I had the pleasure of hanging out with legendary tattooer Eddy Deutsche at his Los Angeles studio. Here are some highlights from my visit.
First off, if you are not yet familiar with the work of Eddy Deutsche, visit his website here. I have been tattooed by a lot of people over the last few years. Being in Eddy’s chair was one of the most comfortable and fun experiences I have ever had while being tattooed. If you find yourself in a position to get work from him, do it.
Here is a little more info on his career:
Being from Detroit, Michigan, Eddy became interested in tattooing at young age and influenced by people from his neighborhood and in the punk rock scene. With those images to work from he hand poked his first tattoo on his hand at age twelve. After practicing on himself he found that the Punk rock scene had lots of volunteers for receiving tattoos. With them, he played with homemade tattoo machines until about age fourteen. Around fourteen he had an opportunity to use professional equipment that he obtained from someone who was making a documentary about tattooing. “A friend arranged for me to do a tattoo on him with borrowed gear.” Around 1982 a tattooist in Detroit called “Mel the Head” said that Eddy could find an apprenticeship in California. So, in 1983, Deutsche hitchhiked from Detroit to San Francisco. There, he swept up and cleaned at Lyle Tuttle? shop on 7th street, but found that he was too young for an apprenticeship. So, he went south to Los Angeles where he tried again to seek an apprenticeship. He had no luck, but he did collect some great tattoos from Bob Roberts and Marc Mahoney. Finally, he got his first job tattooing in 1986 from Kinzie B. in San Diego. He worked day and night on marines, sailors and alternative types. A year later he started his trek working across the country. He spent a most enlightening time with tattooist Paul Rodgers in Jackson Beach, Florida. “Paul built and taught me to build my own tattoo machines. He blessed me and my career by contributing their (machines built by Rodgers and Deutsche), first marks, a tribal style tattoo on his 85-year-old foot.” “When I moved to New York, my time was spent solely working, experimenting with my abilities honing skills, developing my craft and artistic range. My interest in Japanese style tattooing and culture was my main focus.” His big break happened with an invite from Don Ed Hardy to accompany him on a work trip to Tokyo Japan. “Of course, I jumped at it and had one of the most amazing times of my life.” Six months later Hardy decided he would open a street shop in San Francisco “Tattoo City” with Freddy Corbin, Dan Higgs and Eddy Deutsche, “if I were so inclined”. “I was in New Jersey working at about 2:30 a.m. when I received the call. Of course, thirty seconds did not pass before I accepted.” It was July 1, 1991 when Tattoo City opened. Deutsche moved to SF and worked at Tattoo City until July 1 1995. During this time Deutsche became friends with Horitaku of the Horitoshi Family. He made several trips to work with Horitaku at his studio in Sendagaya, Tokyo. Horitaku would also come to work with Eddy in San Francisco. In October 1996, “222 Tattoo SF” opened, Eddy’s first tattoo shop. It was a dynamic collaboration of tattoo artist working there with Jeff Rassier, Scott Sylvia and Gary Kosmala, later came Jesse Tuesday and Juan Puente. “During my career I have had the good fortune to be tattooed by many great artists who inspire me and continue to do so. I always try to have the capability to create many styles and looks. Playing with new things and combining old things help my versatility and flow. I feel these are my strong points.” In 2000, Deutsche completed training one apprentice by the name of Hector Fong. “His dedication to the art and hard work continues to grow.” You can find Hector in Oakland, California at Tattoo 13. “222 Tattoo SF” closed in 2000 because Deutsche found it to be too much to run a business and do the work that he loves so much. Since the closing, he works in a private studio in Oakland. He is currently planning to move to Los Angeles and find a job close to home.
Here are some shots from around the studio. I love the kids toys lying on the ground in front of the prints. Kind of shows you a side you don’t think about when tattoos come to mind. So much art there was nowhere else to put it.
Books. The most important tool.
That is his son with the boxing gloves in the photo above. The kid is a prodigy. The finger paintings below were done when he was 2 years old with out assistance from anyone. Definitely going to follow this kids career very closely. Looking forward to being tattooed by him some day. The detail and the lighting on the moose is absolutely mind blowing to me.
If the man wasn’t already busy enough with his family, tattooing and opening a juice bar, he recently kicked off his latest venture in collaboration with Andrew Fingerhut called Raking Light Projects. From their website:
“RakingLightProjects.com is a website that sells original art and collectible prints created by skilled tattoo artists.
We believe our mix of original art and artist original prints offers high-quality artwork at varied prices so virtually anyone can make a purchase and experience art appreciation and ownership.
All artwork (original art and prints) featured on the site has been created exclusively for Raking Light Projects. All prints are produced in limited numbers, single editions of 25 or 50 prints max, using artwork that was created only for print production.
We work directly and closely with all participating artists and a small group of vetted printmakers to ensure that all resulting work is produced correctly and reflects the quality and effort that went into the original creative process.”
Artists currently producing work through the site include Jondix, Tim Lehi, Bert Krak, Timothy Hoyer, Guy Aitchison, Carlos “Went” and Derrick Snodgrass, quite an impressive line up. While at his studio I was able to thumb through many of the prints that were recently made for the site. Here are some of my favorites:
Check out more work from Raking Light Projects at rakinglightprojects.com clicking through some of the prints is well worth your time.