Printed in 1980, Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II. 257) is a signed screen print by Andy Warhol in colours with diamond dust. The print depicts five high heel shoes in a line, rendered in various cold colours against a black backdrop. Attention is drawn towards the bright turquoise shoe that occupies the centre of the composition. The shoes are bookended by a rusty orange shoe and a royal blue shoe.
Diamond Dust Shoes (F. & S. II. 257) is part of the Diamond Dust Shoes series. In this series Warhol returns to a familiar subject matter, women’s shoes. Before becoming a famous Pop artist, Warhol worked in New York as a freelance commercial illustrator. In the 1950s he produced drawings for fashion magazines such as Glamour, Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar. Returning to this familiar subject matter demonstrates Warhol’s ingenuity and creativity. The prints in this series contrast with the blotted line illustrations from the 1950s. The shoes take on a distinctly 1980s feel. Set against dark and shadowy backgrounds, the shoes resonate with the glitzy celebrity culture that Warhol was fascinated with.
The print was made using the diamond dust method, developed by Rupert Jasen Smith. This technique involved incorporating diamond dust particles into the works to enrich the surfaces of the prints. The Diamond Dust Shoes series is the first body of work in which Warhol used the material in his screen printing process. The incorporation of these expensive materials carries connotations of glamour and luxury meaning Warhol transforms a simple consumer product, a shoe, into a symbol of elegance and extravagance.