DR. MARTENS X GARY BASEMAN COLLABORATION
This summer we’ve launched a new four-piece capsule collection in collaborated with Los-Angeles artist Gary Baseman. He puts a colourful, animated twist on the our classic 1460 boot and 1461 shoe, alongside two t-shirts, decorated with images of HotChaChaCha and exclusive new character Punk Toby. The collection is available in-store and online here. Find out more about the inspiration behind the collection and his new character Punk Toby below:
My name is Gary Baseman. I’m an artist born, bred, and based in Los Angeles, CA.
What influences your work?
Life. The darkness. The deep challenges in life. But also the beautiful joyous moments. Our memories. Our memories make us who we are. Through my art I try to encourage everyone to appreciate and celebrate the beauty of the bitter-sweetness of life.
What was your inspiration behind ‘Punk Toby’?
As an ANGRY YOUNG MAN in the 1980s, I lived through a major moment of the punk rock era in Los Angeles. Back then I wasn’t hardcore on the outside, but inside I wanted personal REVOLUTION! I did have my Dr. Martens. And before that I wore my brother’s US Army boots during the Vietnam War. Back then I hated Disco, and Punk/New Wave hit my Jewish Fairfax neighborhood like a sledgehammer. I lived right off of Melrose, where you’d see kids with mohawks walking alongside furry hatted Orthodox Jewish men, because that’s what the area of Fairfax Los Angeles was back then. It was great seeing this mix of sub-cultures. Even my Fairfax High School was a perfect melting pot of Jews, African Americans, Asians and Latinos.
Punk Toby is an adventurer and troublemaker! He crosses lots of borders and boundaries. He’s friends with everyone, but has a spirit that is tough and persistent, righteous but in a good way. He’ll call you out on your bullshit, but is willing to have a pint with everyone. The original Toby is everyone’s best friend who loves unconditionally, but he’s also all-seeing and accepting. He tolerates everyone, even if he has a strong personality himself. He loves music and live shows. He gets a little excited and wants to kick ass sometimes, too.
Tell us about your relationship with Dr. Martens. What similarities do you think Dr Martens and your own brand have?
I’ve been digging around lately in my storage for my old pair of Dr. Marten’s. The shoes help define one of the most important decades in popular culture, but also a major force culturally through music and art. I like what Dr. Marten’s represents that appeals to me, the idea of walking to one’s own tune, walking against the norm, walking in a way like floating on air because one isn’t interested in walking down a straight line. I always walk on the razor’s edge.
How do you manage to make your work relatable to not only children, but adults too?
My images look kid-friendly, but I never draw down to kids. Some can say my work looks cartoonish, but most people look cartoonish. The subject matter is often for adults. I draw from life. It’s when people look closer that they notice what’s really going on. My work is influenced by old animation from the 1930s and ‘40s, when cartoons were actually designed for adults. Humor was used to talk about adult themes. I create art that works on many different levels. I like to handle difficult issues in a playful poetic way.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
I don’t know if I have a favourite medium, but I have my sketchbook with me all the time. I draw pretty much everyday in my sketchbook, using colored pencils. But I love experimenting and challenging myself to try new materials or styles or subject matter from painting to film to sculpture to art performance.
What’s your favourite thing about the city you live in?
Los Angeles is Heaven on Earth. It’s a special place because it offers everything! Good weather, the beach, the mountains, music, fashion, art, the food, and so many cultures. There is a reason the best artists, best musicians, best writers are all here in LA. My favourite thing, though? My cat, Blackie. Twenty-two pounds of fluff and a triple purr. He’s better than any mediation.
And finally, what do you stand for?
I stand for freedom of speech. I was a communications major in college and for a while I thought that I’d be a first amendment lawyer, but in my heart I knew that I was always an artist. Being an artist is all I wanted since I could ever remember. In thinking about freedom of speech, I figured that through art I can advocate for issues that I believe in. I also feel that the best way to defend the first amendment is by participating in it. Everyone should be able to say whatever they want to say. It doesn’t mean that you have to agree with it, but everyone should have the right to say or write what they want.
Shop the Dr. Martens x Gary Baseman collection here.
Find out more about Gary Baseman on his website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.