Arts & Entertainment

Through ‘Shoe Show,’ Tri-City artists aim to inspire

The Shoe Show is Oct. 22 at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland.
The Shoe Show is Oct. 22 at DrewBoy Creative gallery in Richland. Courtesy Cameron Mills

They worked on the shoes for months.

Day and night, whenever they got a chance, Cameron and Kathryn Mills painted pair after pair — on large wooden panels and on smaller surfaces.

Tennis shoes. Boots. Pumps. Thousands of them, in all different styles and colors.

The finished result is a beautifully striking collection of paintings.

It’s meaningful too — paying homage to a powerful protest in France last year, as well as the ability of art to enlighten and make a difference.

The work will be displayed in a special one night-only show Oct. 22 at the DrewBoy Creative gallery, which is at Confluent Space Tri-Cities, 285 Williams Blvd., Richland.

“The goal of the gallery is to display art with a message, art that inspires,” and The Shoe Show fits the bill perfectly, said DrewBoy founder Davin Diaz.

The show runs from 6 to 9 p.m. Castle Event Catering is providing bar service for the 21-and-older event. Green2Go Recreational is the sponsor.

Admission is a suggested donation of $2.

The exhibition includes five four-by-four-foot wooden panels covered in shoes — more than 10,000 altogether.

The Mills were inspired to create the shoe-themed pieces after the United Nations Climate Change Conference late last year in Paris.

Environmental activists had planned to demonstrate outside the summit, but French authorities cracked down after the terror attacks a couple of weeks before that killed and injured hundreds.

So instead, activists left shoes to stand in their place.

“People weren’t able to be there to stand up for what matters most to them,” so the shoes stood for them, Kathryn Mills said.

“We thought that was an awesome response to suppression of speech, freedom of speech. It made a really good statement,” Cameron said.

The exhibition includes five four-by-four-foot wooden panels covered in shoes — more than 10,000 altogether.

The Mills also created several smaller shoe-themed pieces.

Cameron and Kathryn Mills were inspired to create the shoe-themed pieces after the United Nations Climate Change Conference late last year in Paris.

The husband-and-wife team made the pieces in their home studio, sometimes working alone and other times side-by-side.

Their love of art, of creating, is clear.

Cameron, 31, has been painting for years. His work and artistic process were featured in the well-received documentary Faceless Fields of Colour, which was directed by Diaz and premiered last year.

For Diaz, Cameron’s work is inspiring — like reading John Steinbeck.

“When I read Steinbeck, I think, ‘That guy is saying exactly what I want to say, that I’ve never had the courage or the means to express,’ ” Diaz said.

We thought (the shoes) were an awesome response to suppression of speech, freedom of speech. It made a really good statement.

Cameron Mills

Kathryn, 30, also has an impressive portfolio.

Diaz highlighted one of her pieces in particular — an abstract that was displayed during last year’s The RED Show, which was the first-ever exhibition at DrewBoy gallery.

“I remember seeing (the piece) when we hung it up on the wall. I thought it was a beautiful image,” Diaz said. “Then a couple hours passed and I walked by the image, and I had to look at it again. There were probably 40 pieces of art in that space, and no matter how many times I walked into the gallery, I always had to look at Kathryn’s piece first. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.”

The Mills live in Richland. Along with creating visual art like the shoe series, they’re also musicians. They’re both part of the indie band PETS.

They’ve written some original music that’ll be played during the Oct. 22 event. Some live guest performances also are planned.

Cameron and Kathryn Mills are part of the indie band PETS. They’ve written some original music that’ll be played during the Oct. 22 event. Some live guest performances also are planned.

The Mills said they look forward to the show. For them, creating art is something special. It’s essential.

And through The Shoe Show, they hope to bring attention — to inspire the same way the shoe protest inspired them.

“Any artist, any individual — we want to make as much of a difference as we can with our time here,” Kathryn said. “This was our chance to stand up say, ‘This is an important issue.’”

For more information on the Mills’ art, email millsfineart@gmail.com.

Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @SaraTCHerald

IF YOU GO

What: The Shoe Show by artists Cameron and Kathryn Mills.

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 22.

Where: DrewBoy Gallery at Confluent Space Tri-Cities, 285 Williams Blvd., Richland.

Cost: Suggested donation of $2. The one night only event is for people 21 and older.

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