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In our DIY DOCS series, we ask illustrators, artists and designers to put their stamp on a pair of Dr. Martens.
People have always been moved to make Docs their own through doodling, painting and de-constructing. Contemporary creatives using Docs as their canvas builds on this long tradition of customisation.
For this take on our 1460s we invited French artist Valentin Pinel to join us at the Paris Festival of Psychedelic Music.  Specialising in psychedelic art, he customised two pairs of mono white 1460 boots, engraving the design onto each boot with a laser. These were then displayed at our Dr. Martens stand during the festival.

Introduce yourself – who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Valentin Pinel and I am a graphic designer from Paris. I specialise in making collages for album covers and gig posters.

Who or what do you take inspiration from?

I like religious art, mythological representations, Renaissance and primitive arts. I like the artists Roland Topor and Jerome Bosch and the Sci-Fi illustrations by Nikolai Lutohin among many others. I’m also a fan of Russian constructivism and Bauhaus. I am always fascinated by propaganda posters, Arabian ornaments, illustrations from old pedagogic manuals, movies etc…

Do you have an illustration or project you’re most proud of?

It’s difficult for me to judge my work. I had the chance to create some gig posters for a lot of great shows (Wire, Terry Riley, John Maus, Ty Segall, Stephen O’Malley etc) but for the graphics I think my favourite work is for an album by Kaviar Special called “Vortex” or for the 7’ “The One Bitter Day” by The Madcaps – two really great French psychedelic/garage bands. I’m starting to work in bigger formats, it’s new for me, but I’m really excited about that.

Tell us about the design you created on both pairs of Dr. Martens.

I had never worked on shoes, so it was a great opportunity for me to do that, but at the same time, it was a bit scary! I made some psychedelic optical patterns and laser engraved those on the Docs.


Do you listen to music while you work? Name three tracks you can’t hear enough of:

 When I work on an album cover, I listen to the album of the band on repeat. It’s cool for me because I’m kind of a monomaniac in music; when I discover a song I really like, I play it a thousand times.

Naming three tracks would be difficult to do, so I’ll give you a few more than that because I don’t know how to limit myself:

Golden Hours – Brian Eno 

Kate – Chandra   

I cry (night after night) – Egyptian Lover

Homage – Mild High Club 

Intermezzo III – Denis Mpunga

Looking for you – Nino Ferrer

Binary – Kazino

 Il Giardino delle delizie – Ennio Morricone

A family affair – Television Personalities

Mit Dir – Robert Gorl 


What is your dream band/show to create a poster for?  

I would love to create posters for all kinds of artists but I don’t have a dream band. There are too many, so I wouldn’t want to label my work in a certain way as only being for psychedelic music or garage, for example, when I work on many different kinds of projects.


 Tell us your favourite thing about the city you live in? Do you have a go-to spot in Paris?

There are plenty of places that are interesting in Paris. Little libraries, beautiful architecture…

For show venues, I like La Station, l’Olympic café, and every location where OffNoise nights and Pilori Prod nights take place. Finally, for exhibitions I usually go to Iconoclastes Galerie and La Halle Saint Pierre.

Tell us about your first pair of Dr. Martens:

I just had one pair of Dr. Martens, the original (1460) when I was 16 or 17. I loved them.  I wore them every day for two years. I think I still have them!


Want to see more customised Docs? Click here. 

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