited in Yellow Cow, whose haunches mirror the rise and fall of the mountains behind her.

11. YELLOW COW WAS A PART OF THE DER BLAUE REITER ART MOVEMENT.

Named for a Wassily Kandinsky painting, this movement boasted members like Kandinsky, Marc, Macke, Alexej von Jawlensky, Marianne von Werefkin, and Gabriele Münter. Der Blaue Reiter (translating to The Blue Rider) had no hard manifesto, but its members shared a common urge to express spiritualism through their work, and often specifically through color. Turned away from exhibitions, they toured with their own, and published an almanac that celebrated contemporary, primitive, and folk art, along with children's paintings.

12. DER BLAUE REITER WAS DEVASTATED BY WORLD WAR I.

The Blue Rider movement only lasted from 1911 to 1914, in large part because the tensions growing between nations chased Russian artists back to their homeland, while Germans, including Marc and Macke, were conscripted into military service. As these artistic colleagues scattered, their movement faded. But it proved fundamental to the evolving Expressionism, and its works would remain.

13. MARC DID NOT LIVE TO SEE HIS LEGACY SECURED.

Marc's animal paintings would go on to awe viewers for decades to come. They'd become coveted by collectors and museums. And a plaque would be placed on the Munich home where he was born, remembering him as a founder of Der Blaue Reiter. But Marc was killed on March 4, 1916, during the Battle of Verdun. He was 36 years old.

14. FRANCK SAW TO IT THAT HIS WORKS WOULD BE PRESERVED.

This is an image of art historian, Klaus Lankheit.
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Marc's widow gave records of his life and writing to German art historian Klaus Lankheit. She called on German writer/gallery owner Herwarth Walden to exhibit her late husband's works in a posthumous show in October of 1916. While continuing to create and exhibit her own work, she collected Marc's letters from the war's front, and in 1920 had them published in a two-volume book called Briefe, Aufzeichnungen und Aphorismen (translating to Letters, Records, and Aphorisms). According to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, where a copy of each is preserved, "The first volume contains letters written from September 1914 to March 1916 as well as records alongside color plates, and the second presents the artist’s sketchbook." Franck preserved Marc's legacy in whatever way she could, and in doing so, gave him to the world.

15. YELLOW COW IS REMEMBERED AS A JOYFUL MASTERPIECE.

While it might not sound complimentary to compare your wife to a cow, the consensus on Yellow Cow is that it signifies the happiness and bliss Marc's bond with Franck brought to his life. The bovine's bright colors are jubilant and yet the colors of her body jibe with those in her environment. She belongs here. Her pose is enthusiastic and bold—almost dance-like. If you look closely, you can even see a small smile play across her lips. It's an unusual love letter, but one that's outlived its lovers, and now hangs on the walls of the Guggenheim in New York City, to inspire many more.

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