Welcome back to another installment of Tattoosday! Yes friends, every Tuesday I will be posting something about the art of tattoos, tattoo care, tattoo artists, or other related tattoo subjects. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I spent three years researching tattoo artists from around the globe to find the best of the best. I was not only looking for amazing tattoo work, but looking for amazing traditional art as well. I was looking for an artist to take part in an art exhibition as well as to give me my first “real” piece.
The artist I chose to employ to permanently mark my skin on a larger scale was (and is) Nick Baxter. I was thoroughly impressed by his work on skin as well as on canvas. He is a student of the Tromp l’oeil style of painting (literally meaning “to fool the eye”). His 2D paintings pop off the canvas in an amazingly visceral way. Now, I say a student of the style because all artists are continually working towards a greater level, however one might make the case for calling Nick a master at the technique when it comes to working on skin. The realism, texture, and dimension he is able to achieve are awe-inspiring.
I quickly dropped him a note, telling him who I was and that I was interested in a sleeve. I knew he had a long waiting list for new clients, but I didn’t care. He was worth the wait. He wrote back telling me he dug my ideas and would be willing to bump me up the list because of his interest and the size of the piece. As it turns out life things got in the way and I was unable to begin the project for another year anyway. A month or so after getting a hold of Nick, I was about ten hours into a ride from Houston to Myrtle Beach when my Ol’ Lady called to say we were pregnant. That is a whole ‘nother story in itself… Once we got everything worked out, meaning our beautiful daughter was born and my wife and I had a bit of time to settle in, I planned my first trip from Houston to Connecticut where Nick Baxter lived and worked.
I now know how naive I was when I took on the commitment for a large piece with an artist who lived across the country. I didn’t realize just how long it would take to create the work and I had no idea how long I could sit under the gun. My first trip out was for a long weekend. During my stay, Nick was able to give me one entire day where he put in the first six or seven hours of work. I was at the studio longer than this, but that is how long we actually put needle to skin. I impressed myself with how well I sat and the hours gave me a chance to begin to find out more about the artist I had chosen.
Nick was born and grew up in Connecticut and has been tattooing full time since 2001. His studio at the time was in Branford, which also happens to be right next to New Haven, home to Yale University. This translates into a hip town, good food, an over educated population, and people who enjoy the finer things in life (like fine art). Nick is an Anarchist, activist, vegan, fine artist, sports enthusiast, critical thinker, and an all around good guy. I have been privileged to have him work on my for over thirty hours so far and every session is comfortable and often enlightening. Baxter is articulate in his verbal expression about fine art and the other meaningful things in his life. He is passionate about his ideals without being condescending or elitist. When you spend time with someone shoving a needle into your skin for hours on end, it helps if that person has a certain sense of compassion and empathy.
As far as his artwork goes, I have mentioned that he has a wonderful, realistic, dimensional quality to his work. His style may be described as photorealistic at times and most often conceptual in nature. He has a wonderful knack for taking a client’s personal vision, experience, or ideas and translating them into visuals that often exceed any possible expectation.
Nick has recently relocated to Austin, Texas where he is working out of a private studio. As you might expect, he still has a long waiting list for new clients, but I must say that the wait is worth it. Please visit his website for more examples of his work, a comprehensive artist statement, a look into the mind of the artist, and contact info if you are willing to make the commitment. www.nickbaxter.com
Love, Respect, and Ride Safe,