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Art

DIY DOCS: CHYNA GAY

In DIY DOC’S, we take a look at how illustrators, artists, and designers put their stamp on a Dr. Martens product. Painting, tattooing or de-constructing – we’re giving them the creative freedom to express themselves off the canvas.

Our Dr. Martens Union Square staff introduced us to Chyna Gay, a young artist living in New York City. Chyna specializes in the creepy; skulls, grim reapers, cobwebs, gravestones, and more. We asked her to transform the Mono 1461 into the perfect Halloween accessory, and she delivered. Keep reading to see the final look and get to know the woman behind the shoe.

Chyna customized the Mono 1461 in White.

How did you get started doing illustration and clothing design?

I got into illustration at a really young age. I’ve always been a bit of a nerd so comic books played a huge part in that. The clothing design stuff, however, is fairly new for me. I really enjoy messing around with different forms of art so I’ll pretty much try any sort of artistic expression once.

There is art in everything and everyone, you just have to look a little closer for it sometimes.

Are there any artists that have influenced your work?

I’m influenced by artists every day, whether they consider themselves artists is arbitrary to me. There is art in everything and everyone, you just have to look a little closer for it sometimes.

Tell us about a project you recently worked on.

I actually just started a new job so I’m in a bit of a transitional period. I’m working at a store called I Need More in the L.E.S. (Lower East Side). I’ve been doing everything from painting mannequins to starting an exclusive T-shirt line, so I’m super excited to see what the future holds.

Tell us about your experience as a New Yorker.

I was born and raised in New York and though I find myself muttering awful things about it at least twice a day, I couldn’t imagine being brought up anywhere else. I constantly take it for granted. There’s no other place where you can walk out of your apartment and just feel that raw and authentic energy that New York emits. And the pizza is great.

What is your go-to place in NYC?

WoHop on Mott street for the best Chinese food (cover anything in black bean sauce and I’ll eat it) and Ray’s Candy Store for dessert—preferably a black and white milkshake to go so you can drink it across the street at Tompkins Square Park.

What are 3 tracks you can’t get enough of right now?

  1. ABC’s of New York by Princess Nokia (the whole 1992 album is incredible and speaks directly to so many of my experiences growing up here, it makes me feel less crazy)
  2. All I Need by Noname (feat Xavier Omär)
  3. It’s Obvious by Au Paris

Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens.

A pair of white patent leather 1460’s. My mom bought them for me along with a pair of red plaid pants when I was 13. I had them and wore them actively up until a year ago. They’re still getting around though, I gave ‘em to my neighbor’s daughter.

What’s next for you?

Jeez, who knows? I’m in the midst of finishing up my English degree and though I enjoy illustration, writing will always be my first true love. I’ve been writing poetry nonstop this year and I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.

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