Raúl de Nieves

Celestial, 2007

Mixed media on shoes
Dimensions variable
Private Collection

After coming of age in San Diego’s punk scene, de Nieves moved to San Francisco in 2002, where he entered the city’s queer, drag, and art scenes. Underneath the elaborate chrysalis of beads in Celestial hides two worn-out, high heel shoes—the same pair that the artist wore for years to drag events. When the shoes broke, de Nieves tried repairing them by adding beads and jewels. Repairing the shoes gave way to embellishing them until they were so encrusted with jewels that they could no longer be worn. Instead the heels bloom like flowers set upon a gravel path. As one of the artist’s earliest pieces, Celestial is acelebration of the self in process, growing and changing.

–Risa Puleo, Curator