Where My Vans Go

WMVG #111

WMVG #81



Isaac Wright transforms pain and struggle into spellbinding and soul-startling beauty. First Day Out was released a year after his release from jail and features a lone man sitting atop a bridge gazing out over the water, past the streets suffused in amber light, and to the towering, glittering cityscape. The man is dressed in black and the city around him is steel blue, the water gleams around him as he sits upon his concrete throne and takes in the splendor of the sparkling city, gripping the rail with one hand, the other clutching his chest. His body language suggests that he is moved by the scenery, frozen in awe and respect at the bedazzling towers that beckon with their bright lights, urging him out of the deep shadow. But there is a vast span of water that separates him from this luminescent place. He is like Odysseus who must journey a long way, through foam and stone to arrive at the city that eludes him. 

This sense of journeying is reflected in his other pieces, Where My Vans Go 111 and 81. Both of these document his shoes from a dizzying height. In 111, he climbs to the top of a great tower and overlooks the roofs of skyscrapers. Though he has made it to the topmost tip of the world, the ocean dominates the piece and continues to loom before him, signifying that there is still more to climb, more to overcome, more terrain for his bright colored Vans to travel and dominate. In 81, he is perched on the top of a clock tower and surrounded by a bright, buzzing city. His outstretched legs and blue shoes make it appear as if he is standing in midair. Again, the subject is enshrouded in blue and steely colors and the city is bright and beckoning, the clock burns with varicolored bulbs, peoples and cars look like pinpoint afterthoughts from where he sits and watches, having risen above it all in a place where time stands still as he stands on time.