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…)
Halloween is fast approaching and soon your Instagram feed will be Inundated with tattoo shops offering quarter sized $31 tattoos that, were it not October and not thirty bucks, you’d never consider getting. Luckily there are still tattooers out there who’re still pushing the envelope of creative/cool and as per usual Jacob Des is on the top of my list. He’s going to be tattooing in Bloomington this weekend and will have some rad Halloween flash available- contact email@example.com for more information.
“Well, of course there are all manner of lesser imps and demons, Pete, but the great Satan hisself is red and scaly with a bifurcated tail, and he carries a hay fork”
Flash sheets by Dayton, Ohio’s Jacob Des are usually packed with so many rad designs that it’s hard to process it all without repeated viewing. A ship here, a row of ducklings there, the Infernal Majesty himself popping up with a creepy baseball player mentoring a young boy in the fine art of swinging. You’re usually left with a wondrous sense of what the fuck am I looking at, followed by the realization that everything you’ve just seen would make a hell of a strange tattoo.
I’ve mentioned it before, but Des is on the very short list of tattooers I’m saving my remaining skin for. If you’ve got open space and want a killer tattoo you can find Jacob at: http://jacobdes.com
There are three universal thruths that can’t be argued:
1. Jacob Des is cool.
2. Zines are cool.
3. Adult Content is cool.
What happens when all three of those things collide?
An adult content zine by Jacob Des is born. Tearjerker. A strange Tijuana Bible with tattoo flash hidden inside. When I got my copy of ‘Deep Thoughts’ from Jacob last year, it inspired me to work on a new ‘zine of my own. (They exist and are occasionally left in public places to be picked up by strangers) I’ve no doubt that TearJerker will have the same effect. If you’ve never made a zine, you owe it to yourself to crack open a design program (or hell- cut and paste that son of a bitch like we used to in the early 1990s!) and get to work. There’s something undeniably rad about holding one in your hands (that’s not an adult content joke) after you’ve put a dozen hours of work into it.
I’m not sure how many Jake made of these badboys, but you can contact him via: Des Central to try to snag one.
Better yet… book an appointment with him. Maybe you’ll be in his next zine!
As my latest tattoo from Robert Ryan heals (and coincidentally enough, it’s of this fella above’s arch nemesis) I find myself being very protective of the remaining skin that I have left to tattoo. I’ve posted ‘painted into a corner’ updates before; that I’m rapidly running out of available spots and that every new tattoo is one less that I’ll ever be able to get.
It makes me happy that I’m so close to being ‘done’ but there are just so many folks out there doing killer work who I know I’ll regret not being tattooed by- folks like Michael Bennett, Adam Shrewsbury and Ohio’s Jacob Des.
Every time Jake busts out a new painting (and it seems it’s daily- he’s the hardest working painter in Tattooing sometimes) I realize that saving him a little spot is a necessity.
So enjoy this one from Mr. Des. It’s the devil, and who doesn’t love the devil?