May 5, 2019 § Leave a comment
March 2, 2019 § Leave a comment
When most people think of Andy Warhol they think of his Campbell Soup cans or his Marilyn Monroe portrait, but when I think of Andy Warhol I think of his shoe illustrations and that he was the chief illustrator for I. Miller shoes when my grandfather was General Manager in the 1950’s. I like to think they may have worked together, but lately I look at this shoe ad of one of my grandfather’s designs and I have to wonder did he illustrate this? The photos below were taken at The Whitney Museum of Art and The Warhol exhibit ends at the end of March. I was struck by how prolific he was as an artist and how at the time he was creating his pop art many didn’t think it was art and I assume there are some now that still don’t, but regardless of what you think about his art he captured the 20th century creating a better time capsule for future generations than I could ever have imagined through his portraits, illustrations and films.
August 12, 2018 § 1 Comment
There’s a video circulating on facebook on how Freed pointe shoes are made that my former dancer sister shared with me recently. She reminded me that our grandfather always wanted to inspect her point shoes, especially when she switched from Capezio to Freed. She said he was fascinated by the workmanship. Watch the short video above and you’ll see why!
Pain, satin and paper towels: What it takes for ballerinas to dance on their toes Washington Post May 26, 2017
April 14, 2018 § Leave a comment
March 9, 2018 § Leave a comment
A couple years before I got out, before we moved into New York City. We talked it over, Ben Schwartz & I, about starting a factory out of town instead of NY. See? It was getting impossible to lead the business there because of the unions and their demands. Prices kept on going up higher, and new machinery was coming into place. So people out of town who made cheap shoes could make better shoes than what they were making with the new equipment. So we went. We went to Lynn, and Boston and St. Louis, Cincinnati. We went all around. When I came back we sat down and talked it over. I says Ben, after seeing all the towns, I think Lynn is the best place of the lot. A lot of the shoe factories have went out of business there. Not good shoemakers like we’ve got in New York, but they could be trained–taught to make better shoes. After I got out, Ben Schwartz did finally go to Lynn. – Ben Benjamin
All photos courtesy of The Library of Congress
February 1, 2018 § Leave a comment
Ben Benjamin: “Cause while he met me he didn’t know anything about me, so uh he went and spoke to his old boss about me, and a few other people. His old boss says to him, he says if you two can get along, he says you can be the biggest men in this town in the shoe business. He says you (Ben Schwartz) in the selling end of it and Ben running the factory. He’s a good factory man, designer – but you’ve got to learn to live with one another, and we got a long fine – When I first told him I wanted to get out, he says no, he wouldn’t let me. Now in all those years, we never had a fight. We never had an argument.”
December 24, 2017 § 1 Comment
July 16, 2017 § Leave a comment