My “KNUCKLE TATTOO” series started with the “Michael Jackson Thriller” painting idea. I grew up listening to Michael Jackson and remember when the thriller video came out and shocked the nation. It was ground breaking and to this day still holds up. I wanted to do a zombie piece and while coming up with ideas and thinking about how a stereotypical zombie walks with his hands out into the foreground of the image it came to me. “THRILLER” fits on the knuckles and I could do that in the same lettering as the video. I hand cut this image as a woodblock print, because that was the medium I was currently working with in College.
The second “knuckle tattoo” piece was an oil painting of HARRY CARAY “CUBS WIN!” I thought about how Michael Jackson doesn’t really have any tattoos or at least not know for any and the idea of putting “knuckle tattoos” on famous people without tattoos sounded fun.
For this one first you must know I was born in Illinois and was the rebel Chicago Cubs fan in a family of all Cardinals fans. I think it was the rebel artist in me that just didn’t want to have to like what I was told or what everyone else liked. I wanted to do a cubs painting but never really knew how to make it my own and different than all the dumb sports art that you always see. I also really liked Harry Caray’s boozy persona and how Will Ferrell did him on SNL and ended the skits with saying “cubs win” “cubs win”. All of these ingredients led to my second/first Knuckle tattoo painting! The series has now evolved into many iconic pop culture and sports figures and strayed away from being about non-tattooed people but just the perfect word or words and lettering.
I also don’t have any tattoos. I really like and appreciate them, but have commitment issues and get tired of things easily.