My Early Pop Art ~ Painting my “Chucks”!

I was looking for something to paint 35 years ago.  I was right out of college, not inspired by much around me, and decided it would be good practice to paint my old “Chucks”.  Of course, my mom saved the painting.  When she passed away, my brother Tom decided he wanted it.  We just returned from a visit to my brother’s home, where Jen and I got a kick out of seeing it on one of his walls!  

High Tops painting by William R. Beebe (the very early years!) :-)

High Tops painting by William R. Beebe (the very early years!) :-)

They were my old, high school JV basketball shoes, Converse All-Stars.  They bring back memories of an 0-16 basketball team, of major league blisters from running lines in practice, and feeling like I could run faster and jump higher (even though that was the PF Flyers slogan)!  ☺

They were the cool basketball shoes for many years, long before Nike.  The All-Star basketball shoe was first produced in 1917 and grew fast in popularity.  In the 1970’s, it was “the” sneaker for sports. In 2001 Converse went bankrupt and Nike bought the company.  Now, in 2014, they have become the popular-culture sneaker of choice.  

You can now buy them in many colors and custom prints.  Musicians, celebrities, rappers, etc… all helped to make them cool again.

The painting is simple, with unremarkable brushwork, but I think it captures the worn out sneakers.   Actually, the sneaker material is canvas, so the thinness of the paint lets the painting’s canvas show through and adds some texture to the sneakers.  I remember the struggle I had in the early years to create lettering, curves, and other detail with oil paint.  

It was all about practice and trial and error; learning how to thin out the paint with turpentine so that the paint would flow more easily.  Then going back over it again with another coat if need be.  I was teaching myself traditional methods of oil painting, which weren’t being taught in college art classes in the 1970’s.  

 I hope you enjoy seeing and reading about my old Chucks and my painting of them.  Please remember it was from my early years!  ☺


One of the joys of being an artist is having the freedom to follow my passion...
— William R. Beebe
What's next? Drawing by William R. Beebe

What's next?

Drawing by William R. Beebe