Printed in 1980, Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II. 253) is a signed screen print by Andy Warhol in colours with diamond dust. The print depicts four shoes arranged haphazardly, as if they had been dropped carelessly onto the floor. The shoes are rendered against a black backdrop in a variety of warm colours with orange, red and coral dominating the composition. The bright colours contrast with the dark, plain background, drawing attention towards the random arrangement of shoes.
Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II. 253) is part of the Diamond Dust Shoes series. In this series Warhol returns to a familiar subject- women’s shoes. Warhol started his artistic career as a freelance commercial illustrator and was well known for his illustrations of shoes that were featured in fashion magazines such as Glamour, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. This series was produced late in Warhol’s career at a time in which he was revisiting and reimagining old subject matter such as the Campbell’s Soup Cans and Electric Chairs.
While Warhol returns to familiar territory, this series demonstrates Warhol’s critical re-examination of his past work. Indeed, Warhol updates his depiction of women’s shoes, transforming his illustrations that favoured the blotted line technique, using a new method- the incorporation of diamond dust. This method, borrowed from Rupert Jasen Smith who Warhol named as a ‘master printmaker’, involved using diamond dust particles to enrich the surface of the prints. This was a novel approach to printmaking for Warhol and the Diamond Dust series is the first body of work in which Warhol used this kind of material in his screen printing process. The use of such a luxurious material carries with it connotations of glamour and excess, transforming the everyday commodity into a high-value symbol of celebrity and extravagance.