Cockroach by Sean Paul Gallegos, 2013
Bronx-based artist Seal Paul Gallegos has been deconstructing and turning sneakers into art for 15 years since the day he found a bag of knockoff Jordans in a dumpster in Chinatown. Since then he has been creating masks, sculptures, bugs, guns, and various other imagery out of kicks.
In a recent interview with Bronx Art Guide, Gallegos said that he started the shoe designs as a response to what was going on with the sneakers at the time: "The shoes kind of came from this idea of how much people spend on those shoes. Or, the 'little warriors' who have to wear those shoes... whose parents think they need them instead of paying their ConEd bill. Or instead of sending their kids to college or having food in their fridge. They always have to have the freshest kicks on their block. And, I ended up later saying to someone, while I was standing in the gallery that 'these were my weapons of mass consumption,' and I was kind of blown away that that rolled out of my mouth, and it was something that I never really thought of at all." Fifteen years later and Gallegos' work is more impressive than ever as he continues to show in exhibitions around New York.