By Chloë Sizelove, Gallery Monitor
Wearing grass shoes for the first time was quite an experience. Especially while wondering around my college campus.
The day started out normally. Get up at 6:20AM, routine morning rituals, and the long commute to school. I arrive on campus around 8:10AM and head towards the CAC (Creative Arts Center) from lot 4 (across campus). Having to wait on my boss to arrive to open the gallery door, the chair of the Art Department walks into the hallway to get onto the elevator. He asks, if I need to get into the office and I replied with, “yes, I have grass shoes to wear.” He unlocks the door for me and I rush over to my incubating shoes and begin to lace them up. I had put plastic wrap around my feet to keep myself from getting soggy (eventually it didn’t work out too great). Now that I was all laced and ready to go, I rush out of the office and head into the tunnel system for my first class.
Showing up a little before class started, I see one of my classmates (whom I’ve had classes with before) and we start talking. As we were blabbing about something that I can barely remember, a male student walks by and does a double take at my feet. He says, “wow! Nice shoes, those are really grassy.” I say back to him as he continues on his way, “thank you, it’s the new way of ‘Going Green'”. The class before us lets out and a few of us early birds head into the empty seats that were awaiting us. As I take my seat the professor in the class before us was so shocked by the greenery on my shoes. He comes up to me and says, “is that real?” This became a very common question that I have been asked throughout my morning. I then reply, “yes, I grew the grass on my shoes. You can touch them if you like.” He reaches cautiously and brushes his fingertips on my grassy shoes before rushing out the door and complimenting how amazing my shoes were.
Class still hasn’t begun and the first thing my classmates and I always do before class actually starts, is to log into our computers and onto our class site located through the Wright State server. Now, my Business Writing professor is also a professional Artist (a painter to be precise). He comes over to me, jaw to the floor, eyes wide, and by his expression absolutely astonished by my shoes. I explained to him that yes, it was real grass growing from my shoes and how I was able to do such a thing. I explained to him why I was parading around campus with grass on my feet. I then told him briefly about the artist, Gene Pool (yes, he legally changed his name and regrets it), who had the idea of grass clothing. He laughed out loud and then he too, touched my grass shoes.
Class finally began. The very first thing my professor asks the class was if anyone was growing grass on their shoes? My professor then points directly at me and announces to the class to check out how amazing my shoes were. I proceed to lift my legs up enough so my classmates could see my shoes. My classmates, were in awe. Of course, similar questions came about and once again I had to advertise my shoes and also the gallery. Hopefully people will come to the gallery!!! But, I doubt it… who knows. Throughout class, my professor and I would tie every activity in class with my shoes. As a class we each had to briefly write a memorandum from the three questions projected onto the board. My classmate who sits next to me finished quickly and submitted her work. Our professor then tells her to just sit back and enjoy her neighbors grass. I laughed at this and blurted out, “well, you know the other mans grass is always greener!” The three of us burst out laughing. That class was the best out of the other two. No one seemed to really care after that.
After class, I continued to take the tunnels to my next class and then again to my final class of the day. As I would pass people by in the tunnels, many of them either; smiled, gave a questioning look, walked slower behind me to whisper something to their friends about not being able to have the confidence to wear such things because it would attract attention. I thought to myself that this isn’t just an art/science project, it’s a great sociology experiment.
Like always, my final stop wasn’t just class… it was the gallery. I approached the front desk with one of my coworkers telling me how amazing my shoes were and how great it was that I walked around campus in my wet, soggy, green shoes. One of the photography professors was in the other section of the gallery and noticed my shoes. She was so thrilled by the outcome. She told me to walk around the gallery since some high school students will becoming in shortly. I said sure, and as I said that people started to flock into the gallery. The professor pointed to my feet and told everyone to take a look at some grass shoes. Yet again, I had some students not give a care and others were so amazed. Some of them took pictures of my shoes and I had one person asked if they could “mow my lawn.” I told that student I didn’t want her to because I didn’t want her to cut off one of my toes. Again, told them the process of creating them and then headed off into the office area to dry my wet feet.
Credit to Artist Gene Pool Harding. Through his mind, this experience wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you.