Jun201107
Skin & Ink Spotlight on Tattoo Culture
04:05 PM
gene coffey tattoo.jpg
In the latest issue of Skin & Ink magazine (August 2011), I take a look at the progressive work coming out of Brooklyn's own Tattoo Culture via resident artist Gene Coffey (whose work is shown here) and a host of international talent including Belgium's blackwork specialist Dan DiMattia, and France's avant-garde artists Noon and Loic [aka Xoil], among many others. In fact, owner Chris Budd acts as a "tattoo concierge," helping tattooers from outside New York find places to stay, procure temporary permits, and build a local fan base.

While Tattoo Culture is a full-service custom shop where clients get tattoos in a variety of styles, the focus of the article is the more controversial work that push the definition of what a tattoo should be. Here's a bit of that discussion:

[Gene] credits the roster of guest artists at Tattoo Culture for his artistic growth. "We just feed off of each other's creativity. If I had never worked with people like Noon or Loic, for example, I wouldn't have even tried something weird like what I've been doing lately."

The "weird" tattoos that Gene refers to are abstract pen and ink watercolor styled designs. [Shown below] It began when a long-time client was flipping through Gene's sketchbook and said she wanted to get one of his drawings tattooed on her. They agreed on the drawing, and after it was permanently inked, they both loved the result. Gene says, "It felt really awesome. It was the first time a tattoo was a hundred percent my art. It wasn't drawn to be a tattoo. It was drawn because of something I felt, something that just came out of my head."

Since that time, Gene has further explored translating his fine art on skin, but he's quick to note that he still employs traditional tattoo technique. "The things that I tattoo - even the weird abstract work - still follow the fundamentals of tattooing. There's line work, there's contrast, there's shading, there's saturation of the colors. It's still a tattoo, just different imagery."
Beyond the weirdness (and Gene himself is a strange egg), Tattoo Culture has a relaxed friendly vibe that seems to stand in contrast to the cooler-than-cool attitude of their Williamsburg neighborhood, also known as ground zero for hipsters. The studio also holds regular art shows, exhibiting classic tattoo-inspired painting, photography, mixed media and modern works. 

Check their Facebook page for events and guest artists. Gene regularly updates his portfolio on his own Facebook page as well.

gene coffey tattoo culture.jpg


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EDITOR IN CHIEF:
Marisa Kakoulas
CONTRIBUTORS:
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
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