Tattoo Artists Archives


Jan201410
08:56 AM
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It's really exciting to find artists with distinct styles who are able to take common themes and make them very much their own. One such artist is Cody Eich, currently at Studio 13 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I shot Cody a few questions about his work and he graciously took the time to offers thoughtful responses:

You're able to meld very different artistic influences together to great effect. What's your process like in putting it all together?

I've always loved contrast and balance.  Generally, I like to use one form or color to compliment the other in some way.  I also like breaking the rules.  I like putting objects or shapes in my artwork that aren't normally there.  Don't get me wrong, I think there are plenty of technical rules that need to be learned and followed by any tattoo artist, which are things that a fine artist or someone using another medium wouldn't necessarily have to worry about.  I always think about how a piece will last over time as it ages, my linework and saturation of a tattoo, but I've always loved that there is no real "right" answer to the artwork in tattooing or in other creative fields, so I feel free in my work when I get to break the rules. 

Where do you draw your inspiration and references?

I always say nature and the universe we live in are absolutely the most interesting art created by the most creative creator.  The seemingly chaotic but complete order of nature and the relationship between every living things is absolutely astounding to me.  Ordered chaos.  So, I love using natural things as reference for my tattoos, whether it be a person, animal, plant, rocks and geology, or anything else.  I find mechanical things or manmade things less interesting.  That being said, I also worked at an engineering firm for seven years prior to tattooing, and I find myself inadvertently and sometimes purposefully drawing inspiration from plan sheets and other civil engineering based imagery.  Things like topographic style lines, engineering linetypes from computer aided drawing programs will often pop up in my paintings and tattoos next to, or juxtaposed with, natural subject matter.  Lastly, I am continually inspired by other artists, fine and tattoo based, and being new to the industry I have so much to learn still from people who have been doing this much longer than I have.

Rooster.jpgWhat point in your tattoo career did you feel that your own particular style broke through -- or did you begin tattooing your own art from the outset?

When I started painting before I was tattooing, I felt free to paint whatever I wanted because it was mine, and it was for me in my head.  There were no consequences.  With tattoos, it took me a bit to really put "my" mark on someone else.  Because my clients didn't start off asking for geometric shapes and other design elements that I like using, my tattoos were very stunted until I was encouraged by the owners of Studio 13 in Fort Wayne to make the art I wanted rather than strictly what the client was asking for.  From the time I started working there in 2012, they encouraged me to redraw my tattoos for clients before I tattooed them if I hadn't added my touch to the line drawings.  Once I started getting some of these tattoos that were more my style out there, people seemed to like them, so it really encouraged me to push things a bit more and develop something unique that I wanted to do. 

In a number of your tattoos, I see forms that look like constellations -- what's your intention behind them?

People always assume the shapes that you're talking about in my tattoos are constellations, so I sometimes just make up a name for them as if they are actually out there in space.  I have only actually tattooed one real constellation ever.  They are really just design elements that I started playing with as a way to put geometric, angular shapes next to organic forms in my artwork.  Contrast.

BIRD HAND.jpg I read on your Tumblr page that you will be making the move to Southern Ontario. Is that still in the works? Where can people find you in the next few months?

I am from the States, but am immigrating to Canada as my wife, Alisha, is from Canada.  After we got married in December 2012, we filled out all the paperwork and jumped through all the hoops with that and were able to submit our paperwork in March 2013.  I believe the average processing time is about a year, so I'm hoping that March of 2014 will mean I will be okay to live and work in Canada as a permanent resident.  In the meantime I have been okayed to live in Canada while I'm waiting to work, so I live with my wife in Brantford, Ontario and return to the States every month for about a week and a half to work with the wonderful people at Studio 13 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  I'm hoping to be working full time in Canada sometime around March 2014 and am adding people to a wait list for once this happens, so I can start scheduling appointments as soon as my paperwork goes through.

For more on Cory, click:
Codyeichtattoo.com
Instagram: @codyeichtattoo
Facebook facebook.com/cody.eich
Tumblr codyeich.tumblr.com
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Dec201323
08:59 AM

MattEllis_homeless portrait1.jpgCelebrity portraits are common tattoo odes that pay tribute (whether seriously or ironically) to someone whom the wearer may not have met, but feels a connection to. What if the person being memorialized on one's body is not on the A-List, but instead, has been marginalized and often ignored by society? Tattooist Matt C. Ellis uses his particular skills in tattoo realism and offers clients a chance to make a connection with those who are forgotten, shedding light on the issues of poverty and homeless.

Matthew, who has been tattooing for 12 years, is working on a project that involves tattooing portraits of New York City homeless individuals on clients for free, and any money a client gives is donated to a homeless charity. I asked him about his project, which he graciously answered in this Q & A below:

What sparked this project and what keeps driving it? Is it a political statement or just a humanist act?

I started this project because I find the subject of homeless culture very intriguing. To have such a large percentage of our populace so overlooked; these persons are right outside our door but we continue to ignore the homeless. When I tattoo these portraits, I am trying to raise awareness for their plight and our culture's disregard and dehumanization of homeless individuals in our society. I tattoo these portraits for free, and 100% of any money that the client decides to give me is directly donated to a local NYC homeless charity.

When I was living in Miami, I developed friendships with many homeless persons, most of whom were war veterans. I became close to these people and developed a certain connection with them. One of the persons I particularly became close with was a local artist in the area, and through this friendship, I continued to make more friends that happened to be living homeless.

The experiences that I have had with some of these individuals is what I am trying to capture in my works of art. I am trying to portray a glimpse into the raw interaction between myself and these persons. Some of these personalities can be so beautiful and are overlooked in our culture, and I'm trying to look at this concept in a broader sense. This project is not just about homeless individuals, but how our culture lives -- the way that we take many of our comforts for granted. We place so much value on the material. We cherish material beauty and what we see on magazine covers and television. I find these homeless individuals to have more of a raw and powerful quality to themselves that is extremely intriguing.


MattEllis_homeless portrait2.jpgWho are these people whose portraits you are tattooing?

The faces that I create these portraits from vary from homeless people that I have a close friendship with, to homeless persons that I have randomly encountered and approached. Each of these persons I converse with and take photos of, which I use as reference and inspiration for my artwork. When I approach an individual, I will walk up to the person and straightforwardly ask if I can take a few photos of them. Some of these individuals are taken aback and are cautious of my intent. I try to explain to them more about my project and what I am trying to accomplish. I go on to tell them my views about how I see an unfiltered beauty within them that cannot be found on the cover of a fashion magazine. About half of the people don't agree with me but appreciate my ideas. Many of the people I speak to outright deny my claims and cannot see the beauty within themselves.

Once the person I am speaking to becomes more comfortable with the idea of my project, I begin to take photos randomly. I do not ask the person to pose and I do not look through the viewfinder. I hold the camera at different angles and push the shutter button randomly, attempting to capture a glimpse of that moment experienced between us. I do not interview these persons, but rather "hang out" with them and try to capture an unfiltered, raw experience with this other human being.

MattEllis_homeless portrait3.jpg

For those who wear these portraits, what are their thoughts about immortalizing people whom they may not have a personal connection with?

People will get tattoo portraits of celebrities who they do not know personally and will not think twice about it. They may do this because they find the imagery beautiful or they admire the person. When a client is interested in getting one of my homeless portrait tattoos, they are usually drawn to the idea of the project, and they like the fact that there is a strong meaning behind the tattoo. It is a piece of art with a purpose and is also raising awareness. My clients like that they have something more than just an image on their skin. Art is about ideas and making people think. I am trying to help push my tattooing into a direction that is more fine art rather than solely illustration.

**
For more on Matt and his work, check his website and follow him on Instagram.

MattEllis_homeless portrait4.jpg
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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!
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.
Dec201205
03:57 PM
fuzi.jpg
While I try to remain abreast and aware of the street-art scene in NYC, I regretfully admit that France often passes under my radar despite their thriving community. (Plus, I often avoid any article that includes the words "Scarlet" and "Johansson")

That said, I was quite pleased to see this interview with Fuzi over at Complex as he discusses his "ignorant style" in both graffiti and tattooing.

Read the interview here and check out Fuzi's website over here.

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.
Oct201216
09:12 AM
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Even though I'm scheduled to finish up my back-piece this week with Mike Rubendall of King's Ave Tattoo, it's now possible for the Average Joe/Josephine to own and wear some of his art without the blood, sweat and waiting-list...

Rubendall's most recent painting, Alpha/Omega, is now available in a limited-edition, signed/numbered print on an aluminum panel.  Better yet, if you purchase the print, you also get a fitted New Era 59FIFTY cap in a custom package also designed by the artist.

On the outside, the black cap features a charcoal-grey embroidered snake and logo for Kings Ave, but the magic lies within: the red and black satin interior features a reproduction of the Alpha/Omega print.  (Remember: it's what's on the inside that counts...)

Only available online, limited to a run of 100 and packaged in a custom-printed box, this offer won't be around forever... unlike your tattoo. 

Click here to order!


Oct201212
06:28 PM
thomas Hooper singularities.jpg
facial tattoo hooper.jpgOne of the most sought-after artists for blackword ornamental and sacred geometry tattoos is Thomas Hooper of Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn. [In fact, he's currently not booking new clients.] Thomas is also a prolific painter and has worked on numerous design projects.

Thomas recently discussed tattoos, fine art and fatherhood with the designers at 3sixteen for their Singularities project, in which they highlight creative people in various industries.

You can read the full Singularities interview here, but I'll give you a taste:

Tell us about your first tattoo apprenticeship. What's something you learned that still rings true for you today?

I was taught how to tattoo by Jim Macairt; he gave me the foundations to begin learning about tattooing. Something he said to me that still rings true today is a question he asked me when he found out I wanted to learn (you have to realise also that I was a frightened and insecure boy so this blew my mind). He said: "What will YOU do for tattooing? You will get so much from it but what will YOU give back?" This is always in my head - how can I give back, how can I make something new and expand on what is already such an expansive wealth of inspiration and creativity.
[...]
In looking at your body of work, it's clear that you find beauty in repetition. Why is this, and where did you draw inspiration from as you developed your personal style?

I love repetition, and I realised its beauty in looking at traditional Japanese tattoos. Everything is the same but slightly different. I found inspiration in nature and I then started looking at the work of William Morris, Christopher Dresser and Ernst Haeckel - the former of which lead to my interest in textile design and repetitive patterns.
Check more work from Thomas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
.


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Oct201210
08:29 PM

Today, Part 1 of the Tattoo Age feature on Mutsuo of Three Tides Tattoo was released on Vice.com, and as anticipated from the trailer we posted last week, it provides viewers with a very real portrayal of one of Osaka's finest tattooers, artistically and on a personal level.

It opens with a great quote from Chris Garver (which was also in the trailer), about Mutsuo receiving a "90s style tattoo education" -- that is, taking every request that walked in the door and learning the skills to master the different tattoo styles requested by clients. The fact that he was mentored by all the shop's artists and guest artists played a big role in developing these skills as well. As Garver says, "He's a maverick." The footage is also a great peak into the daily life at Three Tides Tattoo.

To see more of Mutsuo's work, also check his Facebook page and Tumblr.
Oct201204
09:55 AM
Mutsuo tattoo.jpgmutsuo 3.jpgmutsuo tattoo 2.jpgThe second season of Vice's Tattoo Age video series began with the fabulous 3-part profile on Valerie Vargas of Frith Street Tattoo in London. Now, it takes us to Osaka, Japan for a peak into the life of Mutsuo of the Three Tides Tattoo. Part 1 of Mutsuo's profile drops October 10th, but the trailer below promises that it will be another great watch.

What's particularly interesting about Mutsuo, as discussed in the trailer, is that he's skilled in a variety of genres -- black & grey, old school, new school, traditional Japanese... Chris Garver remarks that his tattoo dexterity is rooted in the "90's style tattoo education" in which Mutsuo learned from all the artists, including guest tattooers, at the
renowned Three Tides Tattoo studio. Vice notes that he "went from being one of the shop's first customers, to the shop's first apprentice, to the most senior artist there." Looking forward to learning more about this progression.

While we wait for Part 1 next Wednesday, we can check Mutsuo's tattoo work on the Three Tides site, his Facebook page and Tumblr.

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