Mike Cole Tattoos Robotic Arm
On Wednesday, I gave you the first in a series of amazing tattoo works and tales of their creation, Colin Dale's 3D Celtic Tattoo. Before I begin a crazy Greek Easter weekend filled with musical men in bonnets and a full lamb on a spit in my parent's backyard, I'll leave you with this: an incredible robotic sleeve on Peter Stauber by Mike Cole, with the story on the work told by Peter's fabulous wife Chris. Enjoy!
How Mike Cole Made My Husband Part Robot
By Chris Stauber
I'm not quite sure of exactly when we first were introduced to Mike Cole. Once we did take note, his drawing and tattooing biomechanical geometric shapes quickly drew Peter's attention. Through the Internet, they booked their first appointment at the 2004 Houston Live Fast Show. The appointment had a rocky start as the plans were really schemed out by the two parties' wives. Once Mike and Peter got their stories straight, Mike worked out the colorful crazy Demondoll lettering for Peter's stomach ... and this tale began.
Peter sits like a rock. Artists find his skin a pleasure to work on. For whatever reasons, his pasty white Irish flesh takes on and holds in ink. At the Houston show, I was having my standard Tim Creed appointment when our friend Jason from Next Generation Machines began chatting with Tim and I. He brought up the idea that someone should do their entire arm like some sort of transformer robotic equipment. Peter had long been considering a collection of robots as a sleeve but to actually be the robot was a whole new concept and level of thinking. When the words came out of his mouth, I told Jason he needed to walk right over to Peter and Mike and repeat his idea. Jason did and the following conversation took place:
"You in to it?" asked Mike.
"Yeah," said Peter.
"Cool," ended Mike.
And that was that.
[On Friday of the convention, the little Demondoll stomach piece took Tattoo of the Day. It was a good start to both their working relationship and their friendship.]
At the November 2004 Dallas tattoo convention, Mike had the arm's line drawing in a sketchbook. The entire thing looked like it was drawn using rulers but it was all free handed. Mike went to work on the main outline using, at first, light colored markers and working up to darker ones to make the final lines. He built the major sleeve linework up freehand on Peter's arm that session.
After that first sitting, they worked through countless appointments filling in the lining and adding shading, texture, glowing goodies and even some alien hieroglyphics.
It took them five years and a few cross state border moves, but with persistence, they completed it. Mike and Peter agree to call it at about 60 hours but we will probably never know the true amount of time put into the sleeve between the bathroom, dinner, and smoke breaks.
I enjoy seeing it everyday. And know this: my husband does thoroughly enjoy pretending to shoot at me with his laser gun.