Justin Wild's Ornaments of the Flesh
Episode 10: Meet the Wild-side of geometric black and grey tattoo
Justin Wild wears his obsession for tattoos on his sleeve.
On both his sleeves, actually. And across his chest, down his back, on his legs and even his feet. In fact, he’s pretty much covered in tattoos: neck to toe. He loves the artform. Good tattoos have always stopped him in his tracks, and inspired fascination.
Which is generally the effect most people get when they see his geometric ornamental artwork: fixation — hypnotization. His mandalas, geometric patterns, Japanese flowers, skulls and insects all have a near-illusory feeling, like they’re shifting in place, or rising up off the skin.
How long have you been tattooing/where did you start?
I've been tattooing for about 3.5 years now and I got my start at All Sacred Tattoo.
What about the art of tattooing attracted you in the beginning?
I think what attracted me to tattooing in the very beginning was the raw visual impact of tattoos. I liked how seeing a good tattoo could stop me in my tracks for a couple of seconds.
How did you get into the geometric black and grey tattoo style?
I got into geometric/black and grey tattoos simply because that's what I was taught to do. I apprenticed at All Sacred which at the time of my apprenticeship specialized in geometric and ornamental tattooing. Our clients never really asked for any other style and therefore that's what I did a lot of.
What goes into designing one of your pieces?/What's your process?
I mostly do large scale work, a lot of sleeves and half sleeves and when I sit down to design one, I always start with a really small thumbnail drawing just to get the ideas down in the simplest fashion. Once I have things mapped out, I begin drawing each individual piece. A lot of coffee goes into the process as well.
Do you have a favorite subject/design to tattoo? And why?
I think my favorite thing to tattoo right now is flowers with Japanese inspired backgrounds. I've been moving into a new direction with my work that's inspired by Japanese tattooing and it's been really challenging and a lot of fun to incorporate that with my ornamental, floral, and geometric designs.
Your tattoos are so crisp and bold! How do you achieve so much depth and diversity with just black and grey?
As far as achieving depth with black and grey, it's a pretty simple formula I use, I just put a lot black in the background and which makes the light grey forefront really stand out. I wish I had a more eloquent answer, but that's pretty much it haha.
What's your favorite aspect of tattooing, as an artist?
I pretty much love everything about the process of tattooing, but I guess if I had to say a favorite thing, I would say I really enjoy seeing how excited people get about their tattoos. It's a really satisfying feeling to see someone walk to the mirror and get visibly and verbally excited about the work we've done.
Anything else you want people to know about you?
I love Chihuahuas and waffles! And Wild is my real last name. People think it's some sort of "tattoo name" which I think is hilarious but Wild is my real name.