Deep Ellum Put Up New Light Pole Banners Designed By Local Tattoo Artists. Here They All Are If You’re Too Lazy To Go See Them.
If you’ve taken a (sober…or sober-ish) walk around Deep Ellum these past couple weeks, you may have noticed a couple of additions in the district’s sea of art.
The Deep Ellum Foundation partnered with neighborhood tattoo artists to create ten new streetlight pole banners, each with its own unique design inspired by and honoring the soul of Dallas’ entertainment district. It’s been a tradition to feature different local artist’s work every season in this fashion, but this is the second time the organization showcased art from tattooists — the first being back in 2017.
There are nine brand new designs and one done by Norman Dean Williams, the co-owner of Elm Street Tattoo who died this past summer of a heart attack. His work of a dark-haired cowgirl with bright blue eyeshadow alongside a white horse hangs proudly from multiple light poles up and down the streets of Deep Ellum, including right outside the iconic shop he helped found.
These banners feature artists from four different tattoo shops in the neighborhood — Elm Street Tattoo, Artistic Encounter, Dallas Tattoo & Arts Company and Taboo Tattoo.
It’s real cold out there these days, so we’ll save you the trip if you’re wanting to stay in for the time being. Here are the banners you can find along Main and Elm Street, along their respective artists.
The piece is done by the late Williams of Elm Street Tattoo. Mike Duncan — Dallas Tattoo and Arts Company
This tattoo artist of three years started out as a pastor and then a teacher. Duncan has soft spot for fantasy, which shows through this piece. He tells us it doesn’t have a grand meaning, he just wanted to combine imagery that he loves. “Austin is cool and all,” he says, “but I feel that Dallas is much better at keeping it weird.”Kat Freedman — Taboo Tattoo
Starting a career in calligraphy, Freedman turned to tattooing after exploring sign painting and murals. She landed a feature in the Norman Collins Art Exhibit at the Harley Davidson Museum in Wisconsin, which made her fall in love American Traditional tattoo styles, which she specializes in.
Cody Biggs — Taboo Tattoo
Biggs was one of the artists featured in the round of banners in 2017, having done a design of a tiger. Son of the founder of Taboo Tattoo, Sharon and Jimmy Flatte, he’s been mentored by big-name artists since childhood and started his career at 17.
Chelsi Morrow — Taboo Tattoo
Morrow has spent seven of her nine years as a tattoo artist with Taboo, Dallas’ oldest tattoo shop. Taking a peep at her Instagram page, you’ll find her whimsical and colorful pieces have a big focus on florals and animals — accurately reflected here in her banner.
David Nash — Elm Street Tattoo
Specializing in tattooing (obviously) Nash also has experience in painting, sculpting, graphic design, prop making and metal and wood working. Elm Street Tattoo has been around for over 20 years and started the Friday the 13th tradition.
Ham Rasul — Artistic Encounter
Born in Kabul, Afghanistan, Rasul is a life-long artist and has been with the studio for about a year-and-a-half. His design features Deep Ellum’s Walking Man that we all know and love. Rasul offers lettering, traditional and black and gray tattoos.
Rudy Hetzer — Dallas Tattoo and Arts Company
Hetzer’s featured piece if from his “Veiled” painting series and was created with mixed media. In addition to tattooing, he’s a muralist and painter. You can his work in magazines like International Tattoo, Inked Magazine, Tattoo Magazine and Texas Inked Magazine. Dallas Observer named him the Best Tattoo Artist in 2019. Kendall Kirkland — Taboo Tattoo
The pegasus was designed by this graduate of Booker T. Washington High School. Kirkland has been tattooing with the studio for five years. Damian Reign — Dallas Tattoo and Arts Company
Inspired by the nightlife culture of the neighborhood, Reign’s design spotlights the boozier side of Deep Ellum. He specializes in combining new school and old school styles for a neo-traditional look and his studio was awarded Best Tattoo Studio in Dallas the past seven years by the Dallas Awards Program.
All photos by Frances Tingle.