The Big Shoes


Client: Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas

Location: Las Vegas, NV, United States

Completion date: 2012

Artwork budget: $300,000

Project Team

Art Consultant

Daniel Fine Art Services

Daniel Fine Art Services

Industry Resource

Javier Valdivieso

ADM Works


Visitors to the Cosmopolitan Hotel of Las Vegas eagerly snap photos of themselves posing inside “Steam Pump” and “Fit to be Tied”, artist Roark Gourley’s iconic 7 feet hight, 3 feet wide, 7 foot deep heels. These stomping stiletto sculptures stamp the hotel with a signature style and unmistakeable social media moment.


The idea was to create iconic art that would make the hotel unforgettable. I tuned into his lifelong series, “the essence of things”, which express ideas in larger than life iconic symbols of society, such as forks, hearts, shoes, and so on. The series not only makes the viewer see things from a child's perspective, but serves as a statement as to how people identify themselves with things: what car you drive, what coffee you drink, what label you wear, etc. I found some crazy shoes in my wife's closet, some that I had never seen her wear before, and I realized, like Cinderella, women have stories and fantasies in their minds about the shoes they wear. In the light of a shoe closet, the big shoe sculptures came to life.


As the video demonstrates, hundreds of concepts and drawings were sent for approval before the final versions now standing in the hotel. I worked with a local fabricator ADMworks who specializes in working with artists on large scale sculptures. The process went from 3D renderings, to machine foam cut out, mold making, fiberglass construction, sanding, priming and then car-like painting, finish, and voila!