In DIY Docs, we take a look at how illustrators, artists and designers put their stamp on Dr. Martens shoes. Painting, tattooing or de-constructing – we’re giving them the creative freedom to express themselves off of the canvas.
Meet our next DIY Docs artist, Pheonix-based duo Daniel and Dawna Davis – otherwise known as Steam Crow, who have customised our Ivory Pascal boots. Find out more about their work and what they stands for below:
Hi there! My name is Daniel M. Davis, and I run a weird, little art brand called Steam Crow with my wife Dawna. We illustrate monster-based prints, books, and other odd projects, and we run a community of folks called the Monster Scouts. It’s our club of monster-loving friends who meet-up, collect badges, and go on real-life campouts.
Can you talk a little about Steam Crow?
Steam Crow started when Dawna and I attended the San Diego Comicon in 2005. We met all of these cool illustrators and designers who worked for Disney, Nickelodeon, and Pixar, who were publishing their own work. When I exclaimed “you work at Pixar!?” the artist we were talking to said, “Yeah, that’s just a job. THIS BOOK is what I’m excited about.” A light-bulb went off in my head, and Dawna leaned over and said “you could illustrate your own book. You could make a Haiku-Monster book.” So, we wrote and illustrated Caught Creatures and haven’t looked back.
When and how did you start drawing, painting, costume designing, monster scouting?
Like many artists, I’ve been doing it all along. My mom, an artist/ crafter always begged me to draw deer, or horses, or wildlife, but I was always most interested in drawing creatures, monsters, and things from my imagination. When I was 11 years old, I discovered Dungeons and Dragons, and was lost for good. I always wanted to do my own thing… from being in a band to making up my own worlds and stories. I was pretty sure that I was a creative person, but I didn’t really get to prove it until we started Steam Crow.
Monster Scouting came from our fans. We made up some badges for good patrons, helpers and activist fans – and a story. Our Scouts returned with uniforms, ideas for branches, and the idea of actually meeting up and camping out. So, we’ve been doing that, and it’s been nothing short of mathmagical.
Who or what inspires you?
Inspiration is everywhere, right? More specifically, I’m inspired by movies (especially classic old movies like Hammer Films, Westerns, and French films of the ‘60s), toys, vintage design, and illustration, and daydreaming about a weird world where monsters live alongside us.
Do you have a project/piece you’re most proud of?
Steam Crow itself is my biggest and best art project ever. We’ve been travelling all over the place for the last decade, sharing our work, meeting odd folks, and having a great time. I’m proud of the big body of work that we’ve made in that time – and it’s done more than I ever imagined.
Talk us through your customized Dr. Martens. How did you come up with your design? Was it a challenge working on boots?
I wanted to make Halloween inspired boots; Skull Kickers! I pretended that I was uncovering a vintage pair of Monster Scout boots, ones that had been heavily customized by their owner. We attached a Relic badge on each side, to show off that they’re old and part of a collection of old Scout artefacts.
Name three tracks you can’t get enough of:
1. Monkey Gone To Heaven – Pixies
2. Figure It Out – Royal Blood
3. My Name Is Scout – Kline Redback
If you could have any super-power for a day, what would it be?
Besides world peace, I’d say “Cornish Pastie Ray” where I’d shout “CORNISH PASTIE RAY” and everyone who could hear me would catch a napkin, a fork, and a delicious hot Cornish Pastie. Bam! But really, this is a power I need in my everyday life.
If you could collaborate with anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
I think that it would be fun to spend a day with Salvador Dali; I don’t know that we’d get anything done, but it would be fun to witness his antics in person. He’s a remarkable artist and a guy who understood how to create a spectacle around his creations and personality.
Tell us your favourite thing about the city you live in:
I was raised to never live in Phoenix. Seriously. I lived here for a year when I was a baby, and my mom HATED it. So, from time to time as a kid, she said “Danny, don’t ever move to LA or Phoenix.” But here we are after being recruited for a job in 2004. We just work for Steam Crow here now, but we stay in Phoenix for one reason: the community. I love the community of the folk we’ve found in Phoenix. It’s not the hippest of cities, but there’s loads of talent here, cool folks, and weird old restaurants (Organ Pizza Co.). But it’s dang hot.
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens:
I got a pair of simple black 1460 boots in 1990 or so, and wore them out walking all over Seattle and Portland.
What do you stand for?
Being a creative force (in my own life), and encouraging a few others to do the same.