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Introduce yourself.
Peace and Blessings! I am Michael G. Simpson born and raised in New Jersey, based in Los Angeles, California. A poet, painter, self-taught clothing designer and founder of Writings From Michael — a language of love that uses words and art to inspire positivity and change.

What is your preferred medium?
Anything that is tangible; walls, shoes, canvas, hats. I love painting on clothing!

What was your first job?
My first job was working with my dad at his Soul Food Restaurant in Newark, NJ. Though I wasn’t an official employee, it was the first job where I learned hard work and entrepreneurship.

I started in my current field by taking leaps of faith. Just two years into college at Pace University, I dropped out to take on a path of my creative heart. I moved to Georgia and started working for Apple Retail, full time. While working at Apple, I started to pursue my art craft and continued to write and design.

I decided to move to California in 2015, where I wrote and self published a poetry book. After publishing this poetry book, I began designing pieces of art and jackets to symbolize the book. One year later, I quit my job at Apple to pursue art and my craft full time to create one of kind pieces.

Tell us about the materials and techniques you’re using.
The materials I often use are sustainable thrifted pieces of clothing and new pieces, such as crewnecks, hoodies, denim jackets, sweatpants, etc. I utilize flow acrylics and fabric mediums to sustain the paint in the clothing.

For each custom piece, I put together a vision in my mind for the coloring and theme. It starts with the cutting process (cutting the bottoms to the hoodies/crewnecks/denims), then bleaching and dying with hot water.

Once complete, the piece is put into the wash for cleaning and drying. They are steamed and heat pressed before the painting process. Labels and Patches are sewn on accordingly. After patches and labels are sewn, the painting process begins.

Sometimes I write out words for the theme to get my mind flowing. There are no design sketches of the pieces beforehand. This is to keep the designs and pieces organic and one of kind. I let my intuition drive the piece to completion.

What was the inspiration behind the designs you created for DIY Docs?
The inspiration is really about building your dream. This project with Dr. Martens is a dream for me. Within my career and journey, it has truly been about building, one day at a time. Typically, we hear the phrase, “chase your dream,” but I feel building is more sustainable, as anything needing to be chased will fleet.

Tell us about your first pair of Docs.
My first pair of Dr. Martens were purchased on April 7th, 2018. I was 26 (I went back to my camera roll). I got them at a shop on Melrose and I did exactly what this project is about; designed and painted on them! Crazy how life circles back.