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.
What 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.
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:
Celebrity 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
One 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?Check more work from Thomas on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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.
The 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.