It’s really great when an artist you respect finally gets his due. Thom DeVita has been one of the most unique American tattooers his entire career, redefining the art and including his personal aesthetic more distinctly than just about anyone that I can think of, a folk style of art that is at odds with what is considered ‘cutting edge’ or special effects tattooing.
Ed Hardy shined the spotlight on him in Tattoo Time V (which you can find as part of a reprint package here. It’s indispensable) which did a lot to expose his ‘outsider’ art to a new generation of young tattoo artists, but it was the release of the five part VICETV Tattoo Age (again: here. Watch it and come back, we’ll be waiting) that will, when all of the cards are dealt, hopefully establish him as an artist who’s work transcends the medium. I’ve heard it said that DeVita always just called himself an artist, not a tattoo artist, and with the public finally embracing (and one might even say consuming) tattoo art as a legitimate medium I can only hope that Thom’s work will get the attention it truly deserves.
Chris Grosso, the producer of the Tattoo Age series, and Mike Rubendall of King’s Avenue Tattoo, set up a DeVita popup gallery a few weeks ago to help Thom’s art get out into the world. The walls of King’s Ave were covered with his distinctly DeVita work; mashups of acetate tattoo stencil rubbings, scrolls… all as interesting as the fella who created them. Dan Meyer and Bernardo Garcia snapped the following photos and I’m pleased as punch to be sharing them with y’all. Daniel Higgs, Civ, Nick Bubash are featured in the ones that are going up today, but check back soon- I’ve also got some really great shots of some of Thom’s most recent work.
Thanks to Chris and Mike for setting all this up, and of course to Thom, for everything else!