Meet the self-taught artist whose latest designs are inspired by Northampton’s shoe heritage
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A self-taught artist, whose most recent designs are inspired by the town’s shoe heritage, is “overwhelmed” to have his work featured and sold across Northampton.
Amar Shah is an artist and designer, who has taken on this hobby and passion alongside his full-time job.
He most recently completed a project called ‘Made in Northampton’, which took inspiration from the town’s cobbler heritage and features a collection of digital shoe illustrations.
These are currently available to buy at Northampton Museum and 15 Collingwood, where Amar’s art is sold alongside other timeless classics.
Amar first began teaching himself art and illustration ahead of the first lockdown in 2020, when he lost his job and had a lot of time on his hands throughout the pandemic.
“There was no better time to do it,” said Amar, who began creating some designs using online software.
His inspiration from Northampton’s boot and shoe industry took off this year, as it marked two decades since he moved to the town from the north-west.
Amar said: “The shoe heritage has always been in the back of my mind, after having a tour around the factory shops when I first moved here.”
Having taken the tours again more recently and hearing stories from workers, Amar was inspired by the shoemakers left in the industry.
Amar started collaborating with the Museum and Art Gallery, at the heart of the Cultural Quarter, last year during their exhibition on trainers – which is one of Amar’s main interests.
The Museum agreed to feature Amar’s art during that time and following its “success”, they also got on board with his latest Northampton-inspired shoe project.
The same went for 15 Collingwood, who Amar approached himself as he admired the shop and their work. They too were happy to stock his art.
The self-taught artist donates a percentage of all profit from his artwork to charity and Good Soles, which upcycles trainers to give to the homeless, was the chosen charity for the Made in Northampton shoe project.
When asked why he donates a percentage of profits, Amar said: “On a personal level, I try to be as charitable as I can be.
“I really liked what Good Soles was doing. The whole idea of the shoe project was keeping it local – it’s about local shoemakers, it’s printed and sold locally, and picking Good Soles as the charity fitted the concept.”
With the shared love of trainers, Good Soles was more than happy to support and promote what Amar was doing.
The artist says the end goal was to get his work featured and sold across the town, but he did not know how long it would take.
“It’s overwhelming,” he said. “You don’t always think about what can happen along the line. If you put the work in and have some self belief, it’s always possible.”
Outside of his shoe project, Amar does a variety of different artwork – and has postcards on display at the Museum too.
The goal is to create more awareness of his work online, get featured more, and continue developing his hobby and passion.