DIY Docs: Portland Tattoo Artists

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Portland, Oregon is not only home to our Dr. Martens Americas HQ, it’s also a hub for many talented tattoo artists – often with appointment books filled months in advance. As an ode to all things Portland, we asked a few of the artists behind Daydream Tattoo to put their unique spin on a pair of Docs. Keep scrolling to see the DIY DOCS created by André Fortes, Ori Vishnia, and Mariah Woodman.

Andre Fortes

Introduce yourself. What do you do, where are you from?

I’m André and I use various pigments, principally carbon, to create images that resonate with people’s symbolic mind-webs in ways I hope will make them smile, laugh, or think. Sometimes I take these images and put them into people’s skin. I’m originally from Brazil but I’ve lived in Portland most of my life.

What is your preferred medium?

My preferred medium is ink on paper.

What was your first job?

My first job was filing paperwork at my mom’s drug rehab clinic. I’m dyslexic so I was very bad at my job. That’s not even a joke.

What was the inspiration behind the designs you created for DIY Docs?

My inspiration behind my designs are my tattoo flash, which are based on a ton of different things such as American traditional tattoo flash, 1960s advertisements, memes, random google image searches, comics, esoteric symbolism, and so much more. I aggregate these images and filter them through my shaky hand, often adding single lines of text for added commentary.

Ori Vishnia

Introduce yourself. What do you do, where are you from?

My name is Ori Vishnia, I’m a tattoo artist based in Portland, OR. I was born in Israel and immigrated to the US as a baby. I grew up in New York but spent the summers in Israel so home has never been just one place.

What is your preferred medium?

Tattooing, truly. I love drawing, writing, and working with clay, but there is nothing quite like seeing my work come alive on someone else.

What was the inspiration behind the designs you created for DIY Docs?

For these designs, I wanted to bring my tattoo imagery onto leather, really just a different kind of skin. I’m inspired by anything that builds an entire universe, has its own language. I can’t really tell you where my designs come from, because I usually am not sure myself – but I do know they all live in the same world together.

Tell us about your first pair of Docs.

I was probably 16 when I got my first pair, Navy 1460s – I still have them. My favourite pair are my beat-up brown leather Docs from the 80s I found on eBay a few years back, I wear them all the time!

Mariah Woodman

Introduce yourself. What do you do, where are you from?

Hello! My name is Mariah Woodman and I’m from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I live in Portland, Oregon now and work as a full-time licensed tattoo artist.


What was your first job? How did you get started in your current field?

My first job was working the cash register at a drive-in burger shack in my hometown. I originally wanted to study psychology after high school, but just days before my first semester I completely changed my mind about college.

I gradually developed a love for tattoos and started giving my friends small handpokes. About 3 years ago, I moved to Portland and attended tattoo school. I’ve been incredibly lucky and fortunate starting my career here and I’m so grateful to all of my clients and friends who have helped me make this happen!

Dr Martens’ campaign Tough As You celebrates Docs wearers’ resilience; the times we faced setbacks but held firm and bounced back. Can you tell us about a time when you were resilient?

Coincidentally, I actually bought my first pair of Docs during one of the hardest times in my life. In high school, I spent several months hospitalized out of state for an eating disorder. It was a very rough period, but I think it made me more resilient and taught me a lot about confidence. That’s a huge reason why I love tattoos so much; I definitely think they can help boost self-esteem and make people feel more empowered.

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