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Art

DIY DOC’S: LIISA CHISHOLM

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.  
 
Meet our next DIY Docs artist, Liisa Chisholm. Recently graduating from Chelsea College of Arts London, Liisa puts her colourful stamp on a pair of our 1460 Mono boots
 

Liisa Chisholms illustrated 1460 Mono boots. Photographed by Alec McLeish.
Liisa Chisholms illustrated 1460 Mono boots. Photographed by Alec McLeish.
 
 
Introduce yourself – who are you, and what do you do?
I am a freelance textile designer and illustrator, and a recent graduate of Chelsea College of Arts in London. I’m Canadian born and raised and grew up racing biathlon (cross country skiing and shooting). I still like to play in the mountains as much as I can, but spend my free time in London skateboarding since forests and snow are a little harder to come by. In the rest of my spare moments I love to draw, eat snacks, and read books.  
 
I designed socks as part of my graduate collection so right now I’m focusing on finding stockists, slowly growing the range of products in my online shop, and also hunting down more freelance illustration work. Right now my game plan is to nurture things the best I can and to slowly funnel money from my day job into helping my creative projects succeed! 
 
Who or what do you take inspiration from?
I’m so lucky to have a community of friends who are passionate about what they do, both in London and back home. They keep me so inspired! Also – the environment around me, conversations, stories I read… everything melts together into the shapes and colours that my hands choose.  
 
Liisa Chisholm, photographed by Alec McLeish.
Liisa Chisholm, photographed by Alec McLeish.
 
 
Do you have an illustration or project you’re most proud of?
Having just finished my graduate collection, I couldn’t be more proud to have it complete! I lived chained to my sewing machine and screen-printing equipment for the better part of the last term, and I am so pleased with how it came together. 
 
My ultimate dream project would be designing a suit for Don Cherry. Don is a Canadian icon – he co-hosts Coach’s Corner on Hockey Night in Canada, wearing a super flashy new suit jacket each week. I would probably melt into a puddle of goo if my hands got to put the colours on the man who’s distinct voice goes so hand in hand with Canadian hockey! 
 
Talk us through your customised Dr. Martens, was it a challenge working on a pair of shoes?
When it came to customising this pair, I decided to build off my grad collection, and developed a print on them inspired by children’s toy blocks. I absolutely love working on 3-D surfaces. The process of wrapping the design around the boots felt very similar to painting my ceramics, though the leather paint was much harder to manage than the glaze I use normally. 
 
Liisa Chisholms illustrated 1460 Mono boots. Photographed by Alec McLeish.
Liisa Chisholms illustrated 1460 Mono boots. Photographed by Alec McLeish.
 
 
You recently included a pair of illustrated 1461 shoes in your latest design collection, why did you choose Dr. Martens to finish your looks and are you pleased with the result?
When I was thinking about the styling of my collection 1461’s were the only shoes I ever had in mind – painting them to echo my garments was the next natural step. They tied everything together perfectly, I’m so pleased! 
 
Do you listen to music whilst you work? Name three tracks you can’t hear enough of:
It depends on my mood, but drawing music is usually pretty chilled out for me – Timber Timbre, Portugal. The Man, Chad VanGaalen, O. V Wright, and Whitney seem to be pretty frequently in the mix these days, but it changes up a lot. 
 
If you could have any super-power, what would it be?
Teleportation! It’s both a curse and a massive blessing that the people and places I love are spread around the world. It’d be unreal to jump from country to country in the blink of an eye. 
 
Liisa Chisholm's graduate collection, styled with illustrated 1461 shoes. Photographed by Blue Laybourne
Liisa Chisholm’s graduate collection, styled with illustrated 1461 shoes. Photographed by Blue Laybourne
 
 
If you could draw anyone dead or alive, who would it be?
Are we allowed to have lunch too? I’d love to have all four of my grandparents around the table to eat together and draw! I miss my grandpas terribly and don’t get to see my grandmas enough – an afternoon hanging out all together would be the best thing ever. 
 
Tell us your favourite thing about the city you live in:
Stockwell (the best park in the world)!! Aside from there, I love to explore by foot or board. London’s streets never end, and being the creature of habit I am, I’ve sussed out my favourite routes and drawing spots. Being able to carve out moments of calm is so important to my sanity, I find London crazy overwhelming otherwise. Airplane mode is key if ditching my phone isn’t an option! 
 
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Liisa Chisholms illustrated 1460 Mono boots. Photographed by Alec McLeish.
 
 
Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens:
My cousin Alison introduced me to Dr. Martens my first time in London, when we were 11 or 12. I didn’t own a pair until I was 16 or so – I’ve still got them today actually! They’re canvas 1460s that used to have roses on, but I got bored and painted them black with white wiggles earlier this year and they’re once again a staple part of my wardrobe. 
 
What do you stand for?
Love above all else.  
 
Find out more about Liisa on her website, Instagram, Tumblr and Twitter