SOCIETY: Jacob Des

A conversation with Jacob Des.
July/August 2016, conducted via email.

In December of 2014 I was asked to make a list for Swallows and Daggers of five tattooists to watch in the coming year. Three of the five were old friends, folks who I’d been tattooed by for more than half of my life and the fourth was some skinny kid from Ohio who I’d only met once. Without a second thought, I called him one of my five favorite working tattooers.

Jacob Des. (Instagram: @jacobdes Truth and Triumph Tattoo Dayton, OH)
Jacob’s art is unapologetically strange; traditional American style tattooing meets 1950s advertising art with a very large portion of ‘what the hell am I looking at’ thrown in. I’m not sure if he’s even concerned with challenging what’s acceptable for ‘tattoo imagery’ so much as he’s confidently doing his own thing without concern for uniformity. One of my top five favorite working tattoo artists.

In July of 2016, Des and I decided to forgo a standard formatted “Q&A” interview and instead chose to just chat back and forth until BEST INTENTIONS editor Ash told us we’d hit our deadline, eschewing anything resembling cohesiveness in favor of mindless rambling. (more…)

Tattoo Uprising Trailer

Tattoo Uprising Trailer from Documentary Arts on Vimeo.

Documentary filmmaker Alan Govenor, the director behind the quintessential tattoo documentary Stoney Knows How, has a new film out featuring vintage footage of Ed Hardy, Captn Don Leslie, Werner Herzog, and more! From the press release:

“From antiquity to the present, Tattoo Uprising reveals the artistic and historical roots of today’s tattoo explosion. This sweeping overview explores Biblical references and early Christian practices before moving on to the voyages of Captain James Cook and finally to our modern day, ever-evolving use of the tattoo in the Western world.

Alan Govenar began work on this film in 1980 while finishing his infamous short documentary Stoney Knows How. Tattoo Uprising features some of the most extraordinary people of the tattoo world including Ed Hardy, Stoney St. Clair, Cynthia Witkin, Calamity Jane, Anne de Hey! and more, as well as an unforgettable appearance by filmmaker Werner Herzog, who allows a rare glimpse at his Ed Hardy tattoo. The film was shot in part by the late legendary filmmaker Les Blank, who also appears on camera.”

You can find out more info, including the theatrical release schedule, here:

Tattoo Archive on Vimeo

Tattoo Archive – Winston-Salem N.C. from Paint & Paper Films on Vimeo.

 Scott from Yellowbeak pointed me in the direction of this great video of Chuck Eldridge/Tattoo Archive from the folks at Paint & Paper Films. It’s always a treat to hear Chuck talking about tattoo history; particularly the history of North Carolina tattooing.

Polishing the Black Stone: Scott Boyer


Earlier this week I was asked to appear on a podcast. I declined. Luckily for us, Scott of Yellow Beak Press isn’t as curmudgeonly as me; he sat down with artist Nick Filth for an episode of Polishing the Black Stone. You can listen to the episode (or check out previous casts) here:

Scott Boyer is one of Nick’s closest friends despite the distance between them. Nick had recently taken a trip to Colorado Springs to visit Scott with the intentions of doing Sensory Deprivation. It was Nick’s first time, and they immediately recorded the podcast after. The hour an a half podcast is the result.