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 KAY DAVIS

We caught up with South East London based designer Kay Davis, a Central Saint Martins graduate with a vibrant style. As well as customising our products, Kay Davis headed to Afropunk London with us to showcase her bold designs. We’ve caught up with her to find out more about her inspiration, and what she stands for. 
 

Kay Davis at Afropunk London showcasing her customised products. Photographed by Tim Eason.
Kay Davis at Afropunk London showcasing her customised products. Photographed by Tim Eason.
 
 
Introduce yourself:
I’m a painter and textiles designer based in Deptford, South East London. 26 years old and a graduate from Central Saint Martins. I like to create all kinds of things from accessories, fabric art to paintings. I just really enjoy craftsmanship and opening new doors for myself. 
 
Who or what do you take inspiration from?
A lot of my ideas derive from childhood and nostalgia. I’m Caribbean and I love how my culture uses colour. I’m all for being playful whilst evoking memories. In my work I reference these ideas, whilst also making it mystical in an atmosphere that is constant. 
 
An example of Kay Davis' artwork.
An example of Kay Davis’ artwork.
 
 
Do you have an illustration or project you’re most proud of?
Something I’m most proud of right now is a painting I created called Violet Dreams. I feel that it marks a shift in my work and shows so much growth from when I first started painting. In Violet Dreams there’s something euphoric yet innocent to discover which also says a lot about my character and where I am at this point in my life.
A dream project for me involves Pharrell Williams walking into my life and telling me that I’m the chosen one. Lol. Even if he was to breath on my notebook I would hold it highly. He’s someone that has inspired me since childhood and kept me going when I was at my lowest. So Pharrell if you see this can you find me please. 
 
Kay Davis customised the 1460 boot. Image by Almass Badat.
Kay Davis customised a pair of Industrial boots. Photographed by Almass Badat.
 
 
Talk us through your customised Dr. Martens, was it a challenge working on a pair of shoes?
Once I completed the DM’s Lite Newton boots I was on a roll. But getting to that point was a massive challenge. I literally sat at my work-space for hours thinking ‘what next’. Eventually I started building ideas from previous paintings and accessories, feeling out where I should place particular designs. I’ve worked with Leather before so I knew the surface on the DM’s Lite and Industrial boots would be a great to paint on.
I found it more of a struggle painting the backpack. Although it’s white, the actual surface kept refusing the paint. I had to keep heat setting it for everything to stick. I got there in the end but got really frustrating at times.
You don’t have to have the wildest outfit to pull these off. I’d love to see everyday people wearing statement pieces like works of art. Wearing these paintings individually with simple denim and white t-shirt works as it brings the attention straight to the boots or bag. Although, people leave me in awe everyday. It would be awesome to see someone wear these in a way I couldn’t even imagine. 
 
Kay Davis customised the Newton boot from the #DMsLITE range. Image by Almass Badat.
Kay Davis customised the Newton boot from the #DMsLITE range. Photographed by Almass Badat.
 
 
Kay Davis customised the Newton boot from the #DMsLITE range. Image by Almass Badat.
Kay Davis customised the Newton boot from the #DMsLITE range. Photographed by Almass Badat.
 
 
Name three tracks you can’t hear enough of:
I couldn’t limit myself to 3 tracks only! I listen to a bit of everything depending on my mood. When I need to tap out I listen to the likes of Sade, Slum Village and Zapp & Roger to name a few. Recently I’ve had Solange’s new album on repeat too. Although, when I’m painting instead of listening to music I watch old TV Shows on YouTube. Shows I grew up on such as Moesha, Sister Sister and Fresh Prince of Bel Air. 
 
Tell us your favourite thing about the city you live in:
London is sick! It took me leaving and coming back to really appreciate it. Everything I need is at my doorstep and there’s so much culture here. I’m not a night owl but when Soulection puts on events I’m the first one out of my house. Anything with good vibes is a win for me. Energy is everything! Honestly, I’m pretty chilled and I love to banter. My days consist of plotting for a win, creating the art I want to see and hanging out in my kitchen with my bro playing drums on the counter-top whilst free-styling, even though none of us are skilled in the music department. Lol. 
 
Kay Davis customised the white Backpack. Image by Almass Badat.
Kay Davis customised the small leather Backpack in white. Photographed by Almass Badat.
 
 
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens:
AHHH… The day I bought my first pair of DM’s I was fired from my day job. Lol I was about 18 years old. They were the black patent 1460 boots. I had gone on a little shopping trip during my lunch break and when I came back from lunch the brand I was working for handed me a late form, hahaha! I left that job broke but with the most amazing pair of boots that impressed my next employer. 
 
Kay Davis customised the Newton boot from the #DMsLITE range. Image by Almass Badat.
Kay Davis customised the Newton boot from the #DMsLITE range. Photographed by Almass Badat.
 
 
And finally, what do you stand for?
I stand for being my authentic self… I try to be as genuine as possible. Whether it’s through what I create or my ability to listen to my intuition. My advice would be ‘be good to people’. People remember how you make them feel and roles can switch at any moment. 
 
Find out more about Kay Davis on her website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.