Tattoo Patterns Biography
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Tattooer and Artist Thom DeVita to stage Bowery
exhibit featuring five decades of artwork
(Newburgh, NY) Today, the 81-year-old tattooer and artist Thom
DeVita announced that on January 10th, 11th, and 12th, he will
participate in “Odd Art,” his second solo art show and sale at
Kings Ave Tattoo in New York City. Within the increasingly diverse
tattoo community, DeVita is consistently held up as an innovator,
responsible for bridging the gap between tattooing’s military- and
biker-influenced “old school” and its stylistically all-encompassing
present iteration. On display for the first time ever will be some
of his earliest known paintings: three watercolor and ink drawings
dating from the late 1950s.
DeVita was born and raised in East Harlem, and began tattooing on
the Lower East Side in 1961, the same year that the New York City
Health Department banned the practice city-wide. He worked illegally
for four decades, receiving customers in a converted apartment on a
drug-ridden block deep in Alphabet City. In 1991, he relocated to
Newburgh, New York, just six years before the tattoo ban was lifted.
In 2003, DeVita stopped tattooing professionally, shifting his focus
to what he calls “creative rubbings”—acetate tattoo stencils placed
under thin paper and rubbed over with a dry medium. Borrowing from
the visual chaos of his urban upbringing, the kinetic execution of
mid-century painters like Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline, and the
simple, iconographic style of American tattooing, DeVita continues
to apply his designs to any surface that will take pigment—including
the floorboards of his Victorian home—enabling the show’s claim that
there will be “1,000 pieces of original art” for sale.
He’ll also be showing some of his most unusual work: the original
pieces of “flash,” painted in the 1970s, that hung on the walls of
his studio, illustrating for his clients the types of designs he
could apply. Traditionally, tattoo parlors display this imagery in
the manner of an art gallery—framed, and printed on archival paper—
but DeVita’s prized flash was painted on wooden slats salvaged from
discarded fruit crates.
This will be DeVita’s second show at Kings Ave. (His first show,
in January of 2013, was his first ever in New York City, and the
artist sold a total of 85 pieces to fellow tattoo artists and art
enthusiasts alike.) The tattooers Scott Harrison of Portland, OR,
and Bubba Reeves of Los Angeles, CA, will be accepting walk-in
tattoo appointments during the show. The show was organized by Chris
Grosso, a video producer at Vice, who profiled DeVita in several
episodes of the online channel’s “Tattoo Age” series.
It has been such a great couple of weeks working with Valerie Vargas. What an absolute pleasure it was to have her with us at Kings Avenue Tattoo. She and Stewart are such talented and friendly people. The tattoo community is lucky to have them and we are fortunate to have worked with both. We are going to be so sorry to see her leave. It was an honor to watch her kill it day after day, she is a true talent, with the body of work to prove it.
Valerie Vargas, Valerie vargas tattoo, medusa, medusa head, medusa tattoo, best shop nyc, best tattoo studio nyc
This Madussa tattoo was the first piece Valerie did on her guest spot with us at Kings Avenue Tattooing N.Y.C. That is what you call hitting the ground running. It just set a tone for the great days to follow.
Valerie Vargas, Valarie Vargas tattoo, belly dancer tattoo, best tattoo studio nyc, best tattoo shop, woman tattoo This belly dancer has such an attention to detail that Valerie Vargas is known for.
Valerie Vargas tattoo, punk rock chick, punk rock girl tattoo, girl with tattoos, best tattoo studio nyc, best tattoo shop A punk rock Virgin Mary, was another piece of beautiful and strong female imagery, that seemed to be the prevailing subject of Valerie's trip. And with a piece like this, no one is complaining.
Valerie Vargas, woman tattoo, girl head, best tattoo nyc West Coast meets West End, well really Big Ben isn't really West End but close enough.
Valerie Vargas, Joan of arc tattoo, best tattoo studio nyc, best tattoo ny Valerie would like to die in her sleep. Grez wants to be eaten by sharks and John would like to go in a plane crash. But all three agree that none of them would like to be burned at the stake like Joan of Arc.
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Thank you so much Valerie for a great two weeks. Get home safe and give our best to Stewart. We look forward to your next visit to N.Y.C. and you guys always have a home with us at Kings Avenue Tattooing.