Every month I write about some of the best tattoo shops the Tri-State Area has to offer. This month, I chose to do something a little bit different than I’ve done in the past eight years. I’ve stepped away from the shops and decided to write about this amazing book that I received a few weeks ago called Beyond Tattoo by London-based tattoo artist Allan Graves. The book encompasses remarkable artwork by more than 50 artists from around the world.
Allan Graves, also known as the “King Of The Creepy Castle,” runs Haunted Tattoos in London. His artwork has seen the skin of bodies in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Ibiza, Berlin, and Barcelona. He is the owner of and leading artist at London’s famous Haunted Tattoos. Graves is best known for his “comic book on the skin” style of artwork and his love of anything that has to do with zombies. It’s actually pretty funny that he describes his work as a “mix between Scooby-Doo meets The Misfits.” Graves doesn’t spend all of his time doing creepy tattoos, however. According to his bio, he still loves drawing and finds time in his busy schedule of tattooing and “grave robbing” (I hope this isn’t true!) to create custom illustrations for anything from album covers and posters to t-shirt designs for companies such as Kreepsville 666, Darkside and Iron Fist, just to name a few.
Beyond Tattoo is actually the second book to be released by Graves. His first, The Zombook, was a collection of zombie art created by over 200 artists around the world. He actually has a third book on the way in August of this year called New Blood Tattoo: Flash, Inspiration And Art Reinvented, which takes a look at the international vanguard of tattoo artists, including cutting edge blends of art styles and genres. Graves feels that the world of tattoo has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, with skin art growing more and more ubiquitous, and he wants to the world to see this.
Beyond Tattoo demonstrates that fine arts and tattoos are distinctly linked. More and more traditional artists are experimenting with ink while tattoo artists are moving beyond the skin. This book showcases the awe-inspiring crossover of traditional and tattoo with amazing visceral imagery by more than 50 artists from around the world like Ariel 7 from Spain, Barthez from Bulgaria, George Campise from Berkeley, CA, Adam Collins from London, Patrick Conlon from right here in NYC, Matt Difa also from London (he was one of my favorites in the book), Sergi Enfruns from Barcelona, Ganji from Osaka, Japan, and of course, Allan Graves from London. The list can go on and on, but it’s the illustrations in this book that makes you want to go down to your local tattoo shop to get more ink.
The artwork in Beyond Tattoo is simply breathtaking, not to mention the book makes a great coffee table read. With every artist comes a mini-biography about where they hail from followed by a three- to four-page portfolio of each artist’s work. Now, like I said earlier, this is not your average tattoo book. It showcases the artwork by these artists on a different canvas other than skin. So, if you expect to see a book full of tattoos, this one is not for you. If you want to see what artists are capable of when they are not tattooing, you will love this book from an art lover’s standpoint.
I still haven’t gotten through all of Beyond Tattoo yet because of all the artwork included, but fans of tattooing will love this. You can buy it at any book retailer in the country or there’s always amazon.com, who are selling it for about $25. For more info on Beyond Tattoo, log onto ipgbook.com.
Well, I’m off to check out my next tattoo spot! Who knows what state it will be in! If you have a tattoo shop that you want to suggest, please e-mail me the name of the place and whom I should ask for at firstname.lastname@example.org.