ORDER BY PHONE 800-810-6673 ORDER BY PHONE 600-810-6673 FIND A STORE FREE STANDARD GROUND SHIPPING ON ORDERS OVER $50 across the US* Sign In / Register
Art

DR. MARTENS SPEAKS TO NEW YORK HARDCORE GRAFFITI ARTISTS

To celebrate the premiere of The New York Hardcore Chronicles, the long-awaited documentary by Drew Stone, we asked NYHC graffiti artists Louie “KR. ONE” GasparroChrisRWKMike Gallo, and Danny Diablo to each customise a pair of Dr. Martens 1460s. We met up with the artists to ask them about their days tagging trains, touring with iconic metal bands and of course, their Doc’s.

Louie “KR. ONE” Gasparro

One of twelve children, Gasparro was born in Manhattan and raised in the Astoria, Queens. He found his earliest inspirations in Saturday morning cartoons and started drawing his favourite characters. This early love of art lead to Gasparro tagging trains and evading cops with graffiti crews and contributing to NYC’s legendary subway graffiti – illegally painting trains in the late 70s. Gasparro’s creative career continued to accelerate with sold out gallery shows, playing in legendary bands like Murphy’s Law, publishing multiple books featuring his artwork and much, much more.

How has the New York Hardcore scene affected your life?
I’ve made many friends in the New York Hardcore scene and have played with many of its stars. A highlight for me was when I played drums and traveled to Europe with Murphy’s Law. Jimmy Gestapo, a fellow Astorian made that happen by asking me to join his legendary band. It was one of the best times in my life.

Do you remember your first pair of Doc’s? 
My first pair of Doc’s were purchased in Greenwich Village in the 80s when I was in my twenties. They were the black 1461 shoe, I wore them everywhere. I had them for at least 10 years, but I ran them into the ground! Sadly, I don’t have them anymore.

Tell us about the boots you customized:
I used spray enamel, acrylic and various inks. My inspiration is life itself. Working on an unorthodox surface is always a challenge but a lot of fun!

 

ChrisRWK

Born in New York in the 80s, Chris was bombarded with imagery and ideas from television, comic books, and music and movies of the time. Chris began keeping a “mental journal” of the images and experiences he saw daily, and his artwork refers back to these past concepts to create familiar and comforting theme. In 2001 Chris set in motion RobotsWillKill.com, an arts site dedicated to community and exposure for artists/ media often disregarded by the mainstream art world.

How has the New York Hardcore scene affected your life?
I first heard New York hardcore when I was around 11 years old, so it’s played a huge part in my life for almost 30 years. It’s taught me about friendships, unity, individuality, creativity and countless other qualities. I’ve been straight edge the whole time so it’s helped teach me things like conviction and dedication. The music and scene gave me something to believe in, something to feel like I was apart of. Even if you didn’t know people in the scene there was still a sense of unity.

Do you remember your first pair of Doc’s? 
They were hand-me-downs from my brother, I was around 11 or 12. The black 3-eye shoes. I’d wear them to school, out and about, basically anytime I wasn’t skateboarding. The kids in grammar school made fun of me for them and I didn’t care. Especially when they were all wearing them about 2 years later. I just said “nice shoes”. My brother also gave me a pair of 1940 oxblood boots. I wish I still had them but I grew out of them. The first pair I bought with my own money was a pair of black Hawkins.

Tell us about the boots you customized:
I used a mixed medium. Spray paint, acrylic paint and markers. I then coated them in a clear coat. My inspiration comes from a lot of things. For the boots I focused on the music and the scene. I’ve worked on boots and shoes before. When I was a teenager I would paint on the ankle/ calf part of my Doc’s. Once friends saw that they asked me to paint on theirs.

 

Mike Gallo

Born and raised in Long Island in a family of musicians and artists, from a young age Mike was able to express himself through art and music, drawing comic book characters and airbrushing. After a few semesters of studying advertising, Mike decided to leave college and pursue music in the New York Hardcore scene where he met and joined legendary hardcore band, Agnostic Front.

How has the New York Hardcore scene affected your life?
I was really into metal bands like Metallica, Black Sabbath etc., but when I got into junior high none of my friends would listen to the music with me. So I followed my friends and actually became a guido. It wasn’t until I found hardcore that I learned to be myself and not care what anyone else thinks. The lyrics and the message helped change me into the person I am now. I met so many good people through the hardcore scene all over the world and being lucky enough to join a band like Agnostic Front was what made that possible. I pretty much have friends in every city I’ve been to. They’ve showed me around and I’ve had the chance to embrace their cultures. It’s amazing to see how others live all over the world. If it wasn’t for the New York hardcore scene, I would have never been able to experience all this.

Do you remember your first pair of Doc’s?
I believe I was about 17 years old. I got them in a place in Hicksville called Utopia. It was a pretty cool place that would carry hardcore punk records as well as clothing, all the local zines and all sorts of paraphernalia. I had the black 10 holes and wore them everywhere from school to Lollapalooza and whatever shows I attended at that time. I wish I still had them. I gave them to my brother when he was big enough to fit into them. Who the hell knows what happened to them after that…

Tell us about the boots you customized:
This was certainly a challenge. I’ve never tried to do art on a boot and most of my artwork is usually on either a canvas or vinyl records. I use spray paint, paint marker and air brush. I’ll usually draw up the image than cut it out to make a stencil and spray paint the colors in. I did the same thing on the boots. It was just a little bit harder because the image was a lot smaller but I made it work. My inspiration was to do something that represented the New York hardcore scene – a NYHC symbol. That’s what I would want to get if I was going to buy boots with artwork on them. I’m just hoping I’m the only one who had the same idea but this is what I was envisioning as soon as Drew brought the idea up to me. So I want to thank Drew and Dr. Martens boots for giving me the opportunity to do this.

 

Danny Diablo

Growing up in Jackson Heights, Queens, Diablo began branding the streets with his tag name ‘Ezec’. He joined the D.M.S., representing them to this day. In his early years at PS 145 schoolyard, Diablo linked with his lifelong bombing partner MQ, and was soon recognized as a formidable force in the New York Hardcore scene. After high school, Diablo, began fronting hardcore bands and touring the globe with bands Crown of Thornz and later founded and fronted Skarhead.

How has the New York Hardcore scene affected your life?
The first thing that caught my eye was the logo. I was already into graffiti, and the NYHC logo was a bold statement that intrigued me. I saw this logo all over the streets. I had no idea what it meant, but I needed to learn what it stood for and believe me, I found out! I went to Bryant High School in Astoria and all I did was listen to Rap, Metal, play basketball and write graffiti. My partner in crime ‘JM’ and I bought the Agnostic Front record ‘Victim in Pain’ from Numbers and Records in Jackson Heights. From that point on, my life changed. I went to my first show in 1987 and I never looked back. I found a home! As soon as I started my first Hardcore band I fell in love with the music and the people. I have been very fortunate that I’ve been able to tour the world.

Do you remember your first pair of Doc’s? 
I absolutely remember my first pair of Doc’s! My boy ‘Flip’ aka Timmy Klopper gave me my first pair. They were from Ireland. They were the black 10 hole boots with a white DM Airwair tag in the back. I wore them everywhere until the soles were worn through.

Tell us about the boots you customized.
I have been so intrigued by the NYHC logo for so long that I always incorporate it into all my canvases and artwork. When people see the boots, I want them to feel the same way I did when I first saw it. Working on the boots was challenging due to their shape and not being a flat surface. I used silver Pentel Paint markers because they are the same markers I used when I first started writing graffiti.

Find out more about the The New York Hardcore Chronicles.

Leave a Reply