Mark Wigan On Exploring Punk Subculture Through the Study of Human Behaviour Influenced by Music

Who better to claim the punk subculture than UK-based artist-legend Mark Wigan? Ever since graduating from the Hull School of Art Design in 1982, he moved to London to freelance for key publications such as i-D Magazine, NME and Timeout and began painting murals in and out of London. Fully immersed in the club culture and deeply inspired by it which informed his designs, he hosted musicians from Goldie to Moby and hung out regularly with George Michael.

In town for the launch of his collection with Dr. Martens, Mark Wigan spent his afternoon at Capitol Piazza painting the glass window of the Dr. Martens store with his quirky graffiti, bringing life and character to the face of the store. Stepping aside to speak to Popspoken, Mark Wigan shared with us more about his collaboration with Dr. Martens and his current Asia tour, before working his magic on our plain pair of black Dr. Martens with just ten minutes and a single white marker.

Popspoken: How long have you been collaborating with Dr. Martens?

Mark Wigan: This collection was some months back now, we started the collaboration together for the Autumn/Winter collection 2015. I’ve always worn Dr. Martens, so it’s a really good synergy between my own work and the brand. The brand has always been about subcultures and styles, and well, my work is kind of the study of human behaviour in the club of human environment influenced by music.

Popspoken: Why is it that for this collection, much of your inspiration and ideas come from cities and clubs?

I’ve been documenting night clubs since the 1980s, doing illustrations and paintings and drawings. I’ve actually produced clubs in London in the past. I’ve been quite involved in club culture for a long time, and I’ve always been fascinated by the city at night. Some of this collection is inspired by being in Japan, with the neon saturating the streets at night.

Popspoken: What are your personal experiences with the punk scene? 

I was inspired by punk when I was younger, and I’ve been wearing Dr. Martens since the 1970s. Later on I was into the 2 tone ska scene, so I was wearing Dr. Martens loafers and brogues.

Popspoken: Are you enjoying your Asia tour with Dr. Martens so far? 

I started in Seoul, then on to Tokyo, Hong Kong, and here to Singapore. So it’s kind of an 8-day tour of Asia for me. I’ve had different food from different countries – sushi in Tokyo, Korean BBQ in Seoul, and chicken rice in Singapore! I’ve had a different beer in each country. Not more than two beers in each country though, otherwise I can’t do any work. *laughs* 

I think my work celebrates life, club culture and music. It’s a visual interpretation and social commentary on the positive side of life. There’s humour in there as well, about people being obsessed with style and fashion. I just want to be remembered as someone who documented my time, and with my own visual take on life, adding on and contributing to the history of art.


The Dr. Martens x Mark Wigan collection is now available at Dr. Martens at #B1-31 Capitol Piazza and #02-17A Wheelock Place.
Cover Photo: James Pearson-Howes 2015


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