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Art

DIY DOC’S: ALEX SIMON

In DIY Docs, we’re taking a look at how illustrators, artists and designers put their stamp on our Dr. Martens products. Painting, tattooing, rhinestones or de-constructing – we’re giving them the creative freedom to express themselves off of the canvas. This DIY Docs Artist, Alex Simons, has decorated a pair of Pascal Petrol Boots in honour of Pride month. Find out more about her and her artwork below:  
 

Sparkle rainbow rhinestoned Dr. Martins custom-designed for pride by Alex Simon. Photographs by Gia Goodrich Makeup by Kelliana Cole Hair by Jodie Steagall
Artist Alex Simon with the Dr. Martens Pascal Petrol Boots she designed for Pride and her tools or the bedazzle trade. Photography by Gia Goodrich.
 
 
Introduce yourself – who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Alex Simon and I am a Portland-based artist who has been making things sparkle for as long as I can remember. After graduating from college, I followed my heart and adventurous soul westward, landing in Oregon. For six years, I worked in production ceramics and now I’m launching my own creative business called Make Good Choices. I make kitschy, functional art primarily out of porcelain. When I’m not covered in clay, I’m biking, gardening, directing an annual adult summer camp for the Portland queer community, making public art, hiking with dogs, and prancing through Portland, and some times bugling. I keep track of my daily shenanigans on Instagram
 
Alex Simon
Alex Simon’s customized Pascal Petrol Boots in honour of Pride Month
 
 
Talk us through your customized Dr. Martens, was it a challenge working on shoes/ boots?
It was a whirlwind of a project. You might think that there are never emergencies with bedazzling; you would be wrong.  I ordered 10,000 glass rhinestones and they were not delivered on time for me to finish the boots before the I scheduled photoshoot. The day before the shoot, I was a little emotional and on the phone with a customer support dude, who pulled some strings and connected me to a lady who works at a rhinestone wholesaler in Vancouver, WA 30 minutes away!  I drove there immediately, and met these sparkle experts who had exactly what I needed.  We geeked out about our shared passion, then they all hugged me and wished me well.  After that, I bedazzled for 12+ hours with a glue syringe and thousands of rhinestones. BAM. This whole experience was an adventure, and I’m so happy with the final product – I can’t wait to wear them! 
 
When and how did you start painting/ bedazzling /creating?
As an only child with exercise induced asthma, I was inside making art by myself on the regular. I used to go to this shop in Elliott City, Maryland, called Plaster Funtime, where you could paint plaster tchotchkes. As cheesy as that place was, it sparked something in me that lead me to ceramics and mold making. As for bedazzling, that’s a form of crafting that I learned to love at summer camp. When I moved to Portland, I realized that this was a city where I could be as sparkly, eccentric, and as gay as I wanted to be. I embraced my need to bedazzle my life, and thus Sparkle Princess Alex became a new identity. 
 
Sparkle rainbow rhinestoned Dr. Martins custom-designed for pride by Alex Simon. Photographs by Gia Goodrich Makeup by Kelliana Cole Hair by Jodie Steagall
Sparkle rainbow rhinestoned Dr. Martens Pascal Petrol Boots custom-designed for pride by Alex Simon. Photographs by Gia Goodrich.
 
 
Where do you get your inspiration / what excites you?
Creating magic in the mundane, and making daily routines feel like rituals. Sometimes that means wearing a bedazzled bike helmet when riding to work, facilitating random acts of kindness in line at a store, interpretive dancing on public transit, making people do a double take from a chalk mural in a public space, making an inhaler that’s actually a porcelain pipe, or even getting all of your friends together to craft a 10 foot paper mache dinosaur-nicorn sculpture in your alley. I’m inspired to live life in a way that makes people savor the time we spend together, and to use things that were made with love and good intentions when we are apart. The energy that we put into each other gives me life, and that spark transfers right into my artwork in every way. 
 
Do you have a project/piece you’re most proud of?
I have so many mediums that I work with it is hard to pick one project. My most treasured piece of ongoing art is an annual adult camp that I direct for queers and allies called Illage Summer Camp. In this week-long utopia we aim to strengthen our community through various workshops lead by 20+ counselors, including sunset crafting, hiking, swimming, art installations, group bike rides, camping, performances, and ridiculous competitions. The whole week feels like a culmination of all of my artistic and community endeavors. 
 
Alex Friends
Alex and friends.
 
 
Do you listen to music whilst you work? What can’t you get enough of:
In this moment:
The Knocks Present: Memorial Day Weekend in Ibiza Vol. VI —This is an annual mix by The Knocks and I look forward to it all year.
And as Always: Mariah. Whitney. Beyonce. 
 
If you could have any super-power for a day, what would it be?
Teleportation. BRB I’m taking a lunch break in Bali. 
 
If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be? And why?
Jonathan Adler. I adore his ceramic work because it’s bold, glamorous, sometimes sexual, clever, and just fun to be around. He’s been able to go from a studio potter to running an empire while still staying true to his artistic style. I think we would make fantastic work together and become great friends. 
 
Why do you love unicorns?
While some would say that unicorns are mythical creatures, they are very real and they symbolize that anything is possible. They are a reminder to believe in your ability to imagine and manifest your reality. 
 
Alex Mug 
 
Tell us your favorite thing about living in Portland:
My immediate response would be the crazy beauty of Portland, especially the lush parks, romantic river, and roses planted on every block, even in front of convenient stores. But the real reason I’m in love with this city is because it contains my chosen family. The friends I’ve made here continuously inspire me, make my heart explode, and challenge me to keep growing. 
 
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens:
They’re these sexy brown work boots with a hearty 3 inch heel, appropriately called the Alexandra Boot. I can basically climb a mountain or go gay dancing and feel like my feet are winning at life. The butch/femme ratio is on point. 
 
WinWin 
 
What do you stand for?
I stand for creating the community you want to be part of. Being kind to yourself and others. Making Good Choices. And, glitter anything you can’t salt. 
 
The Rainbow Sparkle Boots are on display at our Portland store. Stop by and Enter to Win a pair of boots bedazzled by Alex.