Results tagged “Thom DeVita”

Feb201403
08:06 AM
Thom Devita.jpgYesterday, the NY Times published a feature on legendary tattooer and fine artist Thom deVita entitled "For Restless Pioneer of Modern Tattoo Art, a Life Beyond Ink."  As the title reflects, the focus is on how the 81-year-old deVita continues to make art -- from rubbings and stencils on wooden crates, cutting boards, old ledgers...

Chris Grosso described deVita's work as a "compulsion."  Grosso is the producer of Vice's Tattoo Age, the wonderfully produced documentary series profiling artists in a way that honors the craft. One such profile was a five-part series on deVita (the first of which is embedded below). Here are our posts on all episodes: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.

Thom deVita began tattooing on NYC's Lower East Side in 1961, over 50 years ago, just as the city instituted its ban on the art form - a ban that was lifted in 1997. His approach to tattooing, even back then, was as a fine artist. The NY Times explains:

"He is one of the founders of modern tattooing," said Mr. Grosso, who befriended Mr. DeVita two years ago while filming a documentary about him. "It's not what you see on reality television, but something that only he and seven other people in the 1960s started, from purely a love for the art form. He wasn't from a sailor or biker background, where tattooing comes with the territory. They appreciated the great Japanese masters, the people from Samoa. Thom was at the forefront of that."
[...]
His own entree into the art world was improvised, when a potential girlfriend asked him what he did. "I had to be something, so I told her I was an artist," he said. "So I became an artist. I had to show her I was an artist, so I started doing some artwork."

Read more here

As the article further notes, Grosso has set up a website to sell deVita's work. The work has a certain power to it, as if each piece carries with it decades of tattoo tradition. Grosso brings the proceeds from the sales to Newburgh in Upstate NY, where deVita has lived since leaving NYC in the nineties.

At a time where the media focuses its lens on Justin Bieber's tattoos and the countless reality shows, it's heartening to see an artist, who has given so much to tattooing, get the recognition he deserves.



Jan201311
08:40 AM
devita.jpg
Legendary NYC artist/tattooist Thom deVita (featured in a five-part series from Tattoo Age) will be a part of a major event at Kings Ave Tattoo NYC in conjunction with VICE all this weekend.  There will be an art sale of Thom's work featuring books, art boxes and stencil-rubbings - plus, Thom himself will be there all weekend! 

If that weren't enough, a crew of heavyweight artists will be tattooing on location all weekend. Scott Harrison will be there will be tattooing deVita-inspired tattoos on Saturday and Sunday and we'll witness the work process of Chris O'Donnell as well as the stellar King's Ave crew: Mike Rubendall, Grez, Brian Paul, Justin Weatherholtz, Jason Tyler Grace and Frankie Caraccioli (check out the whole Kings Ave team's portfolio here).

PLUS, should you want to get tattooed, some of the guys will be taking walk-ins all weekend and Grez will be taking walk-ins all day Sunday.

What: Thom deVita Pop Up Gallery with VICE's Tattoo Age
When: January 11th-13th
Where: King's Ave | 188 Bowery (at Spring St), NYC - 2nd floor
Time: 12-9pm daily Friday and Saturday, 1-7pm on Sunday

(Full Disclosure: Marisa and I will be there on Friday around 6pm should you want to stop in and say hello to two blogger-dorks)
Dec201221
04:12 PM


The final installment of Vice's "Tattoo Age" series focusing on Thom deVita has been launched (and it's quite a viewing, clocking in at over 24 minutes).  Watch the installment above and don't forget to check out the entire series on the Vice website.

In conjunction with the end of this wonderful, five-part film, Kings Ave Tattoo and Vice will be hosting an art show/sale on January 11-13th.

(Via the @kingsavetattoo Instagram account):

Thom's one of a kind creative rubbings from tattoo stencils, art boxes, signed books, and more will be available for purchase.  The legendary artist himself will also be present to talk about his art and Scott Harrison will be tattooing deVita inspired tattoos Saturday and Sunday [...] Chris O'Donnell, Timothy Hoyer and [Mike] Rubendall himself will be present and working in the city alongside the everyday crew.

Kings Ave Tattoo is located at 188 Bowery at the corner of Spring St. (on the second floor) in NYC. We'll see you there!
Dec201213
07:40 PM


More Thom deVita goodness from Vice's Tattoo Age series.

In the fourth installment of this five-part feature, Thom talks about living and working in NYC's Lower East Side, with its grit, guns and junkies, before the luxury hotels and couture boutiques of today. An added bonus is artist and documentarian Clayton Patterson offering some history of the tattoo and art scene of LES, including stories and photos of Mike Mallone and Kate Hellenbrand's time with Thom, which changed their lives. Ed Hardy, Nick Bubash and other tattoo legends also share some of their own personal stories about Thom's innovation and influence.

For me, the highlight is right at the beginning:  Thom removing his shirt to show his Huck Spaulding dragon backpiece done in the sixties, a massive work tattooed at a time when people just didn't get big work. And you know, it still looks fantastic -- true to the adage, "Bold will hold."

Check all the Thom deVita episodes:
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Dec201206
12:37 PM


You know who likes John Coltrane? People who don't like jazz.

While I disagree with that statement 100%, I'm still loving the Vice Tattoo Age series on (the steadfastly opinionated) Thom deVita.  Check out part 3 above or click here to view it on YouTube.
Nov201229
08:50 AM


Vice.com dropped Part 2 of their Tattoo Age feature on Thom deVita, continuing to honor a man who gave so much to tattooing for so long. 

It starts off heavy, focusing on Thom's tremors in his hands from Parkinson's disease, but as he speaks about the seriousness of aging, he laughs and continues to make art in the process. That humor is ever-present throughout the video, particularly in his interactions with Nick Bubash, his longtime friend, whom he taught to tattoo in the 70s, and they still create together today.  Artists of the new generation of tattooists pay reverence to Thom in the video as well, and it's an important reminder that we need to keep this respect for the craft and its history, and take care of our own.

If you haven't seen Part 1, check it here.
Nov201226
08:11 AM


The much anticipated first installment of the five-part Tattoo Age episode featuring Thom DeVita is now online -- and it is a history lesson that you should not miss. Here's more from Vice on the segment:

Even though Thom has been tattooing and creating art for almost 50 years, there isn't much information out there about him. He started tattooing in New York City's Lower East Side in the mid 60s--when tattooing was illegal in the city--and quickly began to forge his own style.

Thom drew from a wide variety of infliuences for his tattoos, everything from Pueblo Indian designs to Lord and Taylor shopping bags. He also formed relationships with other American tattooers who were revolutionizing tattooing by bringing in influences that went far beyond the usual array of images found in most American tattoo parlors at the time.

We interviewed Ed Hardy, Nick Bubash, Clayton Patterson, Scott Harrison, Angelo Scotto, John Wyatt, Robert Ryan, and Bubba Reeves to help tell Thom's incredible story.
Part 2 drops this Wednesday. Will link as well when it's up.
Nov201201
01:33 PM


Breaking from their usual (but excellent) short-form, Vice's "Tattoo Age" series will be doing a five-part series on Thom deVita, who began tattooing during the "illegal era" of NYC ink in the 1960s.

The series of "inter-visits" (Thom doesn't do "interviews") debuts on November 21st on the Tattoo Age website.
Sep201205
11:23 AM


Vice TV's fantastic video series, "Tattoo Age," is coming back for a second season with promises of more kickass artist profiles. The line-up includes the legendary Thom Devita, Japan's Mutsuo of Three Tides Tattoo, and London's Valerie Vargas, the first woman tattooist profiled on the series.

The first episode goes online next week. Here's more info from Vice:

First up, on September 12, we have Valerie Vargas, who lives and works in London and is widely know for doing the most beautiful "lady head" tattoos around. Then on October 10 we have Mutsuo, a tattooer from Osaka, Japan, who learned from the great American artists who traveled to the shop where he worked in the early 00s. Mutsuo is known for his ability to flawlessly tattoo in just about any style. The season finale, on November 10, will feature Thom deVita, who started tattooing in New York City in the 60s, when tattooing was illegal in all five boroughs. Thom synthesized his environment into his tattoos and created quite possibly the most unique style of all time.

We'll be posting the videos as they go live so you don't miss an episode.
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EDITOR IN CHIEF:
Marisa Kakoulas
CONTRIBUTORS:
Miguel Collins
Craig Dershowitz
Brian Grosz
Sean Risley
Patrick Sullivan
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