Ink Spot: This Dude's Tattoos Are Intense, and So Are His Views About Them
In Ink Spot, we stop people in Dallas to shoot, and learn about, their body art. Know an interesting human canvas? Leave a tip in the comments.
Justin Wilson combines his appreciation of remix culture and traditional tattoo art in juxtaposed images on his arms. "I like a subversive take on classic tattoo art," Wilson says. "When I see [traditional tattoos] on other people I still think it looks cool, but for myself I just want to do a different take on it."
"The traditional style to me is just so common now. I still appreciate it aesthetically for what it is and what it began, but it's like punk rock. If you're not turning punk rock on its head it just starts to sound the same."
His left arm, drawn and tattooed entirely by Oliver Peck, is Wilson's "general critique from the invasion of North America by Europeans to current day religion."
Photos by Mattie Stafford
From the shoulder, the scene starts with a ship, representing the "invasion of the 'Land of Plenty' with ships full of corporate enterprise," Wilson explains. Moving down to his forearm, an unmasked Virgin of Guadalupe speaks to "a current state where religion is being unmasked by the flame on enlightenment," Wilson says, which reflects how society is still figuring a lot out scientifically, mixed with Wilson's love of classic religious tattoo art.
His left arm, which he started around 2008, was completed little by little over the course of about two years. Wilson says he prefers to take his time, having the color filled in a little at a time to ensure quality.
Wilson's right arm, intended to be another version of the scene on his left arm, was started by Kat Von D, while she and Peck were married. While Wilson would like to find another female artist to finish the sleeve, it's not currently a priority. He also has ideas drawn out for both legs, but says he has just had other things that he was wanted to do with his money, "like buy camera gear."
The most commonly misunderstood part of his tattoo is the goat head with a six-point star on its forehead. The goat below the Virgin of Guadalupe stands for intelligence, Wilson explains. "The Church of Satan adopted the Goat head, but before [that] it was a sign of intelligence."
What most people think is the Star of David is actually one of the first recorded signs for God. "Everyone thinks I have a Star of David on the head of a demon," which he says his "serious Catholic grandmother" was a little freaked out by. While Wilson can understand why it might look like "total Satan worship" he explains that it is actually "a reflection of what is going on in society today."
Not many people tend to approach him about his tattoos, which Wilson says is probably because "I don't really have a very welcoming presence."