13 Killer Tattooers To Get Excited About Seeing at This Weekend's Elm Street Tattoo Convention.
When we initially asked Elm Street Tattoo artist Chris Erickson to help us call out a list of the best artists who were going to be at the first-ever Elm Street Music & Tattoo Convention, he was a bit hesitant.
For the most part, the 50 or so artists set to be plying their crafts in The Prophet Bar's big room this weekend — he assured us — could all be considered among the top names in the world.
But with a little arm-twisting, Erickson finally relented and agreed to help us highlight some of the biggest out-of-town artists of the bunch, including a few names you might recognize from television and some of the most respected names within the industry.
So, in no particular order, here are 13 reasons you might want to scoop up a ticket to this weekend's convention sooner than later, along with a little commentary from Erickson about why you should be excited heading into the weekend.
Name: Jeff Rassier.
Hometown: San Francisco.
What you need to know: “Rassier co-owns Black Heart Tattoo in San Francisco. Jeff's known for doing some pretty out-there artwork. It's still a lot of classic tattoo imagery, but he does some weirdo art, so to say. It's pretty popular. He's well-known for that kind of stuff.”
Name: Scott Sylvia.
Hometown: San Francisco.
What you need to know: “[Along with Rassier, Sylvia co-owns Black Heart Tattoo in San Francisco.] He's just an all-around great tattooer and machine-builder. He would definitely be considered one of the top 10 tattooers in the world.”
Name: Freddy Corbin.
What you need to know: “He's a little bit older. He owns a shop in Oakland called Temple Tattoo. He came up in the Bay Area, working for Ed Hardy. Freddy's known for black and grey, and lettering and names. It's a little bit gangster. He's a strong part of the Oakland establishment. He's kind of the man as far as that style goes.”
Name: Ross Nagle.
Hometown: Limerick, Ireland.
What you need to know: “Nagle's been around, doing the convention circuit and coming to Dallas [for years]. He's a really great tattooer. He's super busy every time he comes to town. He does old-school, but with a pretty progressive flavor on it. He's been getting really popular internationally over the past couple of years.”
Name: Beppe Strambini.
Hometown: Verona, Italy.
What you need to know: “He does a lot of old-school stuff [and represents another big name coming from overseas].”
Name: Thomas Hooper.
Hometown: London/New York.
What you need to know: “He does really elaborate work that takes a really long time. A lot of it is sacred geometry-based. He does a lot of black and grey and stipple-dot shading. A lot of the effects he uses like that are really cool, but it's really time-consuming stuff. He's been one of the leaders helping to develop this new style of black work [that differs] from just the regular old tribal that you see all the time. His English roots [give his work a dark, gothic spin].”
Name: Chris Nunez.
What you need to know: “He's one of the co-owners [of the shop on Miami Ink], and he's been involved in a lot of other media, [including being a judge on Ink Master]. He's been friends with Oliver [Peck] for a long time.”
Name: Small Paul.
Home: Los Angeles.
What you need to know: “Has worked in a number of heavy-hitting shops over the years. He works at True Tattoo in Hollywood now, which is co-owned by Oliver, and is kind of like a sister shop to Elm Street Tattoo. He was recently given a Japanese tattoo name by Horiyoshi III, who is the foremost Japanese tattooer from Yokohama. It's a really honorable thing to have happen. Over the past 10 years, he's grown into doing this phenomenal Japanese work.”
Name: Tim Hendricks.
Home: Los Angeles.
What you need to know: “He's been involved in some television shows [Miami Ink and New York Ink], so he's had some media exposure. He's a great Los Angeles staple. He does excellent black and grey, realistic tattooing. He's one of the best guys on the West Coast as far as that's concerned. He's a machine-builder, skateboarder, and cool dude.”
Name: Richard Stell.
What you need to know: “He's one of the main guys Oliver learned to tattoo from. Back in the '90s in Deep Ellum, he had a shop called Paradise Tattoo. He closed down the original Paradise five to 10 years ago. When he closed down his shop, he took off on his motorcycle, sold all his belongings and traveled the country, going from shop to shop, doing a few weeks here, a week there, etc. He's an old-school guy that a lot of people look up to, learn from and knock off his ideas. Now he's up in Tulsa, [about to] open up a new Paradise up there. He's going to settle down again, finally.”
Name: Mike Wilson.
What you need to know: “He's a pretty traditional tattooer, machine-builder, and all-around cool guy. A bunch of young kids always rip off all his stuff. He's famous for doing panthers and panther heads. If you see a panther head tattoo done by a young dude these days, it's probably ripped off from a Mike Wilson panther head. He's just one of those dudes that everybody looks up to.”
Name: Aaron Coleman.
Home: Mesa, Arizona.
What you need to know: “He's an Americana/old-school tattooer. He's known for the fun way he does things. He's kind of wacky, kind of a weirdo. He's got some cool stuff.”
Name: Forrest Cavacco.
Home: Plymouth, Massachusetts.
What you need to know: “He was just a guest judge on the last season of Ink Master. That's the biggest thing he's done media-wise, but, underground, he's kind of a big name in the tattoo community. He does a lot of conventions and gets around a lot. He does a lot of Japanese stuff.”