Footnotes to the work of the artist: A Spanish designer's collection of shoes shows the overspill of painters' lives, says Tamsin Blanchard

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The footwear on this page is among a collection of 160 artists' shoes put together by Guillermo Ferrer, the designer for Camper, a shoe firm in Majorca. Most are as paint-spattered as an artist's canvas and worn down until they are as comfortable as slippers. The collection has been on show at the Miro Foundation in Majorca, and may tour Europe.

Mr Ferrer was inspired by a 1989 magazine article about David Hockney, with a photograph of the artist in his studio wearing paint-covered shoes. Three years later, he came across a pair of Joan Miro's shoes - and the collection began.

Some of the shoes in the collection belonged to little-known artists happy to hand over their old shoes. One of the more famous artists approached would not donate his shoes because, he said, he did not want to lose the luck they brought him. Andy Warhol's shoes were already earmarked for the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Camper has been a household name in Spain for years, but its full range is now on sale in Britain for the first time. Some are already at Paul Smith, Woodhouse, Natural Shoe Store and outlets around the country, but the firm will open its own shop in London soon.

Camper was founded by the third generation of a family of shoemakers. The first of the Fluxa family, Antonio, came to England in 1877 to learn our mechanised methods of production. His son, Lorenzo (born in a shoe factory), continued the tradition and passed it on to his son, Lorenzo Junior, who founded Camper in 1975.

Fashions may have changed but the philosophy behind the shoes has not. Camper's classic shoe is the eco-friendly Camaleon, based on a shoe that Junior's grandfather would have worn and made for his fellow-countrymen out of old tyres and off-cuts of leather and canvas. The range also includes Cartujano, a collection of classic shoes and boots; a selection of espadrilles; and Twins, so-called because they are not identical but mismatched pairs.

All look as if they have been fashioned by craftsmen with earth on their hands. That is why the artists' shoes appealed to Mr Ferrer. They look as hard-working as their owners.

Camper stockists and enquiries: 071-354 2778.

(Photographs omitted)

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