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May 12, 2013

Art Exhibition Confronts Fashion For High Heels

by Val Reynolds

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 18.11.12A humorous exhibition of kitsch ‘unwearable shoes’ by award-winning artist Anne Tilby entitled ‘Tortured Soles’ will open to the public on Wednesday 15th May in the heart of London’s Soho, and aims to subtly confront women’s fashion choices in wearing high-heels, given the potential health issues this can cause to their feet in the future.

The free pop-up exhibition will run for three weeks at 23A Frith Street, Soho, London W1 until 7th June 2013, and then goes on tour around the UK.  The exhibition features over thirty kitsch handmade women’s ‘unwearable shoes’ and ‘shoe art’ created by Tilby, together with lush prints, an animated slide show of associated and philosophical issues, and fun workshops.

While the shoes are stunning works of art in their own right, the exhibition aims to confront the real health damage high-heels can cause to women’s feet in the long-term, and is designed to inspire women to reflect on their fashion choices.  In the US and UK over 80% of foot surgery is performed on women, often as a result of their long-term choice of footwear and Tilby hopes the exhibition will provoke discussion and debate around the issue.

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 18.12.12The ‘Tortured Soles unwearable shoes’ range from the sublime to the surreal and have been created in a wide variety of unexpected materials such as nails, seashells, twigs, metal, paper, peanuts and even one from cow dung entitled Shit Shu!

There are shoes with legs, shoes wearing rollerskates and even a shoe ‘couple’ kissing!  Tilby has a particular talent for creating kitsch recycled chandeliers, so there is even a ‘shoe chandelier’!

Some of the design is so appealing, it is highly likely Tilby will be inundated for commissions for real shoes like those she has created and for other commissions for her art and design. In fact Tilby is currently designing a ‘fried egg flipflop’, which she hopes will be ready for the launch next week.

Tilby has a long history of creating stunning modern art and pushing boundaries with humour.

This is the second time she has used bodyparts as inspiration for her work, having previously created the cheeky ‘Twin Cheeks’, a surreal range of painted ‘bottoms’ which were depicted variously as plum puddings, landscapes, and Minnie Mouse, for example.  These too can be seen on her website under her portfolio.

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 18.11.46Celebrity Julian Clary, who has been a client of Tilby for many years, and for whom she produced a giant motorized glitter shoe for one of his shows, says of her:

“You have to learn to go with the flow with Tilby.  Her imagination can suddenly take a turn for the surreal, and if you can’t hitch a ride at a moment’s notice, you might miss out!

Other well known clients have included the Royal Opera House, Spitting Image, Father Ted and Ken Russell, plus significant private and corporate commissions and Tilby has worked nationally and internationally.

Tilby also runs Trash Factory which offers workshops for adults and children to turn everyday recycled materials into stunning and useable pieces of art, furniture and fashion – such as hand decorated chairs, recycled chandeliers, waste-paper baskets made from waste paper (!), hats, edible fashion and jewellery. Customised workshops can be arranged.

For further information on Anne Tilby’s art, the Tortured Soles exhibition or Trash Factory please visit Tilby’s website at

Tortured Soles will also be on tour around the UK at the following locations throughout 2013:

Hatfield Galleria Shopping Centre

Birmingham Theatre

Lythe in Scotland

BookArt Bookshop in Hoxton London N1

Bad Behavour, Brixton

Other locations and dates for 2013/2014 will follow and full details for all exhibitions will be posted on Tilby’s website.

This article has been reproduced from Stylezza,

Would you like publicity for your work? Get in touch to talk about your ideas.

Val Reynolds, Editor

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