Gene Coffey is an American artist who currently works at the Tattoo Culture Studio in New York, USA. Although Coffey began painting at a young age, he received little formal training and created his own style through trial and error. In his late twenties, after designing tattoos for friends, he began exploring a future as a tattoo artist and took on an apprenticeship with Tattoo Culture.
Merging Fine Art and Body Art
Coffey’s style expresses fine art effects such as watercolor painting and pen and ink illustration through the medium of tattoos. Instead of brushes and pens, Coffey uses a tattoo machine to create his exceptional body art works. There are parts of Gene Coffey’s tattoo designs that have a vintage, even antique styling. What makes his designs so interesting is the combination of old and new. He creates a collage of different art styles by combining age old painting and illustration effects with modern graphic and abstract designs.
Brushwork and Splatter Tattoos
Gene Coffey uses his tattoo machine to create body art that mimics paintings. This is an impressive feat, for while it’s easy enough to create splatters of paint or brush strokes on canvas or paper, each tiny area of an artistic tattoo must be worked with vibrating needles. In fine art, a watercolor painting can be produced fairly quickly, but in tattoo art, the artist must painstakingly place every tiny area of color; a process that takes hours and is often spread out over several sessions.
Modern Tattoos are more Artistic than Traditional Tattoos
Traditional tattoos, also known as “Old School Tattoos” or “American Traditional tattoos”, use bold, simple outlines filled with solid areas of color and simple gradients. Although there are many artists who still work in this style, and although the style remains popular, there is a new style of artistic tattoos that is growing in popularity around the world. This modern style is based on fine art and graphic design; incorporating sketchy pencil and charcoal lines, watercolor brush strokes and splatters, typography and graphic design. For more tattoo pictures, ideas and artists in this style, check out these tags on Ratta Tattoo: abstract, artistic and watercolor